Famine

Famine Essay

Essay Famine Relief

1825 Words | 8 Pages

to prevent the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa since July 2011, Suzanne Dvorak the chief executive of Save the Children wrote that, “We need to provide help now. But we cannot forget that these children are wasting away in a disaster that we could – and should – have prevented” she added, “The UN estimates that every $1 spent in prevention saves $7 in emergency spending.” (Dvorak, 2011).
Many people who read such statement wonder about our obligation towards famine relief, and ask…

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Irish Famine Essay

1281 Words | 6 Pages

Potato Famine was a period of starvation, disease and emigration, and was known as one of the biggest tragedies from 1845 to 1847. Many people depended on potato crops to survive; however [comma] the potato crops acquired blight, a disease that caused the potatoes to rot while still in the ground. No good crops could be grown for two years [comma] causing Irish tenant farmers unable to pay rent and was forced off their land causing over 21,000 people to die of starvation. The Irish Potato Famine caused…

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Essay on The Great Famine

1754 Words | 8 Pages

The Great Famine

The Great Famine of 1845 lasted for many years in Ireland. During this time, many people of Ireland suffered in numerous ways. In such devastating and dark times “deaths began to mount and tragic horrific scenes ensured all over Ireland: Mass Graves, Corpses gnawed by rats, hunger marches, and roadside deaths” (Kelley 137). In these grey times for Ireland, the country battled many hardships to overcome this era. The Great Famine was historically dated from 1845-1851…

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Irish Potato Famine Essay examples

1633 Words | 7 Pages

nothing. No one was prepared for what was about to happen in 1845, the beginning of the Great Irish Potato Famine.

The Irish Potato Famine was the worst tragedy in the history of Ireland. The outcome of the famine would result in hundreds of thousands dead, an failure of the economy in Ireland, and millions of emigrants forced to leave their home and country just to try to survive. The famine would effect countries other than Ireland as well. Some of these countries included England, America,…

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Essay about From Ireland to America

1190 Words | 5 Pages

(Gavin 7). Kevin Kenny argues that “The Irish immigrants of the famine era were the most disadvantaged the United States had ever seen.” The Irish potato famine was caused by a fungus that caused the potato to rot in the ground. Between the years 1845 and 1850 over one million Irish died of starvation. Another one and a half Irish immigrated to other countries. Since their main source of food was gone they became refugees of the famine. If they had not left they would have died of starvation or diseases…

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The Influences of the Great Famine on the Catholic Church

1273 Words | 5 Pages

The Great famine was a period of starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. Dudley Edwards in the 1950s, stated ‘’it was but a period of greater misery in a prolonged age of suffering’.
Around some 3.3 million people were completely dependent on the potato for survival while almost near up to 4.7 million relied on the root as the main item in their diet. Historian James Donnelly, junior, believes, ‘It was above all the poverty of such a
large segment of the Irish population that…

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The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature Essay

5665 Words | 23 Pages

The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature

Writers often use literature as a means of communicating traumatic events that occur in history, and such events are recorded by first-hand accounts as well as remembered by people far removed from the situation. Two traumatic events in history that are readily found in literature are The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust. A literary medium that has been used quite poignantly to convey trauma is poetry and the poetry from these two…

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The Potato Famine Essay

2687 Words | 11 Pages

Great Hunger of 1845 changed, or more often, destroyed the lives of millions of Irish, causing them to seek refuge from poverty and starvation in other, more prosperous countries. However, not all countries would accept these victims of the Potato Famine. After an immense burst of Irish immigration to Great Britain, the British Parliament began to halt Irish migrants from entering the country. Thus, the only other land promising prosperity, liberty and an abundance of food was the United States. The…

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Great Potato Famine Essay

1525 Words | 7 Pages

The Irish Potato Famine occurred in 1845 and had killed tons of people. Over 750,000 people had died and more than a million had emigrated. At the time Ireland’s population was only about 8 million so this famine had devastated many families. The people of Ireland at this time were so dependent upon the potato that it was a main staple. The Irish would consume the potato with almost every meal, and for some the potato was the only food that they were ever able to eat. The famine was produced by a…

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Peter Singer's Argument in Famine, Affluence and Morality

