How the Other Half Dies

The real reasons for world hunger

9 June 1976

Hunger is not a scourge but a scandal. This is the premise of Susan George's classic study of world hunger. Re-released in 2009 as free online download.

Also available as a paperback in the Susan George Classics boxed set.

Hunger is not a scourge but a scandal. This is the premise of Susan George's classic study of world hunger.

Contrary to popular opinion, malnutrition and starvation are not the result of over-population, of poor climate or lack of cultivatable land. The reason why hunger exists on such a vast scale is because world food supplies are controlled by the rich and powerful for the wealthy consumer. The multinational agribusiness corporations, Western governments with their food 'aid' policies and supposedly neutral multilateral development organizations share responsibility for the fate of the undeveloped countries. Working with local elites, protected by the powerful West, the United States paves the way and is gradually imposing its control over the whole planet.

How the Other Half Dies was written after the World Food Conference in 1974. Yet the needs remain the same and the book's relevance, its ability to shock and its power to enrage have in no measure deminished.

Post-script by Susan George: 2009

Over the years, many readers have asked me if another edition of How the Other Half Dies would ever appear. I had always, until now, had to disappoint them. This was my first book, published in 1976 and it found a large audience in many countries. I believe the approach and the arguments remain valid even though the figures have become dated.

Alas, food and hunger have returned to the top of the international agenda and, yet again, the same tired old technological solutions are proposed. The new twist may be that speculation on food prices has recently replaced speculation on subprime mortgages in the fast-moving capital markets, but essentially everything remains the same, particularly the injustice. As far as capitalism is concerned, food is a commodity like any other. It is not because everyone on earth needs it every day that agribusiness and traders' behaviour will change--quite the contrary. Corporate profits in this sector have skyrocketed since 2007, proving once more that there's nothing like a good crisis for boosting business. Too bad for the millions of people dying for want of land to produce their own food or of money to buy it.

The book has now been scanned and can be downloaded from TNI website. Like all the material on the site, you may freely download this text for individual use; in case of commercial use, kindly contact me.
Susan George

June 1976
Penguin Books (eds.)
ISBN/ISSN: 0-14-022001-1

About the authors

Susan George

Susan George is one of TNI's most renowned fellows for her long-term and ground-breaking analysis of global issues. "How to win the Class War - The Lugano Report II" is the newest of her sixteen widely translated books. She describes her work in a cogent way that has come to define TNI: "The job of the responsible social scientist is first to uncover these forces [of wealth, power and control], to write about them clearly, without jargon... and finally..to take an advocacy position in favour of the disadvantaged, the underdogs, the victims of injustice."