International community entered the XXI century with a burden of unresolved problems and some threats of distinctively explosive nature that push the humanity towards the brink of survival, namely environmental, demographic and closely associated with the previous two – food problem. Mass starvation and malnutrition to a certain extent affected virtually every developing country of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Hunger, being a social phenomenon, constantly accompanied the humanity throughout the course of the world history and retained its urgency with the advent of the XXI century.
A 1952 book by the renowned Brazilian scientist and anthropologist Josué de Castro titled ”Geopolitics of Hunger” reads, ”It is hard to comprehend and even harder to explain the astonishing fact that humans who claim supremacy over other living beings, having had gained so many victories over the forces of nature, and proclaiming himself its master, ultimately failed to ensure decisive victory in the struggle for own means of existence. Currently (mid XX century – author) two thirds of the world’s population exist in the environment of enduring starvation, while the other 1.5 billion are deprived of the means to shed the shackles of the greatest of the social evils”.
Today as well, over 1 billion people are starving, caused by fierce military conflicts and natural cataclysms. According to the estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), one third of the world is fed, one third is under-fed and another third is starving. The Indian sub-continent is home to 50 % of the starving population. Some 40 % live in Africa and the rest of Asia, and the other 10 % are in the Latin America. Moreover, some 15 million children fall victim to hunger annually.
Analysts predict that population of the world will reach 10 billion mark by the 2050 and demographic crisis of the civilization nature will be more pronounced; the Eastern (Southern) civilization (Asia and Africa) will progress more rapidly, compared to the Western (Northern) civilization (Europe, North America). Such trend has already become evident. The scientists are portraying a picture, where in 50-60 years time, the demographic composition of the world would reach a critical level, impelling the issue of an actual struggle for survival.
Resource driven wars of modernity may be substituted by a standoff over ensuring energy supply not for the needs of the technogenic domains but simply for maintaining human life, because with the population growth comes the threat of scarcity of the food resource base for the humanity. Already today the combined population of Africa and Asia is 5.4 billion people, as many as one third of the world’s population. Given that these continents house 90 % of the planet’s poorest population (e.g. starving and under-fed), it becomes obvious where a very valid threat against the mankind would emanate from.
Starvation and destitution recognize no borders, and therefore, the ”hungry billion” that may double or triple by the mid-XXI century, is capable of developing into such an unchecked explosive social-aggressive force, that ”protesting masses” would be the mildest term to describe it.
D.Sc. (Hist.), Professor