1500 Words | 6 Pages

This paper explores Peter Singer’s argument, in Famine, Affluence, and Morality, that we have morally required obligations to those in need. The explanation of his argument and conclusion, if accepted, would dictate changes to our lifestyle as well as our conceptions of duty and charity, and would be particularly demanding of the affluent. In response to the central case presented by Singer, John Kekes offers his version, which he labels the and points out some objections. Revisions of the principle…

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Physical and Behavioral Responses to Starvation and Famine in Warsaw Ghetto versus the West African Sahel

4849 Words | 20 Pages

Physical and Behavioral Responses to Starvation and Famine in Two Populations

Introduction
Famine is an event in which food and resources are inaccessible and the majority of a
population is endangered (Shipton, 1990). When applied to starvation this definition is accurate
with one additional idea: starvation is the result of inaccessibility to resources. Many factors
contribute to the progression of famine and the resulting starvation. One of the key factors to
consider is the delineation…

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Essay Microorganisms and the Great Potato Famine in Ireland

843 Words | 4 Pages

has since has a huge impact on helping people across the globe. However, not all is it seems, there are some nasty fungi that can cause diseases in plants, animals and people. A famous one being Phytophthora infestans. This caused the Great Potato Famine in Ireland in the mid 1800’s which resulted in a million deaths. Fungi also ruins almost half of harvested fruits and vegetables yearly.
Fungi can grow to enormous mass if unimpeded, as shown in figure (_) in the appendix. This is known as the humongous…

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The Irish Potato Famine

1505 Words | 6 Pages

Research Paper: Irish Potato Famine

“Beginning in 1845 and lasting for six years, the potato famine killed over a million men, women and children in Ireland and caused another million to flee the country” (The History Place-Introduction). During the 1840s many Irish citizens lived in poverty. For food, the Irish relied almost entirely on potatoes because of their low cost and nutritional value. Then a devastating potato blight began in Europe in 1845 and destroyed the crops every year until 1851…

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Famine, Affluence and Morality by Peter Singer

1486 Words | 6 Pages

In his own essay “Famine, Affluence and Morality”, Peter Singer puts forth some compelling arguments for affluent people to give what they have in excess, to the suffering people of the world. Before any criticism is made, here is the argument:
– There are people suffering and dying from lack of food, shelter and medical care.
– People suffering and dying from lack of food, shelter and medical care is bad.
– If you have the power to prevent something bad from happening without sacrificing 
anything…

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The Irish Potato Famine and Emigration Essay

2147 Words | 9 Pages

The Irish Potato Famine and Emigration

During the Victorian era, England experienced tremendous growth in wealth and industry while Ireland struggled to survive. The reasons for Ireland’s inability to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution are complex, and have been the subject of debate for more than a century. Many English viewed the Irish as stubborn farmers who refused to embrace the new technology. The Irish, however, believed the English had sabotaged their efforts to industrialize…

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The Irish Famine 1845-1849 Essay

3930 Words | 16 Pages

The Irish Famine 1845-1849

“Is ar scáth a chiéle a maireann na daoine”

“It is with each other’s protection that the people live”

From the Fifteenth through to the Nineteenth centuries English
Monarchies and Governments had consistently enacted laws which it
seems were designed to oppress the Irish and suppress and destroy
Irish Trade and manufacturing. In the Penal laws of 1695 which aimed
to destroy Catholicism, Catholics were forbidden from practicing their…

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Peter Singer: Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

1399 Words | 6 Pages

consequentialists. Further, it is important to note that in decision-making, a consequentialist must hold to the demands of impartiality. Consequentialism upholds the idea that no one person is worth more than another (Lillehammer, 2011, p. 90).
As we read in “Famine, Affluence and Morality,” Singer asserts that suffering from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad. If we accept this assumption, and if we can, by our actions, prevent this bad from occurring, we are morally obligated to do so unless in…

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Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

1371 Words | 6 Pages

Famine, Affluence, and Morality

Webster’s English Dictionary defines “morality” as: the conformity to ideals of right human conduct. With this in mind, I wonder who determines right human conduct? Religion aside, there is no literary context that strictly states the rights and wrongs of human behavior. So who decides? Who determines what we ought morally to do and what we are obligated to do as a society? An Australian philosopher, Peter Singer attempts to draw the line between obligation…

