El hambre: ¿una tragedia sin causas?

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La niñez es una de las principales víctimas de este fl agelo.

Alberto Maldonado Copello

En reciente informe de la FAO sobre “El estado de la seguridad alimentaria y la nutrición en el mundo” (2018)1, es un extraordinario ejemplo de la riqueza en la generación de datos y la pobreza en la presentación de explicaciones. En buena medida los analistas y columnistas de opinión partidarios del capitalismo se enfocan en las consecuencias pero no se preguntan por las causas.

La propia FAO en la noticia de prensa sobre el informe destaca los siguientes hechos2:

  • Número de personas que sufren hambre en el mundo en 2017: 821 millones, 1 de cada 9 personas
  • en Asia: 515 millones
  • en África: 256,5 millones
  • en América Latina y el Caribe: 39 millones
  • niños menores de 5 años afectados por retraso del crecimiento (altura baja para la edad): 150,8 millones (22,2 por ciento)
  • niños menores de 5 años afectados por emaciación (peso bajo para la altura): 50,5 millones (7,5%)

Colombia contribuye a estas cifras con 3,2 millones de personas que sufren hambre, equivalentes a 6,5%. La supuestamente muy “democrática” Colombia tiene peores resultados que la, tan criticada por el gobierno y los medios de comunicación, “dictadura” cubana, que obtuvo porcentajes similares a los países europeos más desarrollados.

El informe presenta datos para prácticamente todos los países del mundo en un conjunto de variables para los períodos 2004-2006 y 2015-2017, evidenciando un riguroso trabajo de recopilación, organización y procesamiento de información. Pero elude investigar a fondo las causas del hambre y el informe en este aspecto deja a los lectores con bastante apetito. Se enfoca en los factores que pueden agudizar la situación de hambre como los conflictos, la variabilidad y las condiciones extremas del clima, con lo cual parecería que las causas son la violencia o la naturaleza y no se hace mención alguna al sistema económico.

Martín Caparrós en artículo publicado en El Espectador el 16 de septiembre de 2018, no está de acuerdo con la interpretación de la FAO: “las causas principales del hambre no son esas emergencias, climáticas o bélicas. La inmensa mayoría de los hambrientos del mundo no lo son por males transitorios: llevan generaciones y generaciones de alimentarse poco”. Y afirma entonces que “en este mundo no hay escasez de alimentos; hay escasez de dinero para comprarlos”, que “la producción global de alimentos está estructurada para satisfacer a los mercados desarrollados” y que el hambre responde a la estructura del sistema económico global.

Vínculo entre explotación y hambre

Señala que hace tres o cuatro décadas la humanidad fue capaz de producir comida suficiente para todos y sigue siéndolo: “este mundo produce comida que alcanzaría para 12.000 millones de personas; pero también produce casi 1.000 millones de personas que no consiguen comprar esa comida.” El Informe de la FAO es elaborado por una institución compuesta por los gobiernos del mundo en su gran mayoría capitalista, que obviamente no tienen interés alguno en que se establezca un vínculo entre la explotación capitalista y el hambre. Por esto dedican parte de su capacidad intelectual a mirar para otro lado y a esconder las causas. Caparrós va un poco más allá pero se detiene a mitad de camino: ¿por qué hay escasez de dinero para comprar los alimentos? ¿cuáles son esas estructuras económicas globales que hacen que millones de personas no tengan dinero para comprar los alimentos?

Cambios profundos

Cerca de una sexta parte de la población con hambre se encuentra en China continental, país políticamente socialista pero en términos económicos abierto al capitalismo; habría que mirar con especial cuidado el caso de la sociedad china para examinar por qué dentro de su “socialismo” no ha logrado satisfacer la necesidad básica de alimentación. El restante 85% del hambre es hambre capitalista, lo cual no es ningún misterio. El capitalismo se fundamenta en reducir al máximo posible el salario, por una parte, y su tendencia de crecimiento, por la otra, consiste en crear o mantener un enorme ejército industrial de reserva, población desempleada o dedicada a actividades de muy baja productividad, incapaz de competir con la producción capitalista, población que no obtiene ingresos necesarios siquiera para nutrirse bien. A escala mundial se da este fenómeno que se refleja en las cifras presentadas por la FAO. Una de las grandes contradicciones del capitalismo, señalada por Marx hace 150 años, es que al tiempo que crea una extraordinaria riqueza mediante el avance de la capacidad productiva, crea una también extraordinaria pobreza en el otro extremo.

Caparrós señala cómo un país como Argentina, dedicado a producir alimentos, tienen más de dos millones de seres malnutridos; pero son dos millones de malnutridos sin dinero, es decir, tienen necesidades sociales pero no necesidades solventes. Así es el capitalismo. Marx en el tomo III se preguntaba por este tipo de situaciones y exploraba respuestas: “¿cómo explicarse que no haya demanda de esas mismas mercancías de que carece la masa del pueblo y que sea necesario buscarles salida en el extranjero, en mercados lejanos…3?

Ni la FAO ni Caparrós van al fondo del problema. Dice la FAO “Si queremos alcanzar un mundo sin hambre y malnutrición en cualquiera de sus formas para 2030 es imperativo que aceleremos y ampliemos las medidas para fortalecer la resiliencia y la capacidad de adaptación de los sistemas alimentarios y los medios de subsistencia de la población en respuesta a la variabilidad climática y los fenómenos meteorológicos extremos”. Caparrós por su parte critica las soluciones asistenciales y plantea “los cambios necesarios para que todos los hombres y mujeres y chicos del mundo coman lo que necesitan son varios y profundos, pero dependen de uno solo: que su hambre nos importe.” ¿Nos importe a quiénes? Todo parecería indicar que es un llamado a los propios gobiernos capitalistas.

El hambre, es un rasgo inherente al capitalismo, presente aún en los países más desarrollados, aunque obviamente en menor proporción que en los países de capitalismo incipiente.

1 http://www.fao.org/3/I9553ES/i9553es.pdf

2 http://www.fao.org/news/story/es/item/1152167/icode/

3 El Capital, tomo III, página 254, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1975

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