|Éhezés vagy osztozás / Famine or Sharing|
Famine or Sharing
By István Dõry
The production of agriculture is enough for 10 billion people today, while the world population is only 6 billion. Provisions for 10 billion people are consumed by 5 billion. There is not left any for 1 billion. There are places where food consumption and production per capita is ten more than sufficient. Certainly, it is impossible to eat more than 1.5 times of the necessary; the rest is wasted.
In some countries, the gross food production is just slightly higher than the recommendations of the WHO. Moreover, 2 billion people belong to the category of insufficiently nourished.
Finally, real famine is present where food production capacity is low and keeps decreasing. These regions are home to 800 million inhabitants. In some of them, less needed crops, such as banana, coffee, or cocoa, are cultivated.
The food potential for 10 billion people is possibly enough only for 6 billion today, since its production is done by non-sustainable agricultural techniques.
Another issue is the more and more serious shortage of fresh water. 99% of world water supply is salt water. 40% of world food production is gained from irrigated land, half of it being problematic to cultivate.
Turning to solution possibilities, just distribution seems to be adequate. Closing down most useless industries, e.g., that of armaments, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, pet nutrition, does not actualize potential agricultural capacities.
What would be sufficient? In some countries below, the following amounts are necessary to make a living for a day:
Somalia US$ 0.5
India US$ 1
Philippines US$ 2
Romania US$ 5
Poland US$ 8
Hungary US$ 10
Austria US$ 50
Canada US$ 60
In a common Hungarian family, the average income per capita is US$ 4 per day. One-dollar-countries consume approximately 2 dollars in financially inexpressible goods, what is still too little to make both ends meet.
Distribution starts here. If one wants to give 2 more dollars to 1 billion very poor people, one would need 700 billion dollar units per year. This can be achieved if during 50 days one halves his/her daily income, i.e., gives 2 dollars. This amounts to 400 billion dollars that is still not enough. The wealthiest one billion should add a donation of 5-6 dollars a day from their daily income of 50-60 dollars. This way, the goal of 700 billion dollars for sharing is provided. This means fasting for 50 chosen days for those in need. Without this, the impoverished would fast for 365 days a year, without their own intentions.
In an average Hungarian family, fasting for fifty days a year would look like this: they would spare two dollars per person a day on Fridays in October and in November; then for fifteen days during Advent; then on Fridays again until June, in addition to Wednesdays in Lent.
There is another interpretation of fifty-day sharing: seven percent of gross family income. One should avoid the temptation of taking extra jobs in order to make rise one’s income 7 percent. Increase in production overloads the capabilities of the Earth; besides, extra jobs do not imply any real food production. One has to consider what to renounce of: a lucky person may give up his or her delicacies, but has to bear in mind that luxury is not related to any food production. One should focus mainly on diet as well as on energy.
Gene-manipulated vegetables do not solve the issue. Instead of consuming tons of “golden rice” in order to take in the necessary amount of beta carotine, one would rather sell one’s stock (even at inflated prices) and buy a box of carrots. The productivity of plants has already reached its biophysical limits. There is no red carpet leading to communal feeding. Improving irrigation means to deal economically with irrigation water as well as to deal more prudently with natality. People have to learn how to produce efficiently on the place where they live.
There is, however, a cheaper solution than distribution; it costs half of the seven percent mentioned before. The clue is to educate and provide for 200 million girls, especially where lack of self-sufficiency is manifest. Students of schools like those of Cedric Prakash, can make a living themselves and will be conscious mothers, able to share their knowledge. Moreover, on the other hemisphere, 100 million boys should be taught to realize the significance of sustainable consumption, to live more economically and modestly, to renounce of advertisements and of stock exchange… Education of girls is widely rejected in India. One would encounter, however, similar rejection if one offered the sonny-boy of a well-to-do broker to start attending one of strict Catholic schools in order to get some proper education, to save food, and not to follow his parents in gross consumption. Out of 3 percent of GDP, both the cessation of exponential population boom there and the exponential consumption increase here could be achieved.
This cheap solution, which needs only 3 percent, lacks distribution. Together with the 7 percent of distribution, it makes up the 10 percent tithe of the Pharisees, which ever proves to be efficient enough—for providing for their own selves.
Summing up, there are reserves; one may decide when to give, but not what amount to give. A Hungarian is advised to give two dollars a day for fifty days a year; more if one can afford to. For instance, to the flourishing educational endeavor of Cedric Prakash; but, by all means, to an institution which catches the problem as well as strives toward a holistic solution in its area.
(Translated by Kinga Rivasz-Tóth and Dávid Biacsi SJ)
Geographical place: India, Hungary
Historical period: 21st century
Persons whom it is about: Prakash, Cedric SJ
Groups, movements whom it is about: ESP India
Date of creation or issue: 2002. 09. 28.
Author: Dőry, István Dr.
Group, movement, tendency (wherefrom it comes from): Bokor (Bush)
Series, periodical, collection (which it belongs in): Érted vagyok