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The Great Famine of Ireland Essay

5177 Words | 21 Pages

The Great Famine of Ireland

At the start of 1845, all was well on the island of Ireland. The union with
England gave the over eight million Irish the protection and support of the most powerful
and prosperous nation of the time, as well as offering a strong market for exporting the
more profitable agricultural produce. And the potato, the blessed potato, provided a
cheap, healthy diet for many farmers and laborers. The Irish loved their potatoes. In fact
for two-thirds of the entire population…

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The Great Irish Famine Essay

1578 Words | 7 Pages

The Great Irish Famine

The great famine of Ireland began around the year of 1845, when a deadly fungus reached the crops, leaving thousands of acres of land filled with black rot, and diseased crops (Szabo). This disease has become commonly known as the blight. The blight was a “mysterious disease” that “almost universally affected the potatoes on the island” (Kinealy 31). This suspicious “blight” had traveled to Europe from North America, affecting mostly Ireland (Bloy). The blight turned…

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The Lowell Mills Textile Factories, Dred Scott, The Potato Famine

2487 Words | 10 Pages

go down south.

Potato Famine
The Potato Famine was a shattering event in Ireland around 1845. This Famine was caused by a disease in the potato known as blight. This came with many Irish to starve and get diseases and end up migrating over to the United States and various other places. This changed the population of Ireland drastically. There was over a million Irish that left Ireland during this time period. These Irish that came over from Ireland due to the famine had a lot hard times in store…

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The Worst Famine in Recorded History

1803 Words | 8 Pages

The worst famine in recorded history combined with mass killings of innocent people occurred in Cambodia as the result of the Khmer Rouge’s reign. Stripping their citizens of all modern technologies and practices, as well as killing all ethnic minorities and intellectuals destroyed Cambodian culture. Innocent people were killed on the basis that they may possibly be enemies of the state, although rarely was there evidence proving these millions of Cambodians were enemies at all. From 1975 to 1979…

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Famine, Affluence and Morality

1663 Words | 7 Pages

Singer’s Famine, Affluence, and Morality
Ametra Heard
PHI208
Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Instructor Zummuna Davis
January 14, 2013

Singer’s Famine, Affluence, and Morality
In the Peter Singer’s article “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, he discusses the way that people should take moral in their help toward the support of the Bengal famine crisis. Singer states three obligations that would help the Bengal region through the means of a wealthy person, and those individuals living life on a day…

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British's Government's Intervention during the Great Irish Famine

2417 Words | 10 Pages

The Great Irish Famine happened during the mid-19th century, and was caused by potato blight, which hit Ireland in 1845 (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). It destroyed a big portion of crops so it became “lethal” due to the fact that Ireland was very dependent on potatoes in their everyday meals (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 43). This led to a scarce amount of food and many died from starvation, or other diseases that resulted from the famine (Grada, “Ireland’s Great Famine” 51). In the 1800s…

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Famine Essay

1435 Words | 6 Pages

Famine
Famine can be defined as a temporary failure of food production or distribution systems in a particular region that leads to increased mortality due to starvation and diseases that result from lack of food.
Famine is a very serious crisis that must be solved because famine leads to many hunger-related deaths worldwide. “In 1996 about 849 million people lived in famine, about 35,000 people die each day. A majority were children”. (Clark 148)…

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Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

2027 Words | 9 Pages

“Famine, Affluence, and Morality”

In “Famine, Affluence, and Morality,” Peter Singer is trying to argue that “the way people in relatively affluent countries react to a situation… cannot be justified; indeed,… our moral conceptual scheme needs to be altered and with it, the way of life that has come to be taken for granted in our society”(Singer 230). Peter Singer provides striking examples to show the reader how realistic his arguments are. In this paper, I will briefly give a summary of…

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Relationship between the USSR and Ukraine in the 1930's

