Is the world going to starve?
The Problem: If you follow the news, the world can seem pretty grim at times. We’re trained by some media to believe things are getting worse. We may extrapolate these perceptions onto issues like poverty and famine.
The Progress: The advent of food distribution, refrigeration, sustainable farming and fertilizer is helping to feed the majority of the world’s population. Further declines in poverty and famine depend on continuing population stabilization, peace and autocracy (lack of dictatorships). The WorldBank reports the rate of poverty is at it’s lowest ever.
As the world becomes more educated, population slows. The advent of technologies like indoor plumbing and washing machines makes chores easier — allowing women to work outside the home. Women are less frequently victims of rape, wait longer and have less children. Thus with fewer mouths to feed, there’s more nutrition to go around.
Countries who made Charles Dicken’s “great escape” from poverty in the 19th century have grown the fastest and afforded to educate their children most intensely. Better education today = a more democratic and peaceful tomorrow. Less war = less famine, disease, poverty and sidetracked resources (to pay for rebuilding infrastructure, medical care and children born our of war).
Famine deaths have been almost reduced to nil, according to OurWorldInData.com:
For some of us, now the problem is too many calories! Aside from Sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world is catching up to North America in terms of caloric intake. China (at 3,100/day) and India (2,400/day) now consume almost as many calories as Western Europe:
While high levels of deprivation are unfortunately still common in most countries, what is clear is that it is very much possible to continue to reduce poverty. Let’s have gratitude and pray for continued peace!
This week’s posts will focus on advances in farming, technology, education and the reduction of conflicts and their impact on reducing poverty and famine.
Rosemary Smith, Managing Director