Hunger, poverty and inequality, and the national and international policies that create and then perpetuate these conditions, have been recurring themes in my work. The ten essays in this volume were written in the first half of this decade and most of them were first presented as lectures, conference papers or seminars to audiences in Britain, the United States, Italy, Holland and Mexico. This volume can be regarded as a sequel to International Inequality and National Poverty published nearly ten years ago.
The lead essay, 'World Hunger and the World Economy', reflects two currents of thought: Amartya Sen's innovative book on Poverty and Famines, in which he argues that starvation cannot generally be interpreted as a simple consequence of a decline in the availability of food; and my own Political Economy of Agrarian Change, in which I argued that technological changes which increase food output will not necessarily reduce hunger in the absence of appropriate institutions and policies. The essay in this present volume can be seen as an attempt to counter the view, widely held and forcefully advocated by the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, that accelerated growth of food production will suffice to eliminate malnutrition and acute poverty in the Third World. The essay gained much from comments and careful editing by W. Ladd Hollist and F. LaMond Tullis.
The essay 'Rural Poverty in Asia' is a direct descendant of research initiated at the International Labour Office in Geneva and published in a book jointly edited withAzizur Rahman Khan entitled Poverty and Landlessness in Rural Asia. In the edited book we concentrated on presenting the facts about rural poverty in Asia and showed that in many parts of that vast region the incidence of poverty had not declined even, in some cases, where sustained growth in average incomes had occurred. In the essay, slightly revised and reprinted here, the emphasis is on trying to understand how poverty can increase despite growth of production and on elucidating the policies necessary to combat poverty. Eddy Lee, then Director of the ILO's Asian Regional Team for Employment Promotion (ARTEP), supported the work and provided valuable comments. James Boyce also made useful suggestions for revision. Some of the material in this chapter was used in the joint paper with John Gurley on 'Radical Analyses of Imperialism, the Third World and the Transition toSocialism: A Survey Article', Journal of Economic Literature, September 1985 . . .