Leveling the Plowing Fields
Posted by Andreas on Aug 3, 2011 at 12:23 am
Andreas put up a blog about the book Enough: Why The World’s Poorest Starve In An Age of Plenty a few months ago. The book, by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, addresses the issues underlying the food shortages that we often hear about in the news. Most recently, the United Nations declared regions in Somalia to be in a state of famine.
There are countless reasons listed by Thurow and Kilman in their book, from slow adoption and funding for hybrid seeds, to agricultural subsidies given by governments of developed countries, and from underdeveloped infrastructure for bringing crops to market to a lack of crop insurance in developing countries. Unstable political situations have also contributed to the problems.
Thurow and Kilman give several recommendations at the end of their book. One is, I think, aptly titled “Leveling the plowing fields.” While the authors use this to call for an end to farm subsidies in developed countries, I think it’s a useful metaphor for the whole of what the book is calling for – including the developing countries in networks of productivity, something Blessed John Paul II always called for. This means not just removing subsidies, but improving markets, and letting entrepreneurs come up with those creative ways of offering crop insurance.
And when their is a significant humanitarian crisis, use funds to buy local grains to address the issue, supporting the local farmers and getting the food to the people who need it quicker.
There are better solutions to be found out there, and, as the book makes clear, sometimes enterprising individuals need to be allowed to do what they do best.
What do you think?