Honors World Regional Blog Assignment #4 Fall 2016 Posted on September 20, 2016 by saorsa2014 Asia: Famine in India and China Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
28 thoughts on “Honors World Regional Blog Assignment #4 Fall 2016”
I will start by saying that I do not remember every seeing, in photographs or in real life, a living human being so emaciated as the man leaning on a stick in the bottom right picture. All of the people in the pictures are very skinny, but since he is less covered, his skeletal appearance is very visible. I think that they even look skinnier than the Holocaust victims I have seen photographed. Previously, if I had thought about someone dying from starvation, I would have expected that they would die within a few days or weeks and be somewhat gaunt looking. It is surprising to me that the people in these photographs were even alive, because I did not know that someone could lose that much weight and still live. However, the babies in the upper left picture do appear to be dead, and the person lying down on the bottom left of the bottom right picture looks as though she could have been dead at that moment. Just thinking about the existence of such starvation makes me wonder in amazement about why they did not receive more help.
Given that the great Chinese famine of 1959-1961 was during Mao Zedong’s reign in China, the West was probably not too keen on helping the country flourish nor Mao Zedong too keen on asking for Western, democratic aid. If the communist Chinese government had asked the Americans or others for help, the United States might have helped, but it seems probable to say that they would have at least had a little interest in perhaps promoting democracy there. You know, just a little bit. However, the famine also seems to be largely a consequence of the poor choices made by the government in its Great Leap Forward program, which overvalued industrial revolution and undervalued agriculture. Since industrial-styled labor tends to reap little harvest, the people naturally did not have as much food as they would have if they had maintained a large food-growing industry. On top of that, China experienced its pro-natal policies in the 1950s, leading to an increase in the population. More people and less food can understandably lead to shortage. Unfortunately, sometimes in history, horrible disasters like this huge famine take place before people learn what not to do. Now, there was also drought occurring in China in 1960 and 1961, which did not help the food issue, but that was not the only cause of the massive amount of starvation.
Even today, it is lamentable how many people are not food secure. According to the image on the top right, the percentage of the world’s population from 2014 to 2016 who were undernourished is 11%. For me, after living in the United States and being so regularly and plentifully nourished, to think that more than 1 in 10 people are undernourished seems high and abnormal. In such a global age, we could, as humans, work together so much more than we currently do, in order to help those who are in need. Many people have so much excess in the United States while others in the same cities are very poor. Poverty cannot always and completely be blamed on the rich, but if people who have a large surplus of goods do not give to those who cannot easily attain those goods, then reducing poverty is probably quite harder than if they did help. And if they do not even share out of their surplus with their starving, unclothed, neighbors, how are they going to help people across the globe who need the same resources? What if people were less selfish? What if governments did not make clearly stupid decisions that end up harming their own nation or others? There are so many questions like this that can be asked, but until people do the right thing, people will continue to suffer. Even if everyone made the right decision, I believe that there would still be suffering. However, catastrophes as huge as these famines and the grand, current, food-insecurity crises that exist around the world should be intolerable to us. Humanity should not have so much apathy toward huge issues such as these, but people also have to be able to learn about said issues in order to be sympathetic for them, which is one reason why it is very important that those with power not shush the cry of the poor.
(I found outside information from an article titled “China’s great famine: 40 years later” by Vaclav Smil, distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, posted on the webpage of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Smil, Vaclav. “China’s Great Famine: 40 Years Later.” BMJ : British Medical Journal. British Medical Journal, 18 Dec. 1999. Web. 16 Oct. 2016. .)
Excellent discussion, very nicely done.
India and China account for more than half of the total Asian population. Additionally, only thirty percent of the land area holds sixty percent of the population. That’s a lot of mouths to feed in a very small area. The agricultural climate in both countries makes it difficult to combat famine before it happens and even more difficult to handle it once it does occur.
The Indian Famine Codes of 1883 worked to set up a system to detect impending famine and make the probability of famine less likely. The Codes put three separate classifications in place: near scarcity, scarcity, and famine. For each level on the Indian Famine Codes there were different steps put in place to ensure the crisis didn’t continue to get worse. One step, in particular, demanded that surrounding regions not in danger of famine would give rations of food to close regions that were. This wasn’t very successful, however, because no one actually wanted to give up any food for fear of reaching famine themselves.
