Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hunger Causes War (?) or is Abundance On the Way ?

A very interesting new book, The Taste of War by Lizzie Collingham (E.M. Collingham), posits that a number of wars in the 20th Century were caused in part by the lack of adequate food and the desire by various "aggressor nations" to secure food, land and resources to fulfill their basic needs. Had this issue been addressed differently and appropriately by all involved, both "aggressor" and "those attacked," including the British and the US, we might not have had the wars we had.

Her study includes: Nazi Germany and especially their expansion eastward, as well their death camps and Holocaust against Jews, Imperial Japan and their invasions in East Asia as well as the conflict in the Pacific, the "internal" war by Stalin and the Communist in Ukraine and other areas of the Soviet Union, and issues in British India. We can also extend some of these themes to China under Mao, and reflect on this in terms of the current issues with N. Korea, and the food problems in the Arab world and Africa and how this thesis relates to the ongoing violence and hostilities in these areas. What is most interesting are her predictions for the future and her suggestions about how to de-escalate causes of war. Certainly, a simple summation of her thesis is, if there is an end to hunger there will be significantly less war. And in these days of increased population growth, increased demands for resources and higher standards of living, limits on water and arable land, this is a significant issue.

If you are interested in this and the historical approach, read the book!

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler proposes that though there seem to be limits on water, land and resources, this is only if one's thinking is backward!

They show, with details of the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs, that it will be soon be possible (if it is not already) to feed, provide for the needs and health of the ever growing human population with what we have. And they backup their positions with page after page of specific inventions, new technologies and programs to heal and feed those in need. If we are to believe them, the good life is soon at hand. War and conflict is the result of ideology, religious fundamentalism and fears which are unnecessary and outdated (if one knows what is truly possible). Are these predictions valid, and will they ever come to fruition - will we implement them (or even half of them), or will historical conflicts keep us from attaining the good life?

If you are interested, read this book as well. Then, see how you might reconcile the past and present reality with various possible futures.

(c) 2012 Elihu Genmyo Smith