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The Reproach of Hunger: Food, Justice, and Money in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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“[Rieff’s] unflinching analysis is an invaluable corrective to the happy-clappy unreality of much of our current thinking on hunger. A forceful critique of the ideology that has captured many transnational institutions in recent decades, The Reproach of Hunger is a substantial work of political thought.” (John Gray NewStatesman)
“As refugee crises fill the news, David Rieff reminds that hunger is a war not won. Rieff, a veteran thinker on development issues, spent six years researching the nexus of population, food commodification and persistent poverty for this critical analysis. Scathing about the alarmist or over-optimistic pronouncements of development officials, agribusiness multinationals and philanthropic nabobs, he notes that any issue involving billions of humans cannot be neatly engineered. Thoughtful, trenchant and bracingly sceptical.” (Nature)
“An erudite and well-researched analysis of the problem of world hunger and the challenges associated with international development. . . . [the book] exposes the contradictions of the philanthrocapitalist dogma currently in vogue and challenges readers to reexamine the causes of growing development inequality among countries.” (Philanthropy News Digest)
"Hunger, [Rieff] writes, is a political problem, and fighting it means rejecting the fashionable consensus that only the private sector can act efficiently." (The New Yorker)
“A stinging indictment of modern philanthropy and development theory’s capacity to resolve the pressing issues of poverty and hunger. In the wake of so many books rehashing the same arguments about how to help the developing world, readers will be grateful for a different (and impeccably researched) perspective. This is a stellar addition to the canon of development policy literature.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Will we be able to feed the nine billion people expected to populate the world by 2050? Scientists, politicians, and economists, backed by abundantly wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates, say yes. Advocates of food rights and traditional farming counter that the biotech and agribusiness means suggested are deeply flawed. With 30 years' worth of studying humanitarian aid and development behind him, Rieff listens to both sides and comes out with a qualified yes.” (Library Journal, prepub alert)
“A realistic examination of the world's ability to solve the global food crisis.” (Library Journal, review)
Praise for A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis
“A withering, thought-provoking study.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Hardheaded, sophisticated, and urgent.”—The New York Times Book Review
Praise for Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West
“Rieff writes with a knowledge so thorough, an intelligence so keen, a passion so scalding, and a morality so vigorous, that one cannot come away from reading this without despair for mankind.”—The Advocate
“It is David Rieff’s shocking conclusion . . . that we have reached the point where to bear witness is the remaining alternative to losing hope in the face of unchecked crimes against humanity.”—The Baltimore Sun
Praise for At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention
“Rieff's lucid, fair-minded, and provocative essays should be mandatory reading for anybody who is trying to make sense out of our ever-more-troubling, post-September 11 world.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Rejecting equally utopian humanitarianism and neoconservative ideology, Rieff's collection of essays provides a compelling analysis of when military intervention is necessary and when it is doomed to fail.”—George Soros (* * *)
About the Author
David Rieff is the author of eight previous books, including Swimming in a Sea of Death, At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention; A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis; and Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West. He lives in New York City.
Top customer reviews
While innovation and economic reform can improve life for the masses, nothing will brake the seminal concentration of wealth among the very rich.
Just as wealth is concentrated, so is chronic poverty, food insecurity and political instability, all of which the World Bank categorizes as entrenched in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. The continent of Africa suffers unending financial devastation with inflows of revenue totaling $96 bill versus outflows of $121 billion, the latter including $21 billion in debt servicing payments each year.
Recent migratory flows are unprecedented, in numbers, as they land in Italy from sub-Saharan Africa and from Syria. Population increases from this Muslim culture are among the world's highest where attendant food scarcities, culture conflicts, water wars, and sanitation issues are problematic and chronic.
Uganda has a population of some 35 million and with perhaps the world's highest growth rate this number will reach 104 million by mid-century. The population of Tanzania is 49 million, Kenya is 45 million and both will double these numbers by mid-century. World population is now adding 70 million to annual numbers as India is perched to overtake China as the most populous country. In 2013 some 1.2 billion people lived in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day
Water crises are underway globally, well exemplified in the fast growing populace of 2 million as the capitol of Yemen contemplates being the first major city to soon exhaust the underground aquifer; it was thirty meters below ground in 1970; today that number is 1,200. Waterways suffer massive pollution today as nitrogen-based fertilizers supplant what once were animal resourced.
In his final pages author David Rieff forcefully concludes (reiterates) that the current food system suffers collectively from mystical faith. Countless references identify nations' economic growth as the vehicle to stimulate and sustain the desired results for the mitigation of hunger and poverty.
Many reports and opinions about solving hunger and poverty crises overwhelmingly embrace economic growth as the imperative to success. The author's savvy intellect and sophistication dismisses this baggage connected utopia as the machine that transported us aboard the silver bullets that came before. Growth can provide benefits to food and social dependents but providing essentials to trajected ten billion people? Water is no doubt the most limiting element where big agra already consumes most available sources, where rivers-streams-and lakes are heavily polluted, where sanitation is back-seated in India and South Asia as 1.2 billion people defecate openly, where human and animal wastes pollute rivers,... All of this is just for starters. The notion that planet earth can, should and would comfortably accommodate a few billion more tired, poor and hungry consumers as industry, farmers, developers and politicians plan for the next phase of tarmacs, roads, freeways, bridges, schools, farms, mining factories, houses, hospitals, restaurants,...
Where, and how, will it all end?