Why Are Some People Hungry When There Is Enough Food for Everybody?

A friend once told me, “Begging is the easiest job in the world.” It took me a couple of seconds to recover from the insensitivity of that statement. I was really appalled. I retorted, “If that is so, do you mind mind working as a beggar even for a day?”

People have such stinking sense of entitlement. They believe that a person can be who they want to be. It is not the system which decides our fate but we ourself. तूच तुझ्या जीवनाचा शिल्पकार! (You are the sculptor of your own life!)

People are taught to celebrate their achievements. They are told, these achievements are a result of your immense hardwork and talent. The opposite is also true: if a person fails at something, the whole onus is put on their own shoulders. As if people operate in isolation. As if external factors don’t matter at all. As if capitalism is such a fair system that it rewards people commensurate to their hardwork/ talents/ skills. This false notion which is passed on from one generation to the next and accepted as commonsense by everybody, is insidious. It makes any critique of our unjust system impossible. It pits one person in competition with the other. And it is completely devoid of empathy.

This earth has enough food, water and clothes for 7 billion of us but some people are made to beg for these basic necessities. We do not find this revolting only because of the inhumane system that we have created for ourselves and now are made to accept as normal. We spend such a vast amount of resources and human labour on completely useless things like cigarettes, gutka, soft drinks, fireworks and beauty products. We have taken such great strides in science and technology; we have been able to send robots to the outer space. But we cannot feed the hungry on this planet even when there is enough food available for everybody.

I think this is because we are made to believe that one has to work to get their food. It does not matter if the work opportunities are simply not there, or that people are not paid as much as they should be for their labour, or that their livelihood options have been snatched away from them along with their land and forests and rivers by our “benevolent” state and the multinational corporations working in collusion. I wonder what will happen if tomorrow a rule is made that one can only eat what they grow in their own backyard!


9 thoughts on “Why Are Some People Hungry When There Is Enough Food for Everybody?

  1. I actually believed that stupid optimistic myth as a school student, though I never thought that the poor can just work hard and do better.
    For me, the point was clearly brought home by John Oliver’s video where he ridicules the idea with a demonstration of how this “lottery” works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfgSEwjAeno

    Please keep writing these small nuances that you notice; this is what strenghtens the bigger argument. Also, I think these bite-sized posts allows people to realize their mistakes.

  2. Yes. The stuff that we’re taught everywhere in every school, college and university. It’s simply a defence mechanism for some who belittle poverty. After all, they don’t want you to believe that there’s anything out of the control of humans. A cold, cruel and a calculating theory that faults the poor the weak or the unfortunate!

  3. Begging is definitely easier than a minimum wage labour job. You can’t get rich by begging, but you can surely make an easier living by begging than by breaking your back lifting bricks at a construction site for ₹100/day (lesser if you’re a woman).

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