519 Words | 2 Pages

guards were brought into the villages to confiscate any hidden grain. Eventually all food from any farmer’s home was taken. When news of the Famine reached the outside world, food supplies were sent from the United States and Britain, however through Stalin, the shipments were denied and new policies from the Soviet Union that denied their part in the famine refused all outside aid were instilled. Stalin refused entry even to journalists, as he feared the media would reveal the Soviet Unions’ crimes…

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Mass Starvation During the Great Irish Famine

1119 Words | 5 Pages

In Ireland, the Great Irish Famine was a time period of mass starvation, disease and emigration that was historically dated from 1845 to 1851. This tragedy left a permanent impact in history to Ireland. I believe that the Irish should be appreciative that British North America is willing to assist them through this rough time period because of the poor circumstances back in their home country, they provided them a place to live a better life, and the people in British North America were accepting…

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Events and Impact of Irish Potato Famine Essay

982 Words | 4 Pages

Events and Impact of Irish Potato Famine.

The Irish farming population have been left counting the cost of the
potato famine which has crippled their harvest and left many starving
to death. The British government must shoulder the blame after an
ineffective, slow and lacklustre effort to support the farmers and
improve conditions.

The famine itself started in September 1845 when leaves on potato
plants turned black and curled, then rotted, seemingly as a result of…

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North Korea Famine Essay

1544 Words | 7 Pages

Korea Famine

Abstract

Famine is the one of the biggest problems in the world. More than 800 million people are suffering from hunger. The people of North Korea suffer from hunger on the level of the notorious Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia famines. They just suffer in silence behind the world media. There are several facts about the North Korea famine. One of the main factors for the North Korea famine is political…

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Potato Famine of 1845 Essay

1609 Words | 7 Pages

dependent on the potato crop, the results of this blight were catastrophic. Britain, who had control over Ireland at this time, did very little to help the now starving and poor Irish. As a result of English disregard towards the Irish during the Potato Famine of 1845, the already fragile relationship between Ireland and England worsened.
When this particular blight, containing the fungus phytophthora infestans, struck the potatoes, it killed the tuber of the plant and potatoes all throughout Ireland began…

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The Fall of the Potato: Causes of the Great Famine Essay

1438 Words | 6 Pages

Fall of the Potato: Causes of the Great Famine

Phythophthora infestans was the lethal fungus that infested Ireland’s potato crop and eventually ruined all of the land it grew on. This time is called the Great Famine and has impacted Ireland due to its destructive extinction of the potato farms which caused disease, extreme poverty, and death.

There are several circumstances to take into consideration when looking at the causes of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland. Due to the great dependence…

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Joseph Stalin and Ukrainian Genocide Commemoration Essay

1488 Words | 6 Pages

Holodomor, Forced Famine
Genocide is the deliberate and organized annihilation of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group of people. The term “genocide” was not used until after 1944, when it was created by a Polish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin, who combined “geno”, meaning race or tribe, with “cide”, which means killing. The Holodomor refers to the famine of the Ukranian people from 1932 to 1933 under the rule of a Josef Stalin. Under his leadership, the Soviet Union persecuted the Ukrainian…

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Famine, Affluence and Morality by Peter Singers

929 Words | 4 Pages

In this essay I will be arguing why a utilitarian could possibly disagree with Peter Singers Argument presented in “Famine, Affluence and Morality.” After reading such an interesting paper I must say as much as I disagreed with Singers viewpoints I almost found it difficult to object them with support. From a utilitarian point of view we are to maximize Happiness by reducing suffering. How can Giving possible make someone unhappy? But as I was thinking a saying came across my mind, “Two steps forward…

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Ethiopia's Dependence on Rain Water and the Derg

651 Words | 3 Pages

the opposite. As a result, they were not able to “supplement their poor income” (Nwaozuz). In all, the collective farming was established the help with the shortage of rainfall but instead it evoked a devastating famine.

