By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
After weeks with this new virus, the dead do not reach a thousand. It is a serious problem and hopefully a solution will be reached quickly. But hunger is the largest global pandemic. About 24,000 people die every day! for causes related to lack of food. Luckily, it has declined from the 41,000 people a day who died twenty years ago.
Something is not right. Nature is wise and overabundant and, in fact, allows 60% more of production of what humanity needs to feed itself. Hard to belive, in the production of food that will not be eaten, 1,400 million hectares are used globally, and thus 1,300 million metric tons are lost annually.
Now, why don’t they reach the malnourished? There are several causes, but the defining ones are the obstacles that States create. After all, they are the monopoly of violence – their police power – and violence always destroys. To begin with, the taxes they charge, impoverish people as they are transdelivered by raising prices or lowering wages.
Another of the bad policies of governments is the interference in the price system – with subsidies, minimum and maximum prices – that causes food to be diverted to other uses, such as biofuels, when alleviating hunger is more urgent.
Often simple resources are needed so that poor people can grow the necessary food and be self-sufficient, but today the average food travels in Spain, for example, between 2,500 and 4,000 km.
Why not grow closer? Among other things, due to state regulations on land use. In addition, laws on “intellectual property” should be repealed – for all sectors and issues – because they are the largest modern source of monopolies. The property must be established exclusively by the market – the people – and never by the States.
Some laws prevent the farmer from sowing, exchanging or selling his own seeds because, for instance, there are regulations within the “free trade” (!?) agreements on intellectual property and trade rights that establish that the seed to be sold, exchanged and / or marketed must be uniform and stable and farmers’ seeds have never been uniform or stable.
And the patents oblige the farmer who wants to cultivate those varieties to pay royalties as in African countries that have been forced to sign these intellectual property laws within the framework of “cooperation” treaties.
Finally, one third of the world’s food production is wasted and much ends up in the trash. Now, politicians have made us believe that garbage collection and treatment is a “public service” that they, the State, must provide. And they charge when they should pay us because even the worst garbage has value.
If the collection service were in the hands of the market, in efficient private hands, we would be paid for our garbage and, most likely, the discarded food would be distributed at much lower prices among the neediest.
States are responsible for malnutrition, so it is a great irony – it is only demagogy – that governments design “plans against hunger” when it would be enough if governments did stop creating it, so that it would disappear quickly.