Google News no longer serves Spain.
December 17, 2014
THE NUMBERS: Gigabytes of Internet Protocol traffic generated per Internet user each month,* projected for 2018 –
|Western Europe average||38.3|
* Projections from Cisco, Visual Networking Index 2014
WHAT THEY MEAN:
Is Europe creating an information drought for itself? An introduction to the question, via wire services from Madrid last Friday:
“Google said it plans to close its news-linking service in Spain in response to legislation under which publishers will soon be able to force Internet sites to pay for re-publishing headlines or snippets of news. In a statement, the search giant said the new law makes the Google News service unsustainable and that it will remove Spanish publishers from Google News sites worldwide and shut down this service in Spain on 16 December. The move also means readers in Latin America and around the globe will no longer find links to articles from any Spanish news publishers on Google News.”
The legislation in question was passed in October and given the very generic official name Ley de Propriedade Intelectual (“intellectual property law”), but is more frequently referred to as “Tasa Google.” It requires online services like news aggregators to pay fees to newspapers in order to publish the snippets and links readers can click to get the full story from El Pais, La Vanguardia Catalunya, &c. By way of analogy, a similar law for physical papers and ink-based reading would require owners of newspaper kiosks and coffee-shops to pay the publisher when a passer-by reads a headline. Failure to pay means a 600,000-euro fine.
Faced with paying recipients in order to help them raise their web traffic, Google glumly closed its news service for Spain on Friday. According to Reuters, the papers get 8 to 21 percent of their on-line traffic via Google News, meaning that the law’s consequence is (a) to reduce traffic and perhaps advertising revenue for the papers, plus (b) faded ability for outsiders to catch up on Catalonia’s independence drive, Real Madrid scores, and other useful news from the peninsula.
The traffic-reducing Ley follows a similar German effort, which broke down in a week. More generally it looks like part of a trend: nervousness about the success of American internet firms, combined with the absence to date of European counterparts, appears to be launching a variety of national laws and EU-wide antitrust fulminations whose hope may be to narrow a perceived gap, but whose likely principal effects – as with the Ley – look to be (a) complications for European Internet users, and then (b) lower European information use.
What then for Europe’s information future (and by extension, that of others looking to tax, firewall, etc.)? Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index projections suggest that at least for parts of the continent, an information drought may indeed lie ahead.
Each year, the VNI gives a five-year projection of Internet usership, data traffic, device use, and so on for the world and 23 individual countries. Its most recent one, peeking four years ahead to 2018, has high-info Sweden and Britain as unusual outliers; continental Europe (at least east of the Channel, south of the Kiel Canal, and west of the Oder) begins to fall behind.
By the VNI estimates, European Internet users in 2013 were creating about 18 gigabytes of data per month, Japanese 23, and Americans 29; by 2018 the respective figures will be 38, 57, and 70 gigabytes per month. Spain in particular, now more or less tied with France and Italy in the European rankings, will be producing the least information per user among the 7 EU member countries in the table, and will also have fallen behind Mexico, Argentina, and Chile. An expanded table of VNI rankings looks like this, again in gigabytes of Internet Protocol traffic per month:
|PLACE||2013 ESTIMATE||2018 PROJECTION|
|Western Europe avg.||18.0||38.3|
Users & information -
Cisco’s VNI Forecast Highlights Tool estimates information flows by for the world, 6 regions, 23 individual countries, and individual users, 2013-2018: http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/sp/vni/vni_forecast_highlights/index.html
Spain vs. Internet -
El Pais’s 5-point summary explains the “Tasa Google”: http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2014/02/14/actualidad/1392399393_388548.html
Spain’s Association of Newspaper Publishers (AEDE): http://www.aede.es/publica/home.asp
Google announces its departure: http://googlepolicyeurope.blogspot.com/2014/12/an-update-on-google-news-in-spain.html
Spain’s Ministry of Culture, Education, & Sports has a laconic comment: http://www.mecd.gob.es/prensa-mecd/en/actualidad/2014/12/20141211-tasa.html
Trade-and-Internet analysts at DC-based “Project Disco” look at the Ley de P.I. and potential conflict with World Intellectual Property Organization and WTO copyright agreements: http://www.project-disco.org/intellectual-property/121214-trade-implications-of-google-news-exiting-spain-over-ancillary-right/
Irate commentary from ComputerWorld: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2859176/why-google-should-leave-europe.html
And La Vanguardia Catalunya suggests some re-thinking: http://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20141215/54421447820/fape-aboga-por-acuerdo-entre-google-y-aede-para-evitar-cierre-de-google-news.html
U.S. & Europe -
The U.S. Mission to the EU on science, innovation, and consumers: http://useu.usmission.gov/science_innovation.html
The European Commission’s Internet policy page: https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/communities/internet-policy
And also on the state of the Internet -
Akamai’s most recent State of the Internet (September 2014) tracks access, speed, security and other topics, around the world and across U.S. states (Korea is fastest at 24.6 megabytes per second, with Hong Kong second at 15.7 and the U.S. at 11.4; Delaware and Virginia have the U.S.’ fastest average connections at 16.2 and 14.6 mbps): http://www.akamai.com/html/about/press/releases/2014/press-093014.html
Trade and Inequality: Cause? Cure? Diversion?