All throughout Ethiopia’s history there has never been a famine so disastrous as the one that occurred 1984. Throughout the period of drought and misery a total of eight million people were at risk of starvation. Not only that but in october 1984 the death toll was at two hundred…

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Famine, Affluence and Morality by Pete Singer

1045 Words | 4 Pages

In the article, “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Pete Singer, a Utilitarian, argues that citizens in affluent countries such as the United States have a moral obligation to give up as much as they can for famine relief. Singer’s contention in his article is that the way we morally conduct ourselves ought to be reappraised. (Singer, 230). I Singer’s argument, and in this paper, I will examine the distinction between duty and charity, compare both deontological and consequential theories of ethics…

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The Discovery of America: An Indirect Result of the Crusades

673 Words | 3 Pages

be what it is today if it were not for the societies that have impacted it. The Crusades indirectly contributed to the discovery of the new world. To this day America still imports grain from a trade policy signed of years ago during the Ukrainian Famine.
The discovery of America is all because of the indirect effect from the Crusades. The sacking of Constantinople (1204), which was a result from the Fouth Crusade, resulted in the fatal weakening of the Byzantine Empire from the capture and pillage…

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Joseph Stalin's Forced Famine

878 Words | 4 Pages

killings that made this famine known as genocide. The Kulaks were unable to get of any sort. As many as 25,000 people a day died from starvation. The Soviets would just sit and watch thousands die right before their eyes and they were ordered to do nothing. They would sit there with food all around them terrorizing the Kulaks and would just watch them die. The extermination would continue to go on until every single Kulak had been killed. Stalin’s purpose for this famine was to completely destroy…

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Essay about The Great Potato Famine

1740 Words | 7 Pages

The Great Potato Famine

The Great Potato Famine is characterized as one of the leading disasters in Ireland’s history. It began in the summer of 1845 with the appearance of an unusual disease growing on potato crops throughout various parts of Europe. With the spread of this disease, it soon targeted Ireland consuming the major crop of potatoes. The famine began by this mysterious disease that hit many parts of Europe during 1845. This disease known as the blight was caused by a fungus…

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Irish Potato Famine Essay

1658 Words | 7 Pages

nothing. No one was prepared for what was about to happen in 1845, the beginning of the Great Irish Potato Famine.

The Irish Potato Famine was the worst tragedy in the history of Ireland. The outcome of the famine would result in hundreds of thousands dead, an failure of the economy in Ireland, and millions of emigrants forced to leave their home and country just to try to survive. The famine would effect countries other than Ireland as well. Some of these countries included England, America…

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Canada Recognizes the Global Need to Stop the Famine Essay

572 Words | 3 Pages

Delegation: Canada
Committee: Social, Humanitarian and Cultural
Topic: Famine

Throughout the history of mankind the human race has faced the devastation of famines. Canada recognizes the need for the international community to stop famines from becoming a recurring theme. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Reference Table (the standard used by the UN), famine occurs when three of the following conditions occur: 20 percent of the population has fewer than 2,100 kilocalories…

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Essay on Revival of the Irish Culture

1911 Words | 8 Pages

Ireland during the 1800’s. During this time, the people of Ireland formed the Gaelic League to unify their country, and to give themselves a national identity of where they came from. Due to the persecution of the Catholic Church, the Great Potato Famine, and many forms of persecution from the British, Ireland needed a way to remember their rich cultural history.

Many factors go into making a country transform into a nation. Eoin MacNeill, the first president of the Gaelic League, believed in…

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The Great Ireland Potato Famine Effects Essay

1788 Words | 8 Pages

The Great Ireland Potato Famine Effects

The Great Ireland Potato Famine was a horrible event that had many lasting effects. Some of these effects were starvation, disease, poverty, emigration, and lost traits. These effects plagued mostly western Ireland, but had an overall effect on all of Ireland. Many of the traditional ways of economics and society changed drastically because of the famine. Many people also blamed the British for letting the famine get so bad. These effects will be discussed…

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Essay on Famine in Tibet

1149 Words | 5 Pages

Famine in Tibet

I. CONTEXT
Tibet knew its first famine during 1960-62, as a result of the Chinese invasion of 1950. The food shortage occurred because Chinese colonizers settled massively, increasing the population, and because of the changes imposed on Tibetan traditional agriculture by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.”

