Why food aid?


Why food aid?

edited by Vernon W. Ruttan

Johns Hopkins University Press, c1993

  • : hbk
  • : pbk

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Bibliography: p. 229-267

Includes index



"Food aid", writes Vernon Ruttan, "has been the most popular and the most controversial of United States assistance programs. The feeding of hungry people appeals to the most fundamental humanitarian instincts of the American people. It represents a rational expression of generosity by a nation blessed - or burdened - with surplus food production capacity. While appearing to do good for others, we are also doing good for ourselves - or at least for the producers and handlers of surplus agricultural commodities". In "Why Food Aid?" Ruttan brings together important essays and commentary on food aid policy - focusing on the need, the problems, the options, and the future. Beginning with the now-classic debate between Wilard W. Cochrane and Nobel Laureate Theodore W. Schultz, the book includes work by such as figures as ethicist Peter Singer, political commentator Emma Rothschild, and scholar Hans W. Singer. Also included is the congressional testimony of Raymond Hopkins on reforming food aid in the 1990s. In his introductory and concluding chapters, editor Vrenon Ruttan traces the politics of food aid policy from the passage of the first food aid legislation in 1954 through the Agricultural Development and Trade Act of 1990. Ruttan documents the forces that influenced congressional action and offers a perspective for the 1990s on food aid to developing countries as well as to the former centrally planned economies.

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