"People don't go hungry in a capitalist economy"

Most rich modern countries are rich and modern because they are capitalist democracies. That doesn’t make rich modern capitalist democracies immune from famine and hunger caused by ecological disaster.

For example, look at the Dust Bowl of the 30s.

I’m not sure all these pieces fit together, at least, not as you intend them. Certainly, being wealthy and highly industrialized means that food can be stored on national quantity levels and rapidly transported to any needed spot, even in disaster zones. So in theory there should be no hunger in a rich modern country. In practice there are many obstacles between a store of food and hungry people, not the least of which is that it cost money for the food and its transportation. I find it dismayingly ironic that right wingers can piously say there is no hunger when they strenuously object to giving/getting food to hungry people who can’t pay for it.

The Dust Bowl, on the other hand, was nearly 100 years ago. (80-85 years is a hell of a long time back.) We had far less ability to store mass quantities of food, far more obstacles to moving it where it might have been needed, and far less sense that the government(s) had any role in feeding starving farmers and ruralites, especially those who weren’t white and appropriately English-speaking.

You’ve almost hit the nail on the head. As much as I agree that right wingers are the sort of monsterous assholes that won’t give food to hungry people, especially if she is a single mother with multiple children (bless your heart Sen. Rand Paul), that is really only half the “argument” that right wing monsterous assholes piously (and I do mean piously as they seem to consider it their Christian duty) make because they expect these single mothers to perform menial labor for humiliating wages before getting paid two weeks later.

Real Christians feed the hungry and care for the sick. Without exception.

Well, that’s only to be expected. Nobody never gave *them *nothin’; they worked hard for everything they have. Why should even an indirect cent from their pocket go to someone who doesn’t want to work just as hard?

Oh, choir dismissed. :smiley:

Moderator Warning

The Second Stone, you’ve been here long enough to know that political jabs are not permitted in General Questions. This is an official warning. Do not do this again.

General Questions Moderator

Colibri, maybe my discrimination is not as finely tuned as a certified moderator, but the warnings issued in a few recent threads seem very erratic - a whole discussion will go past that seems quite politically oriented, then a similar post gets smacked. I don’t see anything in the above discussions that strays too far from the central discussion of how a right-wing observer sees the distribution of food - with some blindness as to the difference between availability and individual accessibility.

[Moderator Note]

Please take any discussion of moderation to ATMB. I will note, however, that we don’t read every post, and may not see unacceptable comments if they are not reported. In any case, referring to right wingers in general as “monstrous assholes” is well beyond what is acceptable in GQ. If you are aware of other posts using such invective that didn’t get moderated, you should have reported them.

General Questions Moderator

Ack, and ack.

I think you completely missed my point. I will allow you to stipulate that hunter-gatherer societies possibly did not turn to democracy after a deep philosophical consideration of the roles of government, etc.

However, I am arguing that most such societies ware quite likely to be democratic for reasons I would have thought obvious.

Lack of infrastructure: Hunter-gatherer societies ware typically semi-nomadic, with only moderate investment in infrastructure. The investment in infrastructure is a very powerful cohesive force in a society.

Moderate resources: Such groups typically had moderate resources. They did not (choose to) amass sufficient resources to support a separate group whose sole function was to force other people to do things.

In short, there is no reason why an HG group would not have been democratic.

Um, okay. I agree with your statement of the components but think anything much like democracy would be an unlikely outcome; something a lot like a monarchy or family dictatorship would be, IMHO, much more likely.

Consider this: do you think we really went from “democratic” HG tribes to an unending succession of monarch/dictators to the still-new practice of national democracy? Seems more likely to me that the progression is more linear; small “monarchies” grew into bigger and bigger ones until, basically, the Enlightenment. (Yes, yes, I’m leaving the Greek and Roman republics out of this, but consider those quasi-democratic eras anomalies in the longer span. They are certainly followed by millennia of monarchy, even discounting the many parallel ones.)

Recall that the statement was made over 30 years ago. Sen had in mind the contrasting examples of Communist China (before Deng de-collectivised in a big way) and India. China had made a lot of progress towards lowering endemic poverty in the country. But they had experienced a terrible famine during the 1960s.

India wasn’t as successful at reducing poverty. But famines attract a lot of media attention which spurs governmental action. There were a lot of potential famines in India in the preceding decades, but the only actual one occurred during wartime (WWII). China had a tightly controlled press during the Great Famine of 1959-61, which was a big part of the problem.

It’s a statement about the media. The media is better at reporting on unusual events, less so at addressing grindingly familiar social problems.

Yes, I do. HG societies were relatively small, with relatively little amassed goods and wealth. That, I suspect, was a weakness, as well as a strength. They could not risk following anyone’s instructions or directions unless they though it was a good idea.
That’s a good working definition of democracy.


Why think the HGs started some type of absolute ruler, or hereditary ruling class? It would be of no benefit to anyone, except the ruler and associated … minions.

I’m sorry. Amateur Barbarian got on a tear, got my blood pressure up and I forgot which forum I was posting in. Yes, I do know better. Very sorry.

Thanks for the acknowledgment.

Since this thread is out of GQ territory by now, let’s move it over to Great Debates.

I did?

I’m not quite sure how to take that… :smiley:

I think you and I were on the same wavelength (or you were being sarcastic) about the kind of jerks who blame poor people. Your post encouraged me, goaded me or whatever. It’s all your fault dude! You made me forget I was in General Questions and I saw an opportunity to kick a “mean people suck” in the balls over ragging on the poors. I took it! Thud! Ow! Followed by warning. Shame.

Dude, I didn’t say “plentiful”. I said “adequate”.

Did your co-workers also live in Burkina Faso or some similar capitalist republics, and relate glowing facts about how “plentiful” food was there?

Even if that is true, I don’t think democracy has been a widespread system for long enough that we can draw any conclusions from that yet.

Ireland has never fully recovered, population wise, from the Potato Famine. For next level fucked up capitalism check out the Bengal famine.

I’ll raise you what King Leopold did to the Belgian Congo. Probably why the DR of the Congo is such a shithole now.