December 11, 2014
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, in a speech delivered last October, makes an observation and poses a question:
“The past several decades have seen the most sustained rise in inequality since the 19th century after more than 40 years of narrowing inequality following the Great Depression. By some estimates, income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the past hundred years, much higher than the average during that time span, and probably higher than for much of American history before then. … I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity.”
The phenomenon Dr. Yellen describes is well-known. For two generations, Americans have been growing apart. In response, she proposes four domestic-policy “building blocks,” meant to raise lifetime earning potential at middle- and lower-income levels: high-quality education in primary schools and high schools, improved access to college, small business formation to create wealth for lower-income families, and inheritances at middle-income levels.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is negotiating two large new trade agreements, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or “TPP” and “T-TIP” for short. The administration’s hope is to tap foreign demand and export more, helping to accelerate the return to normal growth in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis; to address global-economy problems such as trade in endangered species and child labor; to encourage the growth and unity of the Internet; and to strengthen political and policy ties to the long-time allies and new partners joined in these agreements.
Can these goals go together? Some fear that trade with other countries is a cause of inequality within the United States, and that trade agreements will make it worse. If so, we have a problem: how do we address a long-term challenge to equality of opportunity, and simultaneously take advantage of the growth and policy reform trade policy could bring? This essay is an examination of the question with three basic theses:
1. Trade growth is not a major cause of inequality. The leading modern study of wealth and income inequality, Thomas Piketty’s 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century (termed by Paul Krugman “the most important economics book of the year – and maybe of the decade,” and by Larry Summers a Nobel Prize-worthy” research accomplishment) suggests a basic cause of rising inequality in divergence between national growth rates and returns on investment. This phenomenon is unrelated to trade and unaffected by trade policy. As Piketty’s book observes, trade restriction will not reverse it. Most earlier analyses, meanwhile, make trade at most a minor factor in inequality, and one whose effects are complex and multidirectional, rather than simply accelerating or slowing the growth of inequality.
2. Trade policy is not the major solution to inequality, but can provide useful support for a response rooted in domestic policy. Higher growth through exports, if Piketty’s hypothesis is correct, will help slow the growth of inequality though likely not reversing the trend. TPP and T-TIP are an important part of this. Creative use of some existing agreements and policies, along with creatively negotiated TPP and T-TIP agreements, can help promote growth and affluence at middle- and lower-income communities by (a) offering more support to lower-income exporters and intellectual-property holders, consistent with Dr. Yellen’s domestic policy building blocks, and (b) reducing or eliminating discriminatory taxation of lower-income families through the tariff system, and (c) more generally helping to provide the American public as a whole with lower-priced goods.
3. Lowering U.S. trade barriers is more likely to ease than exacerbate inequality. Because U.S. tariffs are concentrated in taxation of cheap clothes, shoes, and other home goods rarely made in the United States, they are mostly ineffective as import limits and regressive as taxation. The main effect of reducing these tariffs through trade agreements would be to raise living standards for lower-income households and thus ease inequality. Future import growth does remains likely to create new competition and stresses, but mostly through the improvement of infrastructure, logistics, and Internet access, and through rising competitiveness in foreign countries. It needs to be met through a stronger national safety net, including a well-funded Trade Adjustment Assistance program, broader lifelong learning and adjustment programs for all dislocated workers, and national competitiveness programs in infrastructure, science, and other areas.
The full paper is available in PDF format at:
And in 2-page summary version at:
Remittances from immigrant blue-collar workers are three times as large as all foreign aid combined.
