“The horrific fact is that from the 19th Century to the present time, most of the worst famines on the planet have been caused not by an apocalypse of nature, or a worldwide shortage of food, but by the hand of man. More often than not these famines were caused by the intentional, deliberate actions of those in positions of power and influence, for either political or economic reasons.
“One of the causes of famines has been the decisions and actions of a powerful elite few who decide that their personal wealth and power are more important than the lives of the ‘little people’.
“For those who think it can’t happen in the USA, because this country is a ‘bread basket’, think again. Many Americans today are descendants of those who fled one of the worst famines in European history. It was a deadly famine which occurred in the midst of plenty while living in a country which was a bread basket.
“Ireland, during a seven year period starting in 1845, in the very heart of the powerful and wealthy British Empire, lost almost a quarter of its entire population either through death or fleeing refugees, due to a famine triggered by a potato blight. A common name for this event was the great Irish Potato Famine. Many Irish call this event, An Gorta Mór, which means, The Great Hunger…
“During the entire seven years of the Great Hunger which ravaged Ireland, a famine which killed 1.5 million men, women, and children, destroyed countless families, and caused another million refugees, Ireland was producing more than DOUBLE the amount of food it took to feed that country’s entire population.
“So where did all the food go?
“The majority of the wealth and land in Ireland, especially the vast majority of the best land most suitable for agriculture, was concentrated in the hands of the wealthy elite whose principle allegiance wasn’t to Ireland, but rather to what was essentially an occupying foreign power, England.
“Here is a small sample of what was shipped out of Ireland by the wealthy elite during the famine:
“In 1845, over 26 million bushels of corn and over a quarter of a million sheep were shipped to England.
“In 1846, exports to England included over 480,000 pigs and over 186,000 oxen.
“In 1847, the third year of the famine, over 4000 ships left Irish ports that year bound for England carrying peas, beans, rabbits, salmon, honey, and potatoes, almost 10,000 cattle, 4000 horses and ponies, 1 million gallons of butter, and 1.7 million gallons of alcohol manufactured from over 700,000 bushels of locally grown grain.
“During the midst of the famine, more than enough food to end the famine instantly, and grown locally in Ireland, was shipped to England, and they didn’t stop, year after year, after year. The Irish said at the time, “God sent the potato blight, but England created the famine.”
“…One thing which as been shown by the Irish famine, and other examples, is that you can have famine conditions ravaging the population, even when plenty of food is in the country. If that food doesn’t get to you, you can’t eat it.
“The American food distribution system is very vulnerable to disruption or intentional manipulation…The average food item on those supermarket shelves has travelled between 1200 to 1500 miles in order to get there…
“Brown talked about how the biggest change in the dynamic of the food market was going to be China, noting how it was poised at that time to be the economic titan, which, 18 years later, we can now see that it has evolved into. His point was that since the population of China was so huge, a large growth in their prosperity would cause a surge on the worldwide food market which the market would not be able to adequately handle…
“When you look at the numbers, it is staggering. Add that to the fact that a large percentage of China is a sparse, barren desert, and growing Chinese cities are erasing domestic Chinese cropland for industrialization. Meanwhile Chinese food production is stagnating, and yet China’s population, even with their official ‘one child’ policy, still grows at the equivalent of a new Beijing each year.
“Where will they get all of the extra food?
“They will simply buy it on the world market, and now, with China’s prosperity, they have the cash to outbid competitors for that food.
“As Lester Brown said at the time, “China’s rising food prices will become the world’s rising food prices. China’s land scarcity will become everyone’s land scarcity.”
“…The growing competition on the world market for food resources, and the subsequently increasing food prices, are happening at a time when the clock is ticking on the American economy. It’s now more of a matter of simple math, rather than speculation, that the US economy is heading towards the most severe economic depression in its history.
“What all of this means is that the American people are in grave danger from a very unstable food supply due to multiple causes.
“One of the biggest dangers will be when American’s are no longer the highest bidder for their own food. Then, thanks to global ‘free trade,’ that food goes someplace else other than your local supermarket and your table. When that happens, the mechanism of supply and demand with scarcity start to accelerate, and price inflation will kick in. By observing what happened at the Sukharevka, everyone can see how rapidly such a situation can spiral out of control
“Yes, it can happen here, very easily. There are too many forces pushing in that direction, and few pushing against it…”
Other famines were detailed in the book and excised in the excerpt above to get the point across in a concise manner. Those famine discussions included the Sukharveka black market in Moscow during the Russian revolution, the Holodomor in Ukraine during Stalin’s reign, and the Sānnián dà jīhuāng or Chinese famine during the Great Leap Forward.