The hunger virus. Capitalist brand and stamp | Pasqualina Curcio

During the approximately 10 minutes it will take you to read this article, 110 people will have died of hunger in the world, which is equivalent to 15.840 human beings daily, or almost 6 million a year according to Oxfam estimates. Imagine going to bed at night with nothing to eat. Imagine the anguish of a mother or father at not being able to feed their children. Think of the pain, and even more, the helplessness caused by knowing that a child died of hunger.

According to the recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) entitled The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021, in 2020, 30% of the world's population, around 2.300 billion people, did not have access to adequate food. The report also reads that 12% of the world's population, 928 million people, suffered from severe food insecurity during the pandemic year, 148 million more than in 2019.

The hunger situation in the world is even more outrageous due to the fact that, while 2.300 billion people did not have access to adequate food and 6 million died from not having anything to eat during 2020, 2.500 billion tons of food were wasted. They ended up in the landfill, nothing more and nothing less than 40% of the world's food production (World Wildlife Fund report). Of these 2.500 billion tons, 1.200 billion, equivalent to US $ 370 billion, were wasted in the agricultural production phase. The rest of the food, that is, 1.300 billion tons, was thrown away in homes (61%), in food services or restaurants (26%) and in shops (13%). According to the same report, 58% of food waste in the agricultural phase of production occurs in high- and middle-income countries in Europe, in North America and industrialized countries, despite the fact that these account for 37% of the world's population . In other words, food waste in these countries, and in per capita terms, is much higher.

Celsa Peiteado, head of the Sustainable Food program of the World Wide Fund for Nature said in July 2021: “the data is alarming: enough food is wasted to feed the whole world until 2050. We could feed all the hungry people on the planet more than seven times ”.

In 2016, the UN said that it would take US $ 267.000 billion every year to end hunger by 2030. Paradoxically, every year, in the agricultural phase alone, US $ 370 billion in food is thrown away. On the other hand, also paradoxically, in 2020, the 10 richest people in the world increased their wealth by US $ 413.000 million (Forbes), that is, only 10 people increased their fortune by almost double what they need more than 2 one billion people not to have to go to bed without food or, but still starve.

According to the recent Oxfam report from July 2021, an estimated 11 people die every minute from hunger, which exceeds the current death rate from covid-19, which is 7 people per minute. Oxfam say: "What seemed like a global public health crisis has quickly turned into a severe hunger crisis that has exposed the enormous inequality of the world we live in." Inequality that is a consequence, or rather, that is specific and characteristic of the prevailing economic, social and political system. We insist on reminding, especially to those who repeat the discourse of the supposed success of capitalism versus the supposed failure of socialism that 98% of the 195 countries recognized by the UN are capitalist, so hunger in the world has a capitalist stamp and brand .

The problem of hunger in the world is not due to the lack of food, it is due to the unequal distribution that originates in the very social process of production based on the exploitation of the worker, which generates poverty and great limitations for access to food by the great majorities.

Along with the great global inequalities that lead to poverty and misery, conflicts and wars are also a major cause of hunger. According to the world report on the food crisis 2021, around 100 million people fell into a food crisis situation as a result of the wars in 2020. In this predominantly capitalist world we live in, military spending increased 2,7% with compared to 2019, equivalent to US $ 51.000 million, reaching US $ 2 trillion of annual expenditure, this despite the fact that in 2020 world production fell 3,5% (these are data published in the recent report of the Institute for Peace of Stockholm April 2021).

The top five spenders, which together accounted for 62% of world military spending, were the United States, China, India, Russia, and the United Kingdom. On average, global military spending with respect to GDP went from 2,2% in 2019 to 2,4% in 2020. In the US it reached an estimated US $ 778 billion in 2020, it increased 4,4% with respect to to 2019 despite the fact that its economy fell 3,4% during the same period. Almost all the countries that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) increased their military load during the pandemic.

Ending hunger in the world does not mean giving food to the poor, as neoliberalism prescribes in a focused way when it recommends identifying those who are in extreme poverty to bring them something to eat. Nor is it a matter of the famous phrase, very capitalist by the way, which says: "don't give them the fish, teach them to fish" because in reality the problem is not that they don't know how to fish, the fisherman / worker knows how to fish / work and so does well, the problem is that what he fishes / the product of his labor is appropriated by the bourgeois at the moment when he does not fully repay the value of his labor power, and only gives him, in the best of the cases, the minimum necessary for it to survive and reproduce as a working class.

To really end hunger requires eradicating poverty, which requires ending the great inequalities that originate in a mode of production based on exploitation. To end inequalities, the capitalist system must be changed, the same one that has prevailed in the world for centuries and that some insist on describing as successful despite the 2.300 billion people who do not have enough food and the 6 million who die of hunger every year while almost half of the food produced worldwide is thrown into the landfill.


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