Monday, April 25, 2016

Learning about global inequality and hunger

Today my wife organised a hunger banquet (similar to those designed by Oxfam) for a group of friends. Guests were randomly assigned to one of three groups of people:
1. high income (15% of the world, living on more than $10K per year),
2. medium income (25% of the world, annual family income of $1-10K),
3. low income (60% of the world, less than $3 per day).

The different groups are then served appropriate meals:
1. steak, vegetables, and soft drink
2. rice and beans, water with a purifier
3. one cup of rice each, dirty water

You then discuss the associated feelings and issues, before moving to discussion of (local and global) initiatives we can be involved with to address poverty, hunger, and social injustice.

I found it quite confronting and illustrative. What was striking was, as the host, how much time my wife had to spend preparing and serving the food for the small number of "wealthy" guests. The other guests did not get much attention. This was quite representative of how the global economy is oriented towards to keeping affluent Westerners happy.

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