In 2008, an article touting the benefits of world hunger for creating a cheap, motivated workforce was published on the United Nations’ website. The article resurfaced recently on Twitter and went viral; it was promptly taken down by the U.N. within 24 hours.
The crux of the article is that the elite class has a distinct motivation to not end world hunger, because if everyone is well-nourished, there may be no one willing to provide cheap labour and slave away at some of the most physically demanding and unpleasant jobs on the planet.
While the U.N. claimed the article was satire, its author denied that it was a satirical piece and said it was intended to raise awareness that some people benefit from the existence of hunger in the world.
What could be good about world hunger? Plenty, according to an article written by now-retired University of Hawaii professor of political science George Kent. The story first ran in 2008 and went largely unnoticed for more than a decade, even though it was, bizarrely, published on the United Nations’ website.1
It wasn’t until the article resurfaced on Twitter that it went viral — and was promptly taken down by the U.N. within 24 hours.2 In response, the UN Chronicle tweeted:3
“This article appeared in the UN Chronicle 14 years ago as an attempt at satire and was never meant to be taken literally. We have been made aware of its failures, even as satire, and have removed it from our site.”
Kent, however, who is now the deputy editor for World Nutrition magazine, told Newsbusters that this isn’t the case. “I never intended it as satire,” Kent said. “I did not hope that it would be read as praise for hunger. My main point was and still is that some people benefit from the existence of hunger in the world. That helps to explain why hunger is so persistent in many places.”4
‘No One Works Harder Than Hungry People’
The crux of Kent’s article — satire or not — is that the elite class has a distinct motivation to not end world hunger, because if everyone is well-nourished, there may be no one willing to provide cheap labour and slave away at some of the most physically demanding and unpleasant jobs on the planet.
“Hunger has great positive value to many people. Indeed, it is fundamental to the working of the world’s economy. Hungry people are the most productive people, especially where there is a need for manual labor,” Kent wrote, adding:5
“… For those who depend on the availability of cheap labor, hunger is the foundation of their wealth … Much of the hunger literature talks about how it is important to assure that people are well fed so that they can be more productive. That is nonsense. No one works harder than hungry people. Yes, people who are well nourished have greater capacity for productive physical activity, but well-nourished people are far less willing to do that work.”
Kent wrote that the NGO Free the Slaves estimates that 27 million people in the modern world could be defined as slaves, meaning they cannot walk away from their jobs. That was in 2008. In 2022, Free the Slaves states that 40 million men, women and children are forced to work against their will, generating $150 billion in profits annually for traffickers.6
Among them, about 50%, or 21 million, are stuck in forced labour slavery in industries that depend on manual labour, such as farming, ranching, logging, mining, fishing and brick making, and service industries, such as dish washers, janitors, gardeners and maids. However, these figures don’t include people who are “slaves to hunger,” Kent notes, which could, perhaps, apply to any of us:7
“They do not include people who might be described as slaves to hunger, that is, those who are free to walk away from their jobs but have nothing better to go to. Maybe most people who work are slaves to hunger?
For those of us at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger globally would be a disaster. If there were no hunger in the world, who would plow the fields? Who would harvest our vegetables? Who would work in the rendering plants? Who would clean our toilets? We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets.”
I would contend that the number of slaves is actually exponentially higher due to debt. This is especially true for most physicians who have graduated in the last ten years. They are in debt up to their eyeballs from school loans and work in some large clinic where they have no control or autonomy and are forced to follow the narrative. Failure to comply results in loss of their job and inability to purchase food or pay for shelter.
UN Predicts Total Societal Collapse
In addition to advertising how to create a cheaper workforce by leveraging world hunger, the U.N. released its 2022 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR2022), which paints a dismal picture of the future:8
“Risk creation is outstripping risk reduction. Disasters, economic loss and the underlying vulnerabilities that drive risk, such as poverty and inequality, are increasing just as ecosystems and biospheres are at risk of collapse. Global systems are becoming more connected and therefore more vulnerable in an uncertain risk landscape.”
The report warns that a perfect storm of disasters, economic vulnerability and ecosystem failures are occurring, which predict a coming global collapse if things don’t change — and fast. Noam Chomsky concurs, stating at the American Solar Energy Society’s 51st annual conference held June 21, 2022, “The challenge ahead is beyond anything humans have ever faced. The fate of life on the planet is now at hand.”9
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists introduced the Doomsday Clock in 1947. It represents a countdown to global nuclear annihilation. During the height of the Cold War, it came its closest to midnight — 2 minutes — then cooled, stretching to 17 minutes by 1991.
In 2015, around the time the film was released, increased instability had moved the clock back to 3 minutes to midnight, due to modernizations in global nuclear weapons and “outsized nuclear weapons arsenals,” with world leaders failing to “act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.”10
In an update released January 20, 2022, however, the Bulletin reported that the world is “at doom’s doorstep,” with the clock moving to just 100 seconds to midnight.11
According to Counterpunch, “It will be set again in January , and Chomsky believes a good case can be made to move the second hand even closer to midnight, which is the final hour when humanity self-destructs, either with a bang or suffocation.”12 Some of the concern centers on the deterioration of rational discourse, with censorship reaching unprecedented levels.