Published on August 13, 2007
Determinism, Ideology and Folly in World Hunger: Determinism, Ideology and Folly in World Hunger Gidon Eshel Dept. of the Geophysical Sciences Univ. of Chicago Chicago, IL 60637 Tel: (773) 702-0440 Email: [email protected] Web: http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~gidon World Hunger: Causes and Consequences Midwest Faculty Seminar, Univ. of Chicago, April 29-May 1, 2004 Plan:: is hunger inevitable? if not, how? if not, why not? Plan: World Population is: about 6.4 billion people. At 2300 kcal a day, this means we need about 5.4 x 1015 kcal/year globally. World Population is Slide4: Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , FAOSTAT Statistical Database (FAO, Rome, 1997) mean, 1997: 2.7 T/hectare or 0.27 kg/m2 Slide5: at roughly 4 kcal per gr, to feed everybody we need: or 5 x 106 km2 every year. Allowing for an efficiency of 50%, we get about 107 km2 per year. Since the Earth’s arable land surface area is about1,2,31.4 x 107 km2, we have more than enough land to feed everybody, with plenty to spare! 1: http://www.rockford-india.com/irrigation-arableland.htm 2: http://www.cnie.org/pop/conserving/landuse.htm 3: it in fact rises, at about 3 x 105 km2 (2.6 Pennsylvanias) per decade!! are people hungry?: are people hungry? in absolute numbers, sadly, they are are people hungry? : are people hungry? Source: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO 1998 yes, but as a fraction of the total the rates are declining Slide8: undernou-rished, % of population 1990-92 1969-71 0 25 50 75 75 50 25 0 Source: The UN Food and Agri- -culture Organization, FAO 1997 The UN’s FAO also states that1: '... As a world average, food availability for direct human consumption (on a per-person basis) grew 19 percent to 2720 Kcal/day between 1960 and 1994/96.' The UN’s FAO also states that1 1: FAO Symposium on Agriculture, Trade and Food Security: Issues and Options in the Forthcoming WTO Negotiations from the Perspective of Developing Countries, Geneva, 23-24 September 1999, Paper 1: Salient trends in world agricultural production, demand, trade and food security meanwhile, as worldwide hunger rates drop, : meanwhile, as worldwide hunger rates drop, a new, perhaps just as devastating, and most likely harder to fix, problem rapidly arise... age From: Physical Activity and Older Americans: Benefits and Strategies. June 2002. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Disease Control. http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/activity.htm Slide11: Historic rates of people with BMIandgt;30 kg m-2 in various countries. (Source: Kopelman, P. G., Obesity as a medical problem. Nature, 404, April 6 2000, pp. 635-643) Slide12: US prevalence of BMIandgt;30 in ‘91, ‘95 and 2000. Sources: Mokdad, A. H., JAMA, 282(16), October 27, 1999, 1519-1522 Mokdad, A. H., JAMA, 286(10), September 12, 2001, 1195-1200 no data andlt;10% 10%-14% 15%-19% andgt;20% Slide13: Global data. Sources: Mokdad, A. H., JAMA, 282(16), October 27, 1999, 1519-1522 Mokdad, A. H., JAMA, 286(10), September 12, 2001, 1195-1200 Slide14: the problem with obesity 1: the problem with obesity 1 Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Promoting Active Lifestyles Among Older Adults. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Nutrition and Physical Activity. the problem with obesity 2: the problem with obesity 2 Source: Thompson, D. and A. M. Wolf, 2001: The medical-care cost burden of obesity.Obesity Reviews 2 (3), 189-197. Australia, 1994, 2% Canada, 1999, 2.4% France, 1995, 2% N. Zealand 1997, 2.5% Portugal 2000, 3.5% USA, 1986, 5.5% USA, 1998, 5.7% USA, 1999, 7% Percentage of national health expenditures attributable to obesity, by country. the problem with obesity 3: the problem with obesity 3 '... Obesity is associated with a 36 percent increase in inpatient and outpatient spending and a 77 percent increase in medications, compared with a 21 percent increase in inpatient and outpatient spending and a 28 percent increase in medications for current smokers.' Source: Strum, R., 2002: The effects of