China has gone through a series of famines, but most notably is the “Three Bitter Years” or the Great Chinese Famine of 1959 to 1961. With different droughts and floods affecting their agriculture, mismanagement of food, and pests making everything worse, these three years saw incredibly difficulty for the Chinese population. Conservatively, at least 15 million people died but it could be as high as 45 million people, with a birth deficit of 36 million people.
When famine comes, so does disease and poverty. With China and India both boasting incredible populations, one way to reduce the number of hungry people is to reduce the number of people in general. As populations grew both countries enacted anti-natal policies to combat the rising population.
During the Three Bitter Years in China many babies and families had died from starvation and related causes. This caused a rapid population growth during the 1970s when there was a total fertility rate of 5.7. In 1972 China declared that each family could have no more than two children, and then they later reduced it to one child in 1980, although this policy no longer stands. They also put a huge emphasis on more education for women, made modern contraceptives and abortions more accessible, increased the legal marriage age, and there was strong social pressure to not have as many children. While some of these policies were more successful than others, the total fertility rate is now less than 2.
India enacted their first family planning program in 1951 after the 1950 census. They had some less than ideal programs in the 1970s—such as Indira Gandhi’s sterilization program—but since the 1980s they have put regional programs into place. While increasing the marriage age and emphasizing female education, India also enacted a dowry provision program. If girls from poorer families stayed in school until a certain age, they would be provided with a dowry, which their family likely couldn’t afford. This kept more young girls in school and also allowed them better opportunities for marriage. In 2012, India’s total fertility rate was down to 2.5.
By keeping population down, there is a lesser chance of famine in these regions. The land they live on can only produce so much food, and when the population demand exceeds the supply, famine is inevitable.
I am submitting these posts at 8:00PM Central Time, however it is appearing as 1:00AM for the next day. I believe this is because the account I am logged into was used during a study abroad trip in Europe and is on international time.
Good discussion, don’t worry about the time stamps.
With the two largest populations in the world, it would follow that China and India have a history of struggling to feed their people at times. Though there are slightly different causes in the two countries’ major famines, the root is largely a population issue and an issue with farming cash crops instead of staples.
In China, while famine was sadly fairly common, the undoubtedly worst was the Great Famine, also known as the “Three Bitter Years”, in 1958 to 1961. A large contributing factor aside from just the population, was the Chinese propaganda proposing to kill songbirds because they were a pest to chinese crops. This then evolved into the Four Pests campaign, proposing to kill the mosquitoes, flies, rats, and sparrows. This quickly backfired. While these animals were pests, they were keeping the insects at bay- especially the sparrows which Mao had fought hardest against. This led the largest famine in China’s history, as insects quickly ate almost all of the grain farmers could produce. An estimated 30 million people died from the famine in those three years, with an additional 36 million birth deficit. The Great Famine was definitely not the first of China either, which has an extensive history of issues feeding the population. Food scarcity is a major issue in China, although there have been no famines since the Great Famine over 50 years ago. Many families now simply do subsistence farming with a small garden in their back yard, and perhaps a pig for protein. More recently, an issue is the water shortages, with nearly 60 percent of China’s groundwater reported as heavily polluted. With advances in water purifying, though, this can hopefully be remedied soon.
Famine is also a large problem in India, historically and recently. With British control over India, famine was rampant through the country. In the region of Bengal in India in 1769 there was a major drought, which led to a shortage in crops and nearly 10 million people – a third of the area’s population at the time – dying of starvation. Those numbers are terrible even by today’s standards, let alone almost 250 years ago. The next year there was luckily a major rainfall and the population was able to recover. Then, in 1943 in the province of Bengal, famine struck again. While most of India’s famines before could be blamed on natural disasters such as drought or monsoons, this was clearly man-made. Burma was a large rice-exporter to the Bengal province, especially with low yields during the early 1940s in India. In 1942, though, Japan seized Burma and ended the rice flow to the Bengal province and led to a huge rise in the price of rice. An estimated three million people died in the province, which also consisted of nearly 30 percent of the area’s laborer class. India has always had an issue with famine, especially during British control.
Famine has always been a problem for China and India, due largely to their large populations and the intensity of natural disasters in Asia. With advances in agricultural technology, hopefully progress can be made soon.
Asian countries, particularly those with the highest world populations such as India and China, have always had problems in regards to mass famine. In fact, over the past 100 years, the two countries have had 3-4 mass famines each that wiped out millions of people by official numbers, but it is known that these numbers are much higher due to the number of unrecorded deaths. Lack of food is a very real problem that continues today in these countries, although efforts to stop mass famines have been quite successful.
