Want amid plenty: The capitalist paradox of hunger and food waste Public Deposited
The issue of want amid plenty, or people going hungry when there is an abundance of food, has long plagued the capitalist society. People have suggested that want amid plenty is a paradox, but this thesis suggests that want amid plenty is a product of food’s status as a commodity. As such, this research addresses the persistence of the idea that want amid plenty is a paradox in the food system in order to understand how agricultural industry’s and food relief organizations’ discourse influences the general public’s understanding of want amid plenty so that we can reveal gaps in discourse and move towards a more just food system. To do this, I ask one overall research question: How might existing discourse enable or prevent the general public’s understanding of want amid plenty? In examining discourse, it appears that the agricultural industry’s response to the 2007-8 food crisis played a major role in allowing the agricultural industry to frame want amid plenty as a paradox. In addition, donations, government funding, and time constraints greatly dictate the way food relief organizations frame want amid plenty, causing many of them to not question food’s status as a commodity. The general public’s understanding of want amid plenty as a product of food’s status as a commodity is the first step in moving towards addressing the root problem. We must also enact stricter policies focused on feeding people, consider viewing food in a different light, such as food as a public good or commons, and define and address want amid plenty at the community scale.