Death Roll
Accurate estimations and data about Tibetan victims of the Chinese genocide are hard to find, given that China provides biased information. However, associations…

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Ireland Starves and Lives to Tell: The Effects of the Great Potato Famine

1584 Words | 7 Pages

Ireland Starves and Lives to Tell: The Effects of the Great Potato Famine

“It must be understood that we cannot feed the people” (Kinealy Calamity 75). The mid 1800s in Ireland were characterized by extreme poverty, death, and emigration. The Great Potato Famine, also known as “The Great Hunger,” first hit in 1845; however, its effects lasted into the 1850s and can still be seen today. Prior to the famine, Irish manufacture and trade was controlled and suppressed by British government…

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Essay about Consequentialism: The Global Poor

1203 Words | 5 Pages

people should help the poor. He believes that “if it is within one’s ability to prevent something bad from occurring, and in the process, not sacrifice something of comparable moral good, then one is bound to do it”( “O’Neill vs. Singer: Utilitarian Famine.” ). He believes that everyone has this obligation and responsibility because everyone is of equal stature. So when there is someone in the world that is suffering, whether it be of pain or financial predicaments, and you have the ability to aid that…

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Famine in the Ukraine

1192 Words | 5 Pages

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The 1932-33 famine in Ukraine shocked the nation as one of the worst catastrophes ever inflicted- the death toll amounted between 7-10 million. The famine was also known as the “Holodomor” which means death by starvation. This famine was not like any other, not caused by natural disaster or war. The Holodomor was an artificial and self inflicted famine caused by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet regime. Dekulakization and collectivization…

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Famine, Affluence, and Morality Essay

892 Words | 4 Pages

In the article by Singer, P. (1972) “Famine, affluence, and morality” main argument is that to persuade his readers in what people of wealth and governments should help with famine relief, especially in East Bengal as one example given. Singer is furthermore also mention somewhat of and utilitarianism. Therefore, according to Mosser, K. (2010) “A concise introduction to philosophy” states that the “act utilitarianism applies the idea of utilitarianism to specific acts, emphasizing what moral is…

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The Irish Potato Famine and the Population and Social Trends through 1700-1850

1295 Words | 6 Pages

The Great Irish Potato Famine was during a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration through 1845-1850. According to the journal, “The Context of Migration: The Example of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century” by James H. Johnson, this caused the population of Ireland to decrease 20-25% and it did not stabilize again until the 1930’s. Although there was a potato crop failure in Europe in the 1840’s, one third of the Irish population was dependent on this crop. This was inevitable due to the…

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The Problem of Poverty in Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer

1112 Words | 5 Pages

Peter Singer is often regarded as one of the most productive and influential philosophers of modern times. He is well-known for his discussions of the acute social, economic, and political issues, including poverty and famines. In his “Famine, Affluence, and Morality”, Singer (1972) discusses the problem of poverty and hunger, as well as the way this problem is treated in the developed world. Singer believes that charity is inseparable from morality, and no distinction can be drawn between charity…