December 10, 2014
THE NUMBERS: Remittances as share of GDP* -
|West Bank & Gaza||20.1%|
* World Bank estimates for 2013 when available, otherwise 2012.
WHAT THEY MEAN:
These are the year’s busiest days for small banks and wire services in Salvadoran-American communities – Maryland’s Wheaton and Langley Park, LA’s Pico Union, Houston’s Gulfton, New Jersey’s Elizabeth – as Christmas money pours into the north end of the wire and begins to flow south. According to the World Bank, Salvadoran-Americans will send about $4.3 billion in “remittances” to families and relatives this year (a record total, averaging $2,200 per person, from a population whose median income is $20,000), with about a sixth of the money arriving in the weeks before Christmas.
The Salvadoran wires offer a miniature picture of the remittance world. Remittances are small, usually counted in tens or hundreds of dollars rather than millions or billions. But when combined they are very large – again according to the World Bank, the world’s 213 million immigrants will send $582 billion in remittances home in 2014, including $435 billion to low- and middle-income countries. This is about 0.5 percent of global income, or alternatively $200 per immigrant per month. Though the largest amounts of money flow to big countries – $71 billion to India, $64 billion to China, $28 billion to the Philippines, $24 billion to Mexico –the countries most reliant on remittances are (a) places with geographic challenges, in particular small island states and land-locked countries such as Samoa, Jamaica, Nepal, and Lesotho; and (b) countries in regions troubled by violence, such as Central America, the Middle East, and eastern Europe. Comparing remittances with foreign aid and business investment provides a wider-lens perspective on their significance in the global economy:
1. Governments and Foreign Aid: The OECD’s annual tally of foreign aid finds its 31 members sending $138 billion in development aid, emergency relief, technical assistance and other aid programs in 2013. As the OECD observes, this aid total is “the highest level ever recorded, despite continued pressures on budgets in OECD countries since the global economic crisis.” Aid programs outside the OECD add more: $5 billion for the UAE, $3.2 billion for Turkey, $1 billion for Taiwan, uncertain totals for China and Saudi Arabia, smaller levels for ASEAN members. Overall, then, remittance flows are likely about three times the value of all foreign aid programs combined.
2. Businesses and Foreign Direct Investment: UNCTAD’s annual count of private direct investment flows finds the world’s multinational businesses investing $778 billion to acquire companies, set up sales offices, build plants and labs, etc., in developing countries. This figure is actually too high, since UNCTAD’s definition of “developing country” quirkily includes Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the Caribbean tax havens. Taking these high-income places out, FDI flows to middle- and lower-income countries come to $560 billion, with the highest figures going to Brazil, China, and a few other big countries near the top of the scale. This makes remittances roughly equal to business direct investment.
Nationwide, at the south end of the wire, remittances account for a sixth of Salvadoran GDP; home by home, rural Salvadoran families who receive $100 per month or more in remittances are twice likely as other families to keep their children in school. Other countries differ in detail, but not in the basic effects.
Which raises a question: Who changes the world? Governments, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, NGOs and charities, scientists, and other influential types doubtless do their part. But the populist force of tens of millions of blue-collar and services workers – expatriate Filipina nurses, Indonesian maids in Hong Kong, Haitian restaurant-workers in Miami, West African taxi drivers in Paris, Thai cooks and Lebanese accountants, DC’s Salvadoran construction-workers – appears to be their match.
The World Bank’s remittances page has figures by region and country for 2014: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/10/06/remittances-developing-countries-five-percent-conflict-related-migration-all-time-high-wb-report
Countries & regions -
The Salvadoran Embassy: http://www.elsalvador.org/
And the Silver Spring Gazette (2010) on immigrant life, remittance flows during the financial crisis, and cross-country links and stresses in suburban Maryland: http://ww2.gazette.net/fracturedpipeline/
A look at remittance flows to the Pacific Islands: http://www.cgap.org/blog/what-next-remittances-and-money-transfers-pacific
For comparison -
The OECD’s Development Assistance Council page details $138 billion in aid for 2013: http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/aid-to-developing-countries-rebounds-in-2013-to-reach-an-all-time-high.htm
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s data-book has figures by country, project, and topic: http://gbk.eads.usaidallnet.gov/
And UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment Report: http://unctad.org/en/pages/PublicationWebflyer.aspx?publicationid=937
And a bit of data on cost –
A separate World Bank data-base offers a quick look into the financial-services world of blue-collar immigrants. As a point of reference: American money-management firms charge fees roughly of 0.5 percent to 1.5 percent for managing a $200,000 retirement account. This noted:
1. Most costly: The world’s most expensive remittance services are intra-African wires: according to the World Bank’s figures for the autumn of 2014, a Malawi miner sending $200 home will lose 20.5% of his money, or $41, to banking and wire fees.
