Jun 3, 2008

Food for Arms: A Short Comment on the FAO Summit

The gathering of the United Nations Food Agency, FAO, attracted a quite controversial crowd this year: From this one here to this one. (You may guess a third one that I did not mention)

Besides these rather political considerations, there is another trouble I associate with these conferences in times of turmoil. Human beings and in particular their more or less elected political “leaders” have the tendency to paint things black and white. Too quickly are old policies regarded as misguided and totally wrong and too quickly are new policies been praised as the solution.

Nevertheless, did the FAO Director-General, Jacques Diouf, made in his speech various interesting points one of them being this one here:

But above all, nobody understands how: [… ] in a single country food wastage can amount to 100 billion dollars annually; that the excess consumption by the world’s obese costs 20 billion dollars annually, to which must be added indirect costs of 100 billion dollars resulting from premature death and related diseases; and finally that in 2006 the world spent 1 200 billion dollars on the purchase of arms.”

Though this is bunching together quite diverse topics, it should be troublesome that the world spends so much on machines to kill while people are already starving not having the machines to produce enough food…an economist may call this type of spending by the least public waste; more adequate would be public cruelty. Where can I make my vote against excessive military spending?

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