The following questions were submitted to Arthur Simon by the editors of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. They are an attempt to express some points that often trouble people who are confronted with information about worldwide hunger. Mr. Simon is the executive director of Bread for the World, an interdenominational citizens’ movement on poverty and hunger (235 East 49th Street, New York, N. Y. 10017). He has an S.T.M. from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and was formerly a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) pastor in Manhattan. Among the books he has written are Bread for the World and The Politics of World Hunger.
1. What happened to the food crisis we read so much about last year?
Hunger usually has to reach extreme and massive proportions to make the front page or the evening news. Dramatic famines come and go. They were in the news for a while and are largely gone today, thanks to favorable weather in most poor countries. But dramatic famines are only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath, the situation has not changed for at least 400 million victims of acute malnutrition. They don’t make the front page. They simply suffer in quiet obscurity, get sick too often, and die too soon. So the crisis may appear to be gone, and in one sense it is—for a while. But the magnitude of the problem remains basically unchanged.
2. Food shortages sound like a relic of a time when man had little control over nature, something more understandable in, say, Old Testament times than in our technologically sophisticated age. Why does the world have this vast hunger problem now?
It’s a combination of factors. For one thing, the earth has more people to feed than ever before. Combine that with uneven distribution of resources and technology, and ...1
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