UN deletes article ‘The benefits of world hunger’ from website

A United Nations article lauding the “benefits” of world hunger seems to have been removed this week as it appeared to resurface in screenshots on social media.

Titled simply “The Benefits of World Hunger,” the article was published on the United Nations Chronicle website before being archived on Wednesday and then scrubbed by the international organization even as an explanation was offered to claim the post was an attempt at satire, albeit a pretty lousy one.

Readers are now taken to an error page when following a link to the article.

Archives seem to show the article was first published about a dozen years ago but, in light of current world events, it appeared to gain new life on social media this week as users expressed their shock over its content.

Written by George Kent, a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, the piece that many thought could not be serious touted how hunger could be good for the economy and may serve as a “foundation of wealth.”

“We sometimes talk about hunger in the world as if it were a scourge that all of us want to see abolished, viewing it as comparable with the plague or aids. But that naïve view prevents us from coming to grips with what causes and sustains hunger. Hunger has great positive value to many people,” Kent contended in the opening lines of the article.

“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 labour,” he wrote.

“How many of us would sell our services so cheaply if it were not for the threat of hunger?” Kent asked. “For those who depend on the availability of cheap labour, hunger is the foundation of their wealth.”

He furthered this premise as he continued.

“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?” he asked, warning “We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets.”

Kent posited that it can be an “asset” to the wealthy elites to have people “enslaved” by hunger, offering that hunger drives productivity.

“No one works harder than hungry people,” Kent wrote.

The eyebrow-raising article sparked outrage on Twitter where many, like the New York Post’s Jon Levine wondered if it was actually satire.

Interestingly, the UN Chronicle spoke up and claimed the article was “never meant to be taken literally” and was a failed attempt at satire.

But many were not convinced, furthering the warnings of an attempt to establish a “new world order” through the current food shortages and supply chain issues.

Earlier this week, another article published in 2020 by the Rockefeller Foundation also garnered some renewed attention. That document, titled, “Reset The Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the U.S. Food System” put forth the argument that “numerous changes to policies, practices and norms” in America’s food system have to be transformed to promote “social justice” and “environmental protection.”

The debate on Twitter continued over the UN’s “satire” piece as users expressed confusion and outrage.

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Frieda Powers

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