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