American Sociological Review | VOL. 66
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Food Security in Less Developed Countries, 1970 to 1990

Publication Date Oct 1, 2001

Abstract

Despite a global food surplus almost half of the worlds less developed countries suffer significant problems concerning food. Most social science and policy discussions of food security make the "food availability" assumption that increased food supply is the key to reducing hunger. Critics argue however that increased food supply has little impact on hunger and that the primary culprits are entrenched inequality and militarism. A lagged panel analysis of food supply and child hunger rates (1970- 90) shows that the food supply has only modest effects on child hunger rates and that food supply is structurally rooted in development processes (domestic investment urban bias foreign capital penetration) while child hunger is politically based in arms imports internal violence and political democratization. Population pressure tapped by increased age dependency undermines both the supply of food and the populations access to it and culturally dualism magnifies the effects of population pressure on child hunger. The effects of economic growth "trickle down" to affect food both supply and child hunger and economic growth is also positively correlated with political democratization suggesting there is no short-term "trade off" between growth democratization and social equity. (authors)

Concepts

Food Supply Child Hunger Increased Food Supply Food Availability Social Equity Population Pressure Trade Off Political Democratization Modest Effects Science Of Security

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