Bread for the World: Oregon
Oregon BFW is part of a nationwide Christian citizens movement seeking justice for the world's hungry people by lobbying our nation's decision makers.           Contact Me          Visit National Website

Mini Hunger Course

Economic Causes of Hunger

  • Unemployment: Not enough jobs.

    • Frictional Unemployment: People inbetween jobs (short term - not a contributor to hunger).
    • Cyclical unemployement: Based on business cycle and recessions (medium term - requires public support programs).
    • Structural unemployment: Based on long term economic changes. Declining industries, mechanization, increased demand for higher skills. (longer term - requires support for retraining and education).

    Market Mechanism

    Efficient but has short comings

    Consumer Vs Producer Soverignty
    Consumer soverignty is not absolute. Modern large scale production produces large industries (economies of scale, entry barriers), this limits competition and leads to producer soverenty (high market share, control over pricing). This can also limit competition in labor markets, lowering wages and increasing unemployment. This power balance between producer, consumer and labor varies widely over time, industry, and country.

    Economic Vote
    Markets naturally cater to those with purchasing power. The poor have little money to spend, therefore their economic desires do not register in the market. Government must often step in to provide assistance with necessities like food, housing and health care.

    Profit Motive
    Operates best when return on investment occurs in the short run and the benefits are limited to those participating in the transaction (works well for consumer goods). But does not work well where the benefits are widely distributed and the return on investment occurs over the longer run (education, defense, infrastructure, health care: requires a greater emphasis on public investment). If public investment is limited this can reduce opportunities and worsen hunger.