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Why Can't People Feed Themselves: the Price of Progress

1) In the article,"Why Can't People Feed Themselves?" by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins, what is the main theme and the most important points that the authors are trying to make?

2) In the article, what process or processes are the two authors talking about when they state that "hunger and underdevelopment must always be thought of as a 'process'?"

3) In the article, what has been the economic legacy of colonialism? How have historians misrepresented the nature of history?

4) In the Article, "The Price of Progress" by John Bodley, what is the most frequently used measure of progress in quality of life and why is it inadequate?

5) In the article, upon what exactly is the author saying that the entire "victims of progress" issue hinges? Why is he saying tribal people are victimized?

6) What is the author saying are some medical problems that result from progress and what is he saying the causes of those medical problems are?

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Dear Student,
Hi & thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below is divided in 2 sections as the questions were answered in groups due to the fact that they relate to each other. Good luck with your studies!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones


Why Can't People Feed Themselves? (Questions 1, 2 & 3)

The article is a narrative discussing that the problem of world hunger is not due to overpopulation. This is a repeated theme in that the article explores what they see are the socio-political factors that contribute to the scarcity or difficulty of access to food and such resources by the marginalized and particular social groups in varied regions globally. The myth of scarcity implies that because of competition, resources aren't enough to provide for all. But this does not take into account how resources are produced and distributed as well as the social structure and situations and their environment in relation to capacity for production (especially if whether or not all the elements are present to allow this to happen). Lappe and Collins looked through history and the development of the present world order (by tracing colonial production and demand) for an explanation. Hoping to deconstruct what they see as inaccurate analysis of why there is hunger (wherein the underdeveloped world just does not have the capacity to get by due to their structure and overpopulation), they proposed the following:

1. There is enough food to go around. Populations can produce food to support their needs. The global free market established during the colonial days is dependent upon the trading structure that people have come to relate abundance in relation to free market access.

2. The Colonial mentality of control - where the poorer nations produce to support the industry of the first world which in turn supports their economic certainty and the market system that controls exchange so that the poorer nation gets little in exchange (i.e. controlled/artificial value of currency against the $) ensures that the 3rd world or developing world always gets the least in the exchange for the products and services produced. Plus, we are now organized in such a way that the more powerful countries design and influence the economic trend the world follows with the poorer nations trailing behind. The winning countries and the most powerful will always dictate the terms. Same goes for food - the stock and products are stored for commerce and only those who can afford it.

3. Unequal distribution of power and wealth equates to unequal access to food. Land grabbing and the creation of plantations by Colonials in former territory left many without access to land for production. Slavery as well as division of territories according to fancy of colonial government ensured, at times, that native populace lost much ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a comprehensive and extensive narrative that provides answer, in-depth to the questions (from the discipline of anthropology) listed in the original posting (see long description). Tackled are the articles on food production by Lappe and Collins as affected by the historical experience of a people and the article on the price of progress and social development by Bodley. Additional resoources are listed. Related questions are answered in a 2-section narrative numbering at 1,671 words. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.