Famine problems in India and China stem from a number of things, but primarily overpopulation. These countries are so overpopulated that they have had to institute policies on the number of children that families were allowed to have. For example, China created a policy in the 1970’s after multiple famines, that restricted families to only two children. The government even penalized its own people for not complying with these new regulations. China did this many times and many other countries took after them as well. This was an attempt to regulate and stabilize the populations in hopes of gaining control of food crises. By controlling the population, the government could control the likelihood of famine through food distribution.
There are a few countries that did the opposite and instead incentivized having children through the payment of dowries, of education, of bills, and much more. However, when the population boomed and created a famine in that country, the government realized their mistake. Population regulation is essential in every country, but especially countries prone to famine both through human and natural disaster.
Nowadays, famines are essentially nonexistent in these countries. China has food security through stable agriculture techniques as well as being a major player in imports and exports worldwide, so they never have to worry about a true food shortage again. The Green Revolution of the 1960’s introduced high yield crops to the regions in order to increase food production. The Green Revolution attempted to combat famine and the overall possibility for it by introducing not only these high yield crops, but by also introducing agriculture techniques such as adding pesticides. However, this had a negative effect as the obvious harm that pesticides cause. New agricultural techniques also required more power, so larger animals were brought in to cultivate these crops which also created the issue of production for animal feed and biofuels. It seems that to get rid of one problem is to create even more. India has also reduced their famine likelihood; however, their issue now is malnutrition since much of the food the poor is getting is just empty carbs to fill the stomach and not much of nutritional value.
Good discussion, but a little brief.
The pictures and statistical data shown in this blog bring two important issues to mind: the extremely harmful nature of government policies that encourage or force an increased birth rate, or pro-natal policies, as well as the vital role international communities now play in hunger prevention and famine relief.
China displayed a 180 degree shift regarding child birth rate policies during the 20th century. Families were mandated to increase their number of children in the years following the Communist Revolution; Mao Zedong believed that amassing an army of huge numbers would allow China to protect itself from more technologically advanced combatants. He did not foresee food shortages being a future problem because he believed that he would be creating a labor force capable of feeding itself. He famously remarked that “every mouth has two hands”. Nonetheless, droughts caused terrible famines in 1959-1962 that killed millions of Chinese citizens. We do not have an exact statistic on the number of people who died of undernutrition during these because of the Chinese governments repression of this information; it is likely that Chinese government was intentionally negligent in collecting this data as well.
During the 1970s, China developed radically different natal policies that now sought to decrease the birth rate. These policies included measures meant to encourage post=poning the marriage age, providing free contraceptives and abortions, creating environments pervaded by strong peer pressure, allowing women to attain higher levels of education, and for creating a social safety net. In addition to these rewards for compliance were penalties for non-compliance, which included that loss of promotions and even coerced sterilization.
India has also had a history of of using sterilization as part of its anti-natal policies. India has suffered a number of devastating famines, including the Bengal Famine of 1943. Causing anywhere from 1.5 to 4 million deaths, the famine as well as the ongoing food scarcity and high numbers of underweight and anemic women and children in India that has caused the government to institute anti-natal policies. The country has instituted these policies in a manner that allows for regional self-determination within a framework of quotas for voluntary sterilization, which has led to the targeting of specific social groups. Some regions have additionally offered incentives for opting to sterilize, such as radios and TV sets. In addition to anti-natal policies, India has enacted the “green revolution” as a means of combating hunger. Policies of the green revolution include the introduction of high yield crops, particularly rice and wheat in India, in order to increase food production. The green revolution has only been moderately successful, however, and many point to a number of environmental, social and nutritional problems that persist in India. These problems include the high energy consumption required by the cultivation of thee crops, the high rates of pesticide and fertilizer use, and the loss of subsistence and labor employment. Despite these changes, the 2016 Global Hunger Index Score for India is 28.5, a figure that is considered “serious.” Hopefully international organizations and communities devoted to ending world hunger and food scarcity, such as the UN’s World Food Programme, will be able to help bridge the gap for the people of India.
Excellent discussion, especially the discussion of the green revolution.
