The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Hunger on the increase

Oct 6, 2008

The following article is translated from the September 26, 2008 issue of Lutte Ouvrière [Workers Struggle], edited by the group of the same name active in France.

In the last few months the number of hungry people in the world grew by 75 million people, almost the same amount as the entire population of Germany. According to the director of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the numbers grew from 850 million to 925 million.

This increase in the number of men, women and children who go to bed hungry has been caused by the explosion in the price of basic necessities. From 2007 to 2008, the price of food jumped 24%. For the first seven months of 2008, the price of food was up another 50%.

Speculation in raw materials caused this run-up in prices: when the housing market collapsed, speculators turned to raw materials and agricultural products. It’s the U.S. financial crisis that has aggravated the situation of millions of the world’s poorest people, and it has led to food riots in about 40 countries, according to the FAO.

The director of the FAO said, “We must invest 30 billion dollars to double food production and eliminate hunger.” It’s ridiculous. Compare that to the hundreds of billions of dollars the principal capitalist states have already injected into the funds that have crashed. And it’s nothing compared to the trillions they propose to hand over to their financial system and the speculators who benefit from it.