Inside Story

Current affairs & culture from Australia and beyond

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Making famine history?

30 March 2009

With globalised communications and food relief, are we seeing the end of famine? Peter Clarke talks to Cormac Ó Gráda about his new book, Famine: A Short History

Right:

Off-loading tins of cooking oil during the Niger food crisis in 2005. Onome Oghene/EPA

Off-loading tins of cooking oil during the Niger food crisis in 2005. Onome Oghene/EPA


FOR MANY people around the world, especially in developing countries, famine is not an abstract notion. Wars, crop failures, callous urban elites and ruthless dictatorships are the classic causes, but countervailing factors are increasingly at work. Could it be that a true famine is now close to impossible, with globalised communications and relief systems? Is democracy a sure protection from mass starvation? Does the global financial crisis increase the likelihood of famine? spoke to Cormac Ó Gráda, a professor of economic history at University College Dublin and author of Famine: A Short History (to be published in Australia on 1 June), in the grounds of the University of Melbourne last week.

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Mentioned in this podcast

Famine: A Short History, by Cormac Ó Gráda – sample chapter

Thomas Malthus

Niger food crisis, 2005

Darfur

Podcast theme created by Ivan Clarke, Pang Productions.

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