World Hunger

Despite the fact that I live in the United States where I have plenty to eat and a safe place to live, I still choose to not have children because I don't think it would be very responsible of me to bring a child into this world right now.  Having children is a huge responsibility.

Why then, do people who live in Somalia, Sudan, or Ethiopia continue to have children when they know their children will grow up in a horrible place and likely die?  Do the adults in those countries not care about the suffering of their future children?   Women have few if any rights in Africa and rape is more prevalent on that continent than any other so women don't have much say in whether they have children or not.  This leaves the men.   Apparently, African men don't care if their children are surrounded by disease, poverty, starvation, and death.   If they did care, they wouldn't have children in such an environment.  I certainly wouldn't.

We've all seen those commercials of emaciated starving children in Africa, looking at the camera with their sad puppy-dog eyes and flies buzzing about, and a narrator's voice appealing to the viewer: "Won't you please sponsor this child?  For just 75 cents a day, you can provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and schooling for this little boy."

What the voice doesn't tell you is that if you help that child survive, he will reach reproductive age and instead of having one million starving children today, there will be five million starving children twenty years from now.  In other words, sending money will result in more starving, suffering, dying children.

Death by starvation is nature's way of saying "There are too many of you so some of you need to die."   Children dying of hunger and disease in Africa has been going on for centuries if not millennia.  It's nothing new.  I remember those commercials thirty years ago and they're still on TV today.  Nothing has changed, it seems, except now there are more hungry mouths to feed as a result of such commercials.

This is not to say I am apathetic or indifferent to starving, dying children.  I am not.  It's absolutely horrible.  However, the simple fact of the matter is that by sending them money now you will create more misery, death, and suffering later.  That's assuming your money will even get there, which it probably won't.  Your money will instead be used to pay for "administrative costs" of running the non-profit charity organization you're donating to.  Costs such as paying the charity's staff, building expenses, advertising costs, and the salaries of its top officers.  Any left-over money will be used to buy and send food to Africa.  These food shipments will probably be intercepted by guerrillas and warlords and sold.  The money will be used to buy weapons, food and other supplies for the soldiers.  Hardly anything at all will reach the starving kids.

But even if there were no corruption and 100% of your money were used to purchase food and medical supplies for those starving villagers, it would still be a bad idea because twenty years later, you'd have five times the problem.   All those kids, instead of dying like they normally would without international aid, will survive and reproduce and only multiply the original problem.

If you really want to help starving kids in Africa, you have to do this:

-Find a way to make sure your money is not embezzled or stolen by middlemen.  Ensure your money is used to purchase food and somehow ensure this food actually reaches the starving people. This is a very difficult and important first step.

-Re-educate the entire starving population and teach them that the use of contraceptives, contrary to their religious beliefs, is perfectly okay and moral and good.  How you'll get millions of people to abandon their religious principles is a mystery.  Good luck with that one.

-Teach the local people how to survive on their own.  Give them the tools and the means.  This will be a large investment of resources at first (like drilling equipment for wells for fresh water, house construction tools, bulldozers, farming & medical equipment, etc) but it will be a one-shot deal.  You won't have to return later with more food and more supplies.  Teach them to farm and raise animals for food.  If they live in a desert or some other infertile place, move them to a land which can support farming.   Any food hand-outs they receive should be temporary.  After they get comfortable eating well, they should be threatened as follows "Either you learn to farm and make food for yourselves, or you will die when this aid is cut off.  It will be cut off soon.  The sooner you learn to be self-sufficient, the great your chances of survival."

Something tells me that instead of using all that farming and construction equipment to make farms and grow crops and build houses, the village elders will sell it all and keep the money.

So to sum up:

-To stop starvation, they need to grow their own food.

-To grow their own food, they have to invest their labor into the land, and expect a return on their investment.

-To expect a return on their investment, they need the assurance that what they produce will not be stolen from them at gunpoint. Currently, anyone with a gun can rob whoever doesn't have a gun.  Police are either non-existent, useless, or so corrupt that they participate in the extortion rackets.  "Might makes right" is the law of the land. People have no incentive to invest their money and energy into anything when they know that as soon as they create something of value, it will be taken away by force.  In short, they need property rights and those rights should be enforced.

-To enforce property rights, they need honest courts and honest, non-corrupt cops. Getting rid of the entrenched corruption is the biggest obstacle, in my opinion.  In most African nations, the leaders are corrupt.  They live in luxury while the locals starve and die.  The leaders care nothing for their own people and this is not surprising, since the more brutal and violent you are, the quicker you rise to the top.  Generally, the people at the top are sociopathic, barbaric monsters who are good are pretending to be civilized, respectable human beings to the Western media.