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All Famine Essays

  • The Problems With Refugee Detention Camps
  • The Potential for Future Crop Loss
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  • Globalization and Free Trade
  • Literary Techniques Used by Jonathan Swift
  • Xxxx
  • Man Made Disasters
  • The Abrahamic Covenant
  • The Success of Sir Robert Peel’s Irish Policy
  • Disciplined Pluralism
  • “the Hand That Signed the Paper” Analysis
  • About the Author Wang Lung in the Book, The Good Earth
  • Climate and Society of China
  • Duty versus Charity: Why a Distinction is Essential
  • Analysis of Jason and The Golden Fleece
  • Is Genetic Engineering the Answer to Hunger?
  • The Black Death
  • Understanding Jeremiah's Prophecy
  • Critical Analysis of the Challenges Faced by Au in Achieving Continental Unity
  • Using Population Control to Achieve Environmental Sustainability
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Exporting
  • Avoiding a Malthusian Catastrophe
  • To What Extent Was Josef Stalin’s Employment of Collectivisation a Successful Endeavour for the Soviet Economy?
  • The Power of Cleopatra
  • The Black Death Pandemic
  • Hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Astonishing Truth Behind Starvation
  • Thomas Malthus—Section Summary
  • Unit 7-P1, M1
  • The Long-Term Impact of the Black Death on the Medieval Agriculture
  • Political Philosophers
  • To What Extent Had the Ussr Recovered from the Impact of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) by the Time of Stalin’s Death in 1953
  • Gullivers Travels
  • Research Paper Proposal: The Black Death
  • Footballers Wages , Are They Getting Paid Too Much
  • Pollution and Environment Essay – We Must Act Now to Solve the Problem of Overpopulation
  • Comparing the Cultures of The Ik, The Pomo Indians, and The Nayar Society of Southern India
  • “To face the blood and the slaughter” Spartan Society and Values according to Tyrtaeus and Xenophon
  • Reasons for the Downfall of the Manchu Government in 1911
  • The Appeal of Eavan Boland's Poetry
  • Western Media
  • Multiculturalism in America: A Modern Day Interpretation
  • Somalia's Struggle for Power
  • Discuss What Different Theories Suggest About the Disappearance of the Mayans.
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  • Hunger in Ethiopia
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  • Demography and Demographic Transition Phase
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  • Ireland and Irishness.
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  • India Achievement in Agriculture
  • Attila and His Hunnic Empire
  • The Crimean Crisis: History Repeats Itself
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  • Hunger and Obesity are Both Huge Problems
  • Joseph: The Jew who Ruled Egypt
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  • Hitler and Stalin: Their Search for Power
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  • Increasing Population Uncertainty
  • The Call for the Gaelic League
  • The Independence and Isolation of North Korea
  • Dieting Makes People Fat
  • The Benefits of a Multicultural America
  • Irish Immigration To Canada
  • We Can Stop Overpopulation
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Genesis 12:10-20 and the Modern World
  • The Green Revolution Had Many Causes and Consequences from 1945 to the Present. One Cause of the Green Revolution Would Be the Growth of Mechanization and Population. Another Cause Would Be Poor Land Conditions and the
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    What Was Famine?

    The political economy of mass starvation, and why it is largely a thing of the past.
    Author:
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    Eating People Is Wrong, and Other Essays on Famine, Its Past, and Its Future
    Cormac Ó Gráda
    Princeton University Press

    The Irish economist Cormac Ó Gráda has written a rarity: a coolly rational, cautiously cheerful book about the most viscerally upsetting subject imaginable, mass death from hunger. The United Nations defines a famine as a food emergency in which daily child mortality rates reach four per 10,000 children and at least a fifth of the population subsists on fewer than 2,100 calories per day. Two centuries ago, Ó Gráda notes, these conditions “would probably have been the norm” in most of Europe. That is, what would today be called famine was a constant presence in one of the world’s richest regions. Today, for the first time in human history, famine has nearly vanished (though hunger hasn’t). Rather than being a permanent condition, it is almost always temporary.

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    For Ó Gráda, perhaps the world’s expert on the history and economics of famine, now is the time to understand this long-standing terror. He asks: What causes famine? What is the best way to alleviate it—vast government programs that distribute food and punish speculators, or the promotion of free trade, in the belief that merchants will rush in to fill food shortfalls? Does aid, as critics allege, overwhelm local farmers and leave societies less able to cope with crises? Are famines often caused by political decisions? Eating People Is Wrong, a series of five linked essays, is mostly intended to answer these questions.

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    “Mostly” because the first essay—the one that gives the book its title—is an outlier. It is an extended discussion of whether cannibalism has been a feature of famines worldwide or whether it has been restricted to certain areas. Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel , claims that non-Western areas have cannibalized most avidly, because “Westerners abhor cannibalism.” Ó Gráda argues, in effect, that desperation is desperation, and that people in almost all societies have practiced—and excused—cannibalism during famines. To prove Diamond wrong, Ó Gráda recounts many examples of Western cannibalism, all ghastly and most sad beyond imagining. I’m not sure what the point of the essay is, other than flinging a dart at Diamond. Perhaps the intent is to persuade the reader that famine is awful. Color me convinced.

    The rest of this short, crisp book turns to the main themes, devoting special attention to two famines: one in colonial Bengal in 1943-44, and the other during China’s Great Leap Forward in 1959-61. The first of these was little known outside India until 1981, when the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen argued in Poverty and Famines that its two million deaths were due not to an actual lack of food but to misguided government policies. India had plenty of grain at the time, Sen said. But British wartime policies allowed speculators to drive up prices. Meanwhile, the colonial government effectively split the population into two groups, one of which, deemed useful to the fight against Japan, had access to food at subsidized prices and one of which, deemed useless, did not. The first thrived; the second died. In Sen’s phrase, what happened in Bengal was a “boom famine”: starvation amid plenty.