Famine in India and China has cost the lives of many throughout history. Recently in 1958, the Great Chinese Famine killed approximately 43 million people by 1962, largely due to poorly implemented tactics of the “Great Leap Forward.” Furthermore, current statistics on hunger within both nations are alarmingly high. According to a 2015 UN report, there are about 194.6 million people that are malnourished. Similarly in China, according to the Association for Asia Research concluded that there were some 30 million starving people. Many of these people starve to death due to sanitation issues and other food security issues. Although GDP has rapidly increased in both nations in recent years, there is a significant issue of inequity associated with such growth, particularly in relation to food security.
It is important to understand how corporate globalization has increased inequity in Asia, despite an overall decrease in poverty statistically. A majority of the multifaceted food security issues that have arisen may largely be attributed to poor agricultural practices using cash crops. For example in India, the Green Revolution left traumatic effects. In 1965, the United States leveraged import needs of India to coerce a change in Indian agricultural practices to use new seeds and chemicals. Such expectations were placed in order to commercialize agriculture and be more dependent on purchases would create a capitalist alternative to the spread of Communism. The results of this “Green Revolution,” were traumatic for the state of Punjab: populaces were displaced at extremely high rates (which contributed to widespread internal violent conflict in the late 1970s), farmers were put into debt, the land was destroyed (largely from a lack of biodiversity), and perhaps most tragically of all was an alarmingly high suicide rate. Subsistence farming has nearly been eradicated as a result of corporate globalization, arguably the most sustainable practice for providing sufficient nutrients for one’s family. Nonetheless, the argument is still made that the spread of capitalism through globalization have enabled poor nations to make successful reaches out of poverty. Moreover, food scarcity issues may be the largest contributor to violent social and political conflicts. Many of these issues turn violent and political as groups become radicalized in effort to feed their families and meet their basic needs. Furthermore, these governments have done inadequate jobs at ensuring that different groups have access to sufficient nutritious food and have not protected their land from corporate influence.
It is very disheartening to see the images above, knowing that our current farms in fact produce enough food to adequately feed everyone on the planet. There should be a greater push by the international community on big corporations to be more responsible in their food production. Moreover, that push should extend towards the governments of those nations to make better strides towards ensuring adequate distribution of food.
Really noice discussion of the Punjab and the Green Revolution.
One of the biggest issues in Asia is the rapid population growth, which is causing all sorts of problems such as an inevitable population food crisis. According to Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich each year food fabrication in these countries decreases a little additional behind burgeoning population growth. Population growth in Asia is creating a mass starvation for the people because of the lack of food resources to feed everyone. It creates a social problem as well. For example, the high classes in society, which are rich, become richer through this famine, and the lower classes in society, which are the poor, become poorer. And the numbers of this population growth keeps increasing and increasing at a very fast pace. According to research it doubles once every thousand years or so. In 1850, the number reached to a billion people, which meant that it doubled in 200 years.
India was affected by a famine in 1876 and it lasted until 1878. It was named The Great Famine of 1876-1878. It affected any regions inside of India specifically in the south and southwestern parts for about two years. The scarcity spread during the second year to the Central Provinces and the North-Western Provinces. About 5.5 million people died. According to researchers, the famine also caused drought, which caused many other problems for the country. The British at the time were very involved in India, but to many it felt like the British did not help during this famine. According to researchers, during this scarcity, “the British continued to export record tons of food from India, tried to spend as little as possible (which was official policy) and perhaps most disturbingly, Lord Lytton, the Viceroy, held a grand banquet for 60,000 people, in honor of Queen Victoria’s coronation.” However. At one point they did try to provide some help, which helped many. Yet, millions died “until finally the British, after one last famine in 1943, finally left this country.”
In China, 10 years after the communist party took over in 1949, “promising to serve the people, the greatest manmade disaster in history stalks an already impoverished land.” In Henan, more than a million people died because of starvation and it was over a three-year period. According to the guardian, Chinese children would beg officials for food, but were not given any. When the children died the officials would drag them to the mountains to bury them. It’s such a sad thing to read about this sort of torture, when all they wanted was a small amount of food. According to the guardian, some Chinese people were so hungry they would eat and kill other people, which made me question if this was real. The great famine remains a great taboo for China. Yang a Chinese man published his story on the guardian about this famine, but it was banned from China because of the entire honor contained in it. It also was banned because of the harsh reality so many people had to face at the time. Yang said “I didn’t think it would be so serious and so brutal and so bloody. I didn’t know that there were thousands of cases of cannibalism. I didn’t know about farmers who were beaten to death.” It’s very sad to see how countries can fail at people their own people and how at times it leads to so much for devastation.