2. Most efficient: The cheapest remittances are wires from Singapore. A Thai cook at a hotel will lose only 1.06% of her $200, or $2.12 – roughly speaking, treatment comparable to American money-management firm fees for middle-class clients.
3. United States: America’s average remittance fees are about 6.4 percent; rates for El Salvador are lower, at about 4.4 percent, meaning that this week’s $200 Christmas wires will cost about $8.29. Not bad by world standards; still much more costly than high-dollar investment management. The database: http://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/
World container-fleet capacity has nearly doubled since President Obama took office.
December 3, 2014
THE NUMBERS: World container-shipping fleet capacity, in TEUs* -
|2014||19.9 million TEUs|
|2013||16.1 million TEUs|
|2009||12.1 million TEUs|
|2000||4.3 million TEUs|
|1993||1.5 million TEUs|
* Counts by UNCTAD. “Twenty-foot Equivalent Units” – essentially the number of 20 x 8 x 8.5 foot shipping containers the world’s container-ship fleet can carry at any given moment. A 40-foot container counts as two TEUs.
WHAT THEY MEAN:
UNCTAD’s most recent Review of Maritime Transport, out last November 20th, reports that world container-fleet capacity grew by 3.8 million TEUs last year. What does this mean?
Invented by trucking magnate Malcolm Mclean in 1956, shipping containers now move about 52 percent of all maritime cargo, and therefore about 35 percent of world merchandise trade. Last year three British academics did a series of calculations and regressions to try to pick out the effects of international trade agreements and container shipping on globalization between 1962 and 1990. Their paper (Examining the Effects of the Container Revolution on World Trade, Bernhofen, el-Sahli, and Kneller) found that:
1. Participation in the two multilateral GATT agreements of the era (the “Kennedy Round” of 1968 and the “Tokyo Round” of 1979, which applied to 94 countries as of 1990) raised a country’s trade 285 percent, or three-fold.
2. Participation in free trade agreements, meaning (a) the expansion of the European Community from the six original members to the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, Greece, Spain, and Portugal; (b) the duty-free status given to European Free Trade Area participants Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland; and (c) the U.S.-Canada auto pact of 1965 and the U.S.-Israel FTA of 1985, raised trade about 45 percent.
3. Adoption of container shipping, which began on Atlantic routes in 1966 and on Pacific routes in 1968, raised trade 790 percent, or nine-fold.
Computer models are obviously never precise, and are sometimes wrong. But if the study is basically correct, development of container shipping was twice as powerful a driver of “globalization” as trade policy from the 1960s to the early 1990s. This is because it brought massive gains in efficiency. As the paper points out, a British port using gangs of stevedores in 1965 could load 1.7 tons of cargo per worker per hour onto a ship; in 1970 after adopting containers, the same port did 30 tons per worker per hour. Alternatively, trucking executive Malcolm McLean, designer of the first container ship in 1956, calculated that traditional “breakbulk” loading of ships cost $5.83 per ton, while container loading cost only 16 cents per ton.
What has happened since?
UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport (an annual report on shipping) has tracked container capacity figures regularly since the 1970s and annually since the 1990s. Back issues show that the global container fleet of the early 1990s (at the end of the Bernhofen et al study) comprised 1,500 ships, which were able to carry about 1.5 million containers* around the world at any one time and delivered about 125 million boxes per year to the world’s container terminals. By President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 the fleet had tripled to 4638 container ships and achieved a capacity of 12 million TEUs; the world’s ports, meanwhile, were recording 465 million container arrivals per year. And from 2009 to 2013, container-fleet capacity grew to 16 million TEUs, and port deliveries to 651 million boxes.
This brings us to last month’s Review of Maritime Transport. Last year’s 3.8-million TEU jump was the largest expansion of container fleet capacity in history – essentially an increase three times the total size of the entire global container fleet of 1993, and equal to that of 2000.