    Sen’s contention that the deaths reflected human choice rather than natural disaster set off a furious, decades-long debate about the Bengal famine—and, by extension, all famines. Ó Gráda’s book, the latest salvo, claims that Sen got it partly right and partly wrong. Using an impressive variety of data, Ó Gráda argues that Bengal did experience a big harvest shortfall that year, but that the massive price increase was not due to plutocrats’ greedy speculation. Instead, most of the deaths were due directly to British policies. Marrying incompetence and bigotry, the colonial government not only blocked outside merchants from sending in grain, but actually requisitioned what rice there was in Bengal for “valuable” war workers in cities, starving the countryside. Belatedly asked by British officials in India for outside aid, Churchill scoffed at “Indians breeding like rabbits and being paid a million a day by us for doing nothing about the war.” Given this kind of leadership, one can’t be surprised that Bengal got no help for far too long.

    Bengal is not alone. It is common in food emergencies to blame hoarders and speculators—the “hardened wretches,” as the Irish famine novelist William Carleton wrote in the 1840s, who greet misery with “extortion and rapacity.” A less inflammatory approach is to ask how, and whether, markets work in famines. Weighing evidence from four famines—two in early modern France, a Finnish famine in 1868, and the famous Irish potato famine of the late 1840s—Ó Gráda finds that data failed “to support the claim that hoarding was more common during the famine than in normal years.”

    Millions died in the Bengal famine of 1943-44 even though India's food production remained high. (Photo: Reuters)

    Millions died in the Bengal famine of 1943-44 even though India's food production remained high. (Photo: Reuters)

    This leads to one of Ó Gráda’s main themes: In nations with functioning markets, famines are rare. When harvest shortfalls occur in these places, prices go up. Some speculators then try to profit unduly by withholding grain, but they are overwhelmed by the number of purveyors outside the famine who want to make a little extra money. New supplies come in; grain prices decline; the famine is alleviated. Governments can help best by giving the poorest enough money to buy food during the interval when prices are high. In sum: Adam Smith got a lot of this right.

    Democracy, too, is important, as is a free press. Ó Gráda devotes much attention to China’s Great Leap Forward of 1959-61, “the greatest famine in recorded history.” It began as an attempt to lift the Chinese economy rapidly to parity with Britain’s and ended with at least 20 million dead and the national economy in ruins. Ó Gráda’s essay is the best—and fairest—short account of this pivotal event that I have encountered. Most Western histories emphasize Mao Zedong’s culpability, which is correspondingly minimized by most Chinese histories. Ó Gráda provides the context. China, he points out, was then one of the world’s poorest nations, with a per capita income that by some measures was less than two percent of that in the United States. The Communist government, afraid of U.S. military intervention, bet on being able to forcibly convert “unproductive” rural laborers into an industrial workforce that could support military expansion. When China lost the gamble, there was no cushion to ease the burden. As lagniappe, Mao had created a state bureaucracy that was fearful of delivering bad news. And there was no free press to present it anyway. The cost of Mao’s self-imposed ignorance was millions of deaths.

    The Great Leap Forward represented a low point. The worst famine in recent decades occurred in Somalia in 2011-12. About a quarter of a million people died—a horrendous total, but nothing like what has happened in the past. By 2013, it was over, though the nation remained beset by poverty and war. Indeed, as Ó Gráda notes, famines are becoming sufficiently short and uncommon that charity organizations that began as emergency famine-relief agencies (Concern Worldwide, Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children) have begun shifting their focus to promoting general development—there’s not enough famine anymore. Even a near-doubling of world grain prices in 2008 did not lead to famine anywhere on Earth.

    At the same time, one must be cautious. Climate change presents, to say the least, the prospect of new difficulties. And hunger and malnutrition are still with us. Ó Gráda’s successors need not fear irrelevancy. There will be need for cool analyses of human suffering for the foreseeable future.

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