The word ‘famine’ brings to mind images of children begging for food, people that appear to be only skin and bones, and utter despair on the faces of those photographed. Unfortunately, this was not some scheme to take your money, but a very real and serious issue for the people of India and China during the late 1800s and mid-1900s. I have never been someone who was very aware of what was happening around the world and as much as I love history there is only so much I can ever remember from any of the classes I have taken. I do remember learning about the great famines of India and China but never in debt and it all seemed to boil down to just simply not having enough food. However, I know now that there is never a simple answer and that there were many, many more factors that caused the famines.
In India the famine I most remember is The Great Famine of 1876-1877. When I learned of this the first time I was simply told that there just was not enough food to support everyone, but it was never specified how there was not enough food. I just assumed it was an overpopulation issue, too many people and not enough farmers. This was not necessarily the case. The biggest cause of this famine is believed to be from the lack of the monsoon winds that hit India in their spring months. These winds bring the necessary water for the crops and without the monsoon winds there was a widespread drought. The drought was not the only issue, a good percentage of the food grown at the time were cash crops that were used solely for profit and not for consumption. This was an issue that influenced the famines that India had the next few decades as well.
China has had its fair share of famines as well. The worst one was The Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 and is known as “Three Bitter Years”. This famine was caused by droughts, floods, mismanagement, and the four pests campaign. With this famine I believe the biggest underlying cause was a huge population boom caused by the pro-natal policies in the early 1950s. China wanted more military power to outnumber Russia but clearly the consequences were not well thought out. Suddenly China found itself with more people than it could feed, hence the beginning of the mismanagement issue. Flooding and droughts affect the crops as would be expected but the most interesting information to me is about the Four Pests Campaign. The people believed that the rats and birds were eating their crops and so they set out to exterminate as many as possible which in turn significantly increased the insect population and suddenly crops were swarmed by an overwhelming about of insects. This particular famine killed an estimated 15-45 million people, the worst in Chinese history. Since this time the population has stabilized and there have not been any more famines.
While famines can be directly related to overpopulation there are so many more factors that influence the severity and length of the famine. These factors can be things such as floods and droughts or human activity and decisions such as producing cash crops or using a single strand of grain or corn and hoping nothing will come wipe it out.
Historically and currently, China and India are among the most famine tested countries is the world. Just about anybody would argue that this correlates with China and India being among the most populated countries in today’s world. Both countries struggle to maintain these large populations and endure pain to keep the people all nourished properly along with the other societal complications that come with having a massive population.
For India, some of their famines were caused by monsoon timing and quality, others were caused by British administrative policies, and some due to overpopulation. Regardless, famine has been something that has cycled through India multiple times. The worst of the famines being the Great Famine of 1876-1877 where the monsoon did not bring the rain necessary to produce the amount of crops needed to provide for the already overly large population. With China the 3 “bitter years” or the Great Famine 1958-61 is the most historic famine when stacked up with the others they have faced. During the great famine there were the four pests that were terrorizing the country, along with different agricultural problems such as flooding and drought. These major famines were very bad, resulting in tens of millions of deaths. The Chinese government was also not very caring about the issue and suppressed the statistics regarding the Great Famine because they figured that the massive population would be able to sustain for themselves. You would think that these problems, through learning over time and human evolution, would be easily manageable so that during current day society these widespread famines would not erupt. Unfortunately, as shown by the charts shown above in the pictures, this is not the case.
Both countries, as results of their over-population issues induced antenatal policies to combat the birthrates. For instance, China created the five main societal changes: higher marriage age, higher women’s education, free abortions, social safety nets, and strong peer pressure. There were also disincentives to not following the new societal implements. India, like China, implemented a family planning program to also try and create some societal changes. As for the food shortages, the Green Revolution took hold of southeast Asia and the production of high yield crops took over the agricultural world. Rice was the main product for China, and along with the rice, wheat was produced in large quantities in India. The green revolution was successful in helping to provide food for the overpopulated countries. But, however successful the green revolution was there were certainly drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks of the green revolution include soil degradation, fertilizer costs, and industrial equipment that small farmers were unable to afford.