Expansion of an existing container fleet may well have a less powerful impact on trade than did the initial shift over from cargoes loaded by stevedore gangs to containers loaded by computer and crane. And the greater frequency of FTAs, the very ambitious Uruguay Round Agreement that created the WTO in 1995, and the growth of the WTO to its current 161 members, may mean trade agreements have had relatively more impact in recent decades than between the 1960s and 19680s.
But the fact that the container fleet grew by a quarter in the single year 2013, and has essentially doubled over the course of the Obama administration, will probably also have a very powerful effect: as the physical costs of trade fall, consumer-goods tariff systems continue to become less effective, and more like taxes than like trade policy; value chains become more complex and closely integrated; consumer prices fall; and ‘globalization’ accelerates.
* More precisely, 1.5 million “TEUs.” As above, a TEU is an acronym meaning “Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit” – a standard 20 x 21 x 8.5 foot container is one TEU, and a 40-foot container is two TEUs.
Data, analysis, & perspective -
UNCTAD’s 2014 Review of Maritime Transport looks at container capacity, tankers, ports, and more (mostly in Chapters 1 and 2): http://unctad.org/en/pages/publications/Review-of-Maritime-Transport-(Series).aspx
Bernhofen/el-Sahli/Kneller investigate the impact of trade agreements and container ships, 1962-1990: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/gep/research/papers/2013/13-02.aspx
Marc Levinson’s The Box (2005), written for the 50th anniversary of the first container-ship journey, on the invention and spread of container shipping, 1956 – 2005: http://www.amazon.com/Box-Shipping-Container-Smaller-Economy/dp/0691136408
Two container ships -
Fleet capacity is bigger in part because there are more ships, but also because there are bigger ships. The maiden voyage of Ideal-X, McLean’s first container ship, carried 58 containers from Newark to Houston. By 2000, the largest container ship in the world could carry 5,000 TEUs at a time. Today’s biggest container ship, the CSCL Globe, launched in September 2014, can carry 19,000 TEUs. Perspectives then & now -
And from Wired ‘s U.K. edition, a photographic essay on the world’s largest container ship as of mid-2014, a Maersk Triple-E class vessel with 18,500 TEU capacity: http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2014/09/features/ship/viewgallery/338130
The South China Morning Post looks back at the first 150-container trip from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, 1969: http://www.scmp.com/business/article/1647905/how-containers-made-world-smaller-and-its-economy-bigger
Hong Kong now manages about 24 million containers a year. On average, this is 70,000 per day, or one per second. The Hong Kong Container Terminal Operators Association: http://www.hkctoa.com/facilities
And some more analysis -
Having pioneered container shipping in the 1950s, Americans now export about $250 billion worth of goods per year by maritime container. This is about 15% of merchandise cargo, with another 32% going by air, 30% by land, and the rest by tanker, roll-on/roll-off auto transport, grain carrier, and so on.
Examining container shipping costs and time by country, the World Bank’s 2014 Trading Across Borders database finds U.S. ports in New York and Los Angeles (which together handle about a quarter of all maritime container exports) very fast – 6 days from plant to open sea, as opposed to a 10.5-day average for wealthy countries – but also more expensive. Counting paperwork, Customs fees, and labor costs, LA export transits apparently cost $810 per container and New York transits are $690. These are the equivalents of 3 or 4 percent tariffs abroad. By comparison, container export transit costs are $445 in the UK’s Southhampton Port, $470 in Osaka, $525 in Shanghai, and a sparkling $170 in Korea’s Busan: http://www.doingbusiness.org/data/exploretopics/trading-across-borders
World rates of chronic undernourishment are down by 40 percent in the last 20 years.
November 26, 2014
THE NUMBERS: Fastest reductions in chronic undernourishment, 1990/1992 to 2012/2014 *–
* UN Food and Agricultural Organization estimates. FAO defines “chronic undernourishment” as “a state, lasting for at least one year, of inability to acquire enough food, defined as a level of food intake insufficient to meet dietary energy requirements,” and defines hunger (though not famine) as “being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.”
WHAT THEY MEAN:
From Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, the single eyewitness account of the first Thanksgiving in 1621:
“We set the last spring some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed some six acres of barley and peas, and according to the manner of the Indians, we manured our ground with herrings or rather shads, which we have in great abundance, and take with great ease at our doors. Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown, they came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom.
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie.”
