Saturday, 29 December 2007

Food for the Starving

Food aid has been criticized by some. Many believe that handing out food reduces any incentive for aid recipients to make food for themselves. It creates a psychology of dependence.

I have a solution to this problem. Before giving food aid to an individual, measure his or her height with a ruler, measure his or her weight, calculate the body-mass-index (BMI) and if the BMI is less than 20, the individual is most likely starving, which means you give him food. If the individual has a BMI over 20 then do not give him food.

Whether 20 is the right number is in dispute and maybe medical experts may think another number is preferable. Nevertheless, using the BMI is an excellent way to quickly and simply discriminate between the truly hungry and the moochers.

By rationing food in this way, more food can be saved for people who desperately need it. Severe starvation begins when a person has a BMI less than 16. If an aid organization wastes too much food resources feeding a fat man with a BMI of 30, all that food is wasted because it could have saved the life of someone with a BMI of 16 or less.

Saving food means that less food needs to be purchased. This means that more money is saved. More money saved is very important because hunger is not really caused by a lack of food but by poor distribution of food. The reasons for poor distribution of food is mainly political, e.g. wars and corruption. With the money saved from not feeding those who don't really need food, extra money can be put into soldiers, cars, and guns needed to transport the food. Extra money can also be put into lobbying for powerful governments to restore peace in warring areas through the deployment of peace keepers.

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