As of the current day, we can see from the images above that the people of India and China were and still are struggling from famine at very high rates (around 15.2% of the total population in India and around 9.3% in China). With today’s advancements in technology one would think that this food dispersion issue would not be nearly as big of a problem. I think the problem today lies with people in general just not caring enough about this issue and turning a blind eye to it, not just in Asia, but in every part of the globe. The images of the people in these pictures show that these people aren’t just simply what we Americans would call “underweight”, these people are on the brink of starvation. The technology to end this problem is 100% here, it is now just a matter of doing the massive amount of work to end it.
Good outside sources
Hunger, malnourishment, and starvation is an unfortunate, devastating reality that exists for millions of people around the world, even today. Food security in India and China is especially a problem for the majority of its inhabitants. What is worse is when the countries’ food insecurity is exacerbated by famine.
China has had three major famines since 1928. The famine in 1928-1930 that was created by drought then made worse by civil war leaving two to three million people dead. The one in 1942-1943 was created because of drought, war, and flooding ending with two to three million dead and more than four million refugees. The worst famine was called the Great Chinese Famine and lasted for three years from 1959-1961. More than forty-five million people died and China experienced a birth defect of 36 million. The bare facts of the Great Famine does not capture the horrific things that occurred during this time. People died of starvation, with emaciated bodies, people died for reporting too much of a harvest, children were dragged to the middle of nowhere to die, cannibalism was widespread, and even more terrible happenings occurred.
In the 1980s, China’s food supply was stabilized by agricultural surplus and anti-natal policies. China had fertile soil and a moderate climate which allowed multiple crops per year to grow, especially in the southeastern regions. Anti-natal policies such as postponing the marriage age, having free contraception and abortions, encouraging higher levels of education – especially in women, and having a social safety net for the elderly along with penalties for non-compliance helped the population growth to slow down. During the 2000s there were a few instances of water shortages and grain production decreases. However, currently China is projected to reach the goal of decreasing the proportion of undernourished people in half by 2015 which was determined at the World Food Summit in the mid-1990s.
India has had better luck than China in respect to the number of famines it has experienced in recent history. The major famine that hit India was the Great Famine of 1876-1877. The monsoons arrived late which led to problems with the crop production of that season; and, the commodification of grain production caused fewer farmers to grow enough food to support their families. Although labor and charitable relief attempted to help, the death toll was about five and a half million men, women, and children. Diseases like malaria and the plague were prevalent and contributed to the high mortality rate.
In response to this tragedy, the Indian Famine codes were enacted in 1883. It labelled each region as being near scarce, scarce, or in famine conditions. The idea was to move food from non-scarce regions to near-scarce ones, thus eliminating famine in all the regions. This was a good idea in theory, however human greed got in the way as those areas which were not scarce did not want to give their food away, especially as it put them closer to a scarcer condition. More recently, India was not projected to reach the goal of halving the undernourished population by 2015 – but did not digress as did some other countries in Western Asia.
As these two countries make up more than a third of the world’s population, having a high percentage of undernourished and malnourished, and even starving, people is a serious issue. Food insecurity and scarcity is one of (if not the) leading killer in developing countries, and should be, at least in my opinion, something that the world should be trying to fix, not leaving countries in the dust with their populations starving.
I also do not know why it is saying I posted my comments at 3 a.m. It is currently evening on the 22nd where I am.
Famine in India and China has been a huge problem in the past and is more common today than we might think. As far as the issues in the past there have been very substantial famines through history that have allowed us to not only learn, but find a way to make things better in the future. The pro-natal policies in China created a massive famine in the early sixties. The Chinese wanted to increase development and develop more security so they implemented the policies to grow more numbers in order to defend themselves against the Soviets. The great Chinese famine was “three bitter years” caused by drought, floods, collectivization, mismanagement, and quotas. This gave rise to the four pests campaign. The four pests campaign was where the amount of wheat and rice eaten by mice, rats, and song birds was detrimental to the population so ads were ran with kids eliminating flies, mosquitos, sparrows, and rats. This was not the first of the famines in China. In 1928-1930 drought and civil war caused between two and three million people to die in Gansu, Henan, and Shaanxi.
