Starvation

In a world where cornucopia is the norm – in the west in any case – hunger does not touch most people. There are even reliable stories, and research, which suggests that children today never experience hunger; not the twinge of emptiness, but real hunger, because they are fed frequently. There are some people who suffer from hunger, or a type of nutritional deprivation, for one reason or another, but it’s still relatively rare.

This predicament is exceptional in history. That is an achievement. For the last thousand or so years humans have struggled to beat, not just hunger, but starvation. For most of history hunger was normal, frequent and ever-present. Even in good times, when ordinary people had regular work they didn’t eat much; not by today’s standards, anyway.

With hunger conquered there are new important things to do. Winning the consequences of the victory over hunger – obesity, diabetes – might be considered. That has been tossed around for a while now and it still hasn’t got much traction.

The other thing might be a sovereign currency. Money-food: it’s an obvious connection though it’s not especially interesting. But that’s not what I am talking about, although there will be a few people who see the connection, or for ideological reasons, make the connection. About three hundred million Europeans do and in Italy voters have decided they’d like to eat.

Italians voted on a constitutional referendum which has implication for Europe, the European currency and whether it might disappear. I won’t chorus in with opinions of what it means, there are plenty of others doing that now. While the ramifications are going to be clearer in the months ahead; the motive, the link to food, and national currency goes back 24 years.

A month after Europe decided to merge, a lone English voice wrote a prescient and very pithy analysis of why it was inevitably going to end badly. It’s a technical commentary which may seem obscure. Towards the end he states explicitly what happens when a country, like Italy, in its current position, has fewer options and no lira to use for its advantage: it declines and its people must emigrate, an Italian solution from a century ago, in order to survive starvation.

The Italian referendum, like Brexit, doesn’t end their problems; it signals that other ideas are needed which will, in all likelihood, come from the belly.

©Copyright Guy Cranswick 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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