How many people are safely ‘farre from want’ this Thanksgiving?
1. One way to answer: “more than ever before.” The UN Food and Agricultural Organization has done five estimates of hunger rates and totals since the early 1990s, which cover the world as a whole and 115 individual countries. The first, covering the period 1990-1992, found 1 billion people chronically undernourished – 18.7 percent of the world’s people, or about 1.01 billion men, women, and children. Rates of hunger were above 30 percent of population in 33 of the survey’s 115 countries, and above half in 9. By the 2000-2002 survey these figures had dropped to 14.9 percent of world population and 930 million people; the most recent, for 2012-14, finds 805 million people or 11.3 percent of the world population hungry, and only one country, Haiti, with a rate of chronic undernourishment still above 50 percent.
Over a generation, then, hunger has been in steady retreat. By country, over the full 20 years of these surveys, Georgia and Thailand have both cut chronic undernourishment by over 80 percent; ten more countries have done nearly as well, with Angola, Armenia, Cameroon, Djibouti, Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, Sao Tome, St. Vincent, and Vietnam all cutting undernourishment rates by more than 70 percent. By region, Southeast Asia’s decline has been fastest, down from 31 percent in 1990-1992 to 10.7 percent, with Latin America next at 60 percent. Nor has this progress slowed: about 9 million people have been escaping hunger annually in the short three years since FAO’s 2009-2011 survey.
2. A second answer: “far too few.” FAO’s report finds 805 million men, women, and children worldwide still chronically undernourished in 2012-2014 (76 million in South Asia, 227 million in sub-Saharan Africa, 64 million in Southeast Asia, 31 million in the Middle East, and 37 million in Latin America and the Caribbean) and believes that in 13 countries, more than 30 percent of people remain hungry. These are the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia (though Ethiopia, focus of the 1989 “Live Aid” appeal, has cut chronic undernourishment from 75 percent of population in 1990 to 55 percent in 2000 and 35 percent in 2012-2014) Madagascar, Namibia, North Korea, Rwanda, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe along with Haiti.
Hunger remains a presence in the United States as well. The Department of Agriculture’s most recent Household Food Security in the United States, released September 2014, finds 5.6 percent of the country’s 121 million households suffering from “very low food security,” meaning that “the food intake of some household members was reduced and normal eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year due to limited resources.” Pilgrim destination Massachusetts and North Dakota have America’s lowest rates of food insecurity, but even in these states, USDA estimates find about 3 percent of households with very low food security.
So a generation of remarkable progress, in which fear of hunger has vanished from many millions of lives. But on this 393rd Thanksgiving weekend, not all are far from want, and the fight against hunger is not yet won.
FAO’s State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014: http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/2014/en/
The World Food Program USA seeks emergency help for aid to Syria, Iraq, Gaza, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and West Africa: http://wfpusa.org/hungerhotspots
Bread for the World’s 2015 Hunger Report examines women as food producers, the “feminization” of hunger and poverty, and rural female empowerment as part of the end of hunger: http://hungerreport.org/2015/
The Alliance to End Hunger: http://www.alliancetoendhunger.org/
Oxfam America on national policies, the role of small-scale farming, and more: http://policy-practice.oxfamamerica.org/work/food-agriculture-livelihoods/
At home -
USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States 2014: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err173.aspx
And Massachusetts then and now -
Edward Winslow describes Plymouth Colony fisheries, agriculture, and farm trade with the Wampanoag:
“… For fish and fowl, we have great abundance; fresh cod in the summer is but coarse meat with us; our bay is full of lobsters all the summer and affordeth variety of other fish; in September we can take a hogshead of eels in a night, with small labor, and can dig them out of their beds all the winter; we have mussels and othus at our doors: oysters we have none near, but we can have them brought by the Indians when we will; all the spring-time the earth sendeth forth naturally very good sallet herbs: here are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also. Strawberries, gooseberries, raspas, etc. Plums of three sorts, with black and red, being almost as good as a damson: abundance of roses, white, red, and damask; single, but very sweet indeed.”
Winslow’s “Mourt’s Relation,” 1621 (modernized spelling). The First Thanksgiving account is near the end of Part VI: http://www.histarch.illinois.edu/plymouth/mourt1.html
The Greater Boston Food Bank, 2014: http://www.gbfb.org/our-mission/hunger.php
The Wampanoag today: http://www.mashpeewampanoagtribe.com/