In India, the Great Famine of 1867-1877 was caused by a late monsoon and commodification of grain production. More than 5.5 million died of starvation and disease. In India the monsoon is essential to agriculture in India. Without it there is no seasonal rain to give rise to the crops that are needed to support the large population in the country. This gave rise to the Indian famine codes. The British wrote these codes in 1883 in response to the famine during it occupation of India. The codes laid out food insecurity levels that were given during times of famine: near scarcity, scarcity, and famine. Even after instilling these codes, famines have continued to persist. A lot of times this is because the government will not address the problem until it is famine level and there is less to be done. The Bengal Famine for instance was one case in which the government failed to declare famine to secure a response. Even though there is a system put into place to prevent disasters like famines, if they are not followed correctly it is useless.
Food scarcity is the main problem in famines, but we have been at a level of food security since 1947. The Green Revolution gave rise to a new era of agriculture practices. The use of pesticides, fertilizer, and disease resistant crops lead to an increase in the calorie per acre of agriculture produced. The Green Revolution forever changed the way agriculture is grown. Crops are now able to grow in places that never would have yielded crops before. Because of irrigation places that didn’t have enough water to sustain crops now have water moved in. Even though there are many perks to the Green Revolution, it is not without its criticism. One is that with the increase in food production comes the over population of areas that weren’t as populated before. Despite this, there is no denying that since the start of the Green Revolution there have not been food scarcity problems since.
Both China and India have had major problems in feeding their own population. China and India make up 35% of the world’s population. Together they have a total population of 2.5 billion people. While China only has .5% net increase in population (6.6 millions), India has a 1.6% net increase population (20.3 million). Therefore India will double it’s population in 43 years compared to China who will do it in approximately 140 years. Because of their massive amount of people and little agricultural land available, both China and India have had big famines.
In the 1950’s China implemented pro-natal policies to increase the birth rate. China wanted to increase it’s population rapidly for economic growth and military power against Russia. As the population grew China had a harder time feeding all of it’s population. This was because of many factors that came into play, but one of the biggest ones was intensive subsistence. Farmers used mixed farming on their land to try to make more money. They grew subsistence plus a cash crop. Examples of cash crops are cocoa, coffee, tea, and rubber. This was one way China attempted to better their economy. Another way China wished to improve their economy was through the production of steel. The government encouraged people to focus more on steel production to compete with Russia and the United States. As a result of both these things, The Great Chinese Famine occurred between 1959 and 1961. The famine was also known as the “Three Bitter Years”. But Mixed farming and steel production weren’t the only reason the famine occurred. Droughts, floods, collectivization, mismanagement, quotas, and the four pest campaign all added to the food famine. 15 million people died as a result of the famine. After the famine, China implement anti-natal policies to decrease the birth rate. The Green Revolution also helped China become more effective in food production and established an agricultural surplus stabilizing the food supply in the 1980s. Since then, China has never had another famine occur.
India has also had famines in the past. The Great Famine of 1876-1877 killed 5.5 million people. The famine was a result of a late monsoon and commodification of grain production. Monsoon winds bring water that is necessary to grow the crops. Due to the late monsoon India experienced a drought which led to crop failure. India’s famine was not as deadly as China’s because of labor relief and charitable relief. At the time, India was a British colony so they received some help from the British. But even with the British’s help, millions of people still died in India. Like China, India has balanced it’s food production with the use of anit-natal policies and the Green Revolution. Both India and China also have large productions of cash crops. India had several more famines in the following years due to farmers producing more cash crops than food subsistence. Today Indian exports more than $1 billion dollars of agriculture a year. It’s astonishing to see how a country like India that is heavily malnourish still exports the massive amount that it does.
Good summary of the problems.
China and India have enormous populations. Food security has always been a concern and can be upset by any factor that goes wrong. For centuries, China’s agriculture has relied on predictable flooding of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. When these floods are early, late, more, or less than expected, agricultural problems arise that lead directly to food scarcity. India similarly relies on its monsoons to be on time and not too much/ too little.
China’s problems in food scarcity have been due mostly to inequity. China is a huge country, with a huge population of around 1.3 billion. Unfortunately only 10% of its land is usable for farming. Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward created a host of problems in agriculture and food distribution. The famous Four Pests campaign ravaged agricultural yields; no one realized that eradicating sparrows would let harmful insects flourish. Farms were collectivized, resulting in inefficient production and distribution of agricultural products. Much agricultural land and labor went to waste as farmers were taken from their lands to work in the growing industrial sector. Food distribution to the general population was completely mishandled in this communist state where the government was supposed to provide all. The agricultural aspect of the Great Leap Forward was just an overall disaster. It led directly to China’s Great famine, in which 20-45 million people died of starvation.