obesity, smoking, and drinking on medical problems and costs. Health Affairs, 21(2), 245-253 and one more: and one more years of follow-up $0 $25,000 BMIandgt;30 25andlt;BMIandlt;30 20andlt;BMIandlt;25 8 9 7 6 from Thompson, D., et al., 2001: Body Mass Index and Future Healthcare Costs: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Obesity Res., 9, 210-218. so the picture is: so the picture is schematically something like time proportion of the whole global population too much too little according to G. Gardner and B. Halwei, Worldwatch paper 150: Overfed and Underfed, March 2000, the crossover occured in 2000, with ~1.1 billion apiece 2000 the amazing thing is: the amazing thing is that in fact, too much (obesity) does not necessarily mean abundance! '... Malnutrition and obesity coexist in the same settings ...' Source: Dr. Manuel Pena, the Pan American Health rganization, 'Obesity and Poverty: A New Public Health Challenge.' what causes the shift toward obesity?: what causes the shift toward obesity? of the multitude of causes, I subjectively find particularly important: urbanization and other social trends the structure of agriculture defective distribution system, warped inputs into it cause 1: people don’t move enough: Source: Cordain, L. et al., 1998: Physical activity, energy expenditure and fitness: An evolutionary perspective. Int. J. Sports Med., 19(5), 328-335. cause 1: people don’t move enough cause 2: the structure of world agricultural production: cause 2: the structure of world agricultural production the number of US farms drop: the number of US farms drop while their size increases: while their size increases 4-firm concentration ratio From: Heller and Keoleian, Life cycle- -based sustainability indicators for assessment of the US food system. Univ. of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems Report No. CSS00-04, Dec. 6 2000 e.g., takeMinnesota: e.g., take Minnesota milk production by herd size From: Hammond, J. W., Univ. of Minnesota, Minn. Ag. Econ. News- letter, No. 697, summer 1999 profit: only 3.5%!!: profit: only 3.5%!! Source: USDA Food Review, 2000, 23(3), 27-30. or, worse yet: or, worse yet From: Food Marketing Institute, Annual Financial Review 2002-2003, available online at http://www.fmi.org/ a penny a buck!! as a result, competition is fierce: as a result, competition is fierce and food manufacturers are desperate...: and food manufacturers are desperate... From: Table 1, page 12, Nestle, M., Food Politics, Univ. of California Press, 2002 9 leading food manufacturers to convince people to buy their stuff : to convince people to buy their stuff food manufacturers must process as heavily as they possibly can, so as to 'add value'... 1998 data; from Nestle, M., Food Politics,Univ. of California Press also, they make stuff sweet, salty and fatty: also, they make stuff sweet, salty and fatty a huge issue is subsidies: a huge issue is subsidies Source: Environmental Working Group Farm Database Version 2.0 http://www.ewg.org/ US data Slide34: 2003 data. Source: National Corn Growers Association, http://www.iowafarmer.com/corncam/corn.html 54% animal feed 8% sweeteners Slide35: Source: http://www.biotech-info.net/ part of the reason burgers are so cheap part of the reasons Coke is so cheap also, because subsidy promotes large farms: also, because subsidy promotes large farms corn subsidy concentration Source: Environmental Working Group Farm Database Version 2.0 http://www.ewg.org/ subsidy received ‘95-’02: top 1%: $25 billion bottom 80%: $15 billion farm lobby is so damn powerful...: farm lobby is so damn powerful... So:: So: A policy that will fight obesity is also one consistent with fighting world hunger. Unfortunately, such a policy will be roughly the inverse of the policies now in effect in the US. As the New York Times (Editorial, April 13, 2004) puts it: ' ... Almost two-thirds of America's corporations paid no federal income taxes during the late 1990's, when corporate profits were soaring. Nine out of 10 companies paid less than the equivalent of 5 percent of their total income ... '