Famine in India has historically been caused by unfavorable weather conditions. However, during the British rule of the 1800’s, these were exacerbated by economic/social conditions. Food was not transported properly, and peasant farmers had no money to buy it anyway. They were the producers of food, but their money went to their landlords and the crops were exported. The British invested no money in either infrastructure or famine relief, and a sizable amount of the population died during late 1800’s famines. Today India has the similarly incongruous problem of being a net exporter but having a mostly undernourished population. Sadly, it is the rich who can afford land and inputs that grow the food. They then ship most of it away to parties who can afford it, rather than helping those suffering at home.
Population problems usually go hand in hand with food scarcity. This has certainly been the case in China and India, China’s problems growing as the population did during the Great Leap Forward. The logical consequence of population problems is government antinatal policies, which in the case of both China and India involves increasing female education. Convincing girls to stay in school longer helps to control population by postponing their marriage. Increased awareness and availability of contraceptives have been effective as well. Antinatal policies have involved rules, incentives, and disincentives in China and India. China’s population growth is at a much more manageable level now, and these policies have been abandoned. They even have a gender imbalance and need to up their female population, unlike India, where female infanticide is more common than it ever was in China. Poverty and overpopulation have sad, sad consequences. There are a lot of causes that one can take up (the environment, animals, etc), but that of our fellow humans should be the primary one. I hope no one ever forgets the value of humanitarian work.
India and China are two of the most populated countries in the world. With such high populations, they are bound to have a high population of people undernourished. India has around 191 million people who aren’t fed enough, while China is around 151 million. A lot of these people look like the ones in the pictures. They are extremely skinny, almost skin and bones, and they look deathly sick. I have seen many babies in my life and that baby in the top left picture is a scary sight. It amazes that it is still alive after all the time it has lived without food. These people have been affected by famine for a long time.
China has had multiple major famines since 1928, with the worst being the Great Chinese Famine in 1959 through 1961. This was caused by natural disasters: the flooding of the Yellow River, droughts, and typhoons. These all ruined the crops, but the mismanagement of the people also had a major impact. The Great Leap Forward caused an imbalance of the work toward crops, leaving a lot of crops in the field or a lot of land not used. In the early 1950s, there was a major increase in population, so when these natural disasters hit, many people were without food. From 1958 to 1964, the government took around thirty percent of the crops grown in China. All of these problems not only caused famine during the late 1950s and early 1960s, but they also caused famines for the rest of the century.
India’s problems started earlier than China’s. The Great Famine of 1876-1877 was caused by a monsoon and commodification of grain production. It resulted in around 5.5 million deaths. The Indian Famine codes of 1883 were caused by the prices being too high. The Bengal Famine was caused by the local government. I think that India’s problems were caused more by the government than the over population that China had. Britain rule over India in the late 1800s and shipped thousands of tons of food out of India. Also, many lands were used for cash crops that were also sent out of the country. Lord Edward Lytton was the Viceroy of India at the time and he was a Social Darwinist. He believed that the strongest in society survived and the weakest die. He used this philosophy to make the people of India starve by sending out more crops. He thought he was helping society if the Indian people were weeded out.
Although both of these populous countries experienced a number of famines, I think they were caused by different things. China’s population combined with natural disasters created a food shortage. India had the food necessary to avoid famine, but the government was more interested in making money than feeding its people. These problems of famine have carried over to today. In the top right hand picture of the blog, it says that 15.2 percent of people, 194.6 million, are undernourished in India, and 9.3 percent, or 133.8 million people, are undernourished in China. Both of these countries need help in solving this issue to make their people look and feel healthier. It is not good for a country to have citizens looking like those in these pictures. I have never seen anything like them. I feel for these people and hope that their lives improve soon.
@A_G_Moore. “The Great Famine of 1876, India.” Rhythm Prism Publishing. Rhythm Prism, 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
http://facebook.com/alphahistory. “The Great Chinese Famine.” Chinese Revolution. Alpha History, 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
Neurath, Paul. From Malthus to the Club of Rome and Back: Problems of Limits to Growth, Population Control, and Migrations. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1994. Print.
Scott, Noel J. RiggsSteve B. “Top 5 Most Visited Theme Parks in the World.” The Top 5 Countries with the Most Hunger. Noel J. Riggs and Steve B. Scott, 2016. Web. 23 Nov. 2016.
By: Jackson Allen
Very nice, good use of outside sources.