By Jeffrey Clark
The United Nations quietly removed an old op-ed from its website after the article went viral for claiming that hunger “has great positive value to many people.” The UN claimed the article was “satire,” directly contradicting comments the author made to MRC Business via email.
“For those of us at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger globally would be a disaster,” University of Hawaii Professor Emeritus George Kent wrote in a 2009 article headlined “The Benefits of World Hunger.” The UN Chronicle issued this July 6 statement in an attempt to cover up the story: “This article appeared in the UN Chronicle 14 years ago as an attempt at satire and was never meant to be taken literally. We have been made aware of its failures, even as satire, and have removed it from our site.” [Emphasis added].
Kent directly debunked the UN’s claim in an email to MRC Business: “I never intended it as satire. And I did not hope that it would be read as praise for hunger. My main point was and still is that some people benefit from the existence of hunger in the world. That helps to explain why hunger is so persistent in many places.” [Emphasis added].
The article, originally from 2009, resurfaced on the internet in recent days, with Climate Depot founder Marc Morano sharing the story on his Twitter account. “The UN Chronicle essay said the quiet part out loud, that the wealthy elites desire to keep the masses hungry and in check,” Morano said in exclusive comments to MRC Business.
Morano also tore apart the UN Chronicle’s tweet, telling MRC Business: “The UN’s attempt to spin the article as satire is absurd and is nothing more than covering their behinds when they faced huge outcry over the article.”
Kent seemed to defend certain aspects of world hunger in his controversial essay. But he told MRC Business in an interview that he never intended his article to read that way; rather, he wanted to point out that a few rich people in the world benefit from cheap labor resulting from hunger, he said. Kent is currently the Deputy Editor of World Nutrition and has had a long career in studying agriculture.
“Hungry people are the most productive people, especially where there is a need for manual labour,” he wrote. “If there were no hunger in the world, who would plow the fields? Who would harvest our vegetables? Who would work in the rendering plants? Who would clean our toilets? We would have to produce our own food and clean our own toilets.”
He concluded: “People at the high end are not rushing to solve the hunger problem. For many of us, hunger is not a problem, but an asset.”
Kent’s article remained on the UN’s website for 14 years before the UN removed it after receiving backlash on Twitter. Commentator Mike Cernovich tweeted, “The UN removed a page from its site entitled – The Benefits of World Hunger[.] Fact checkers will say the page never existed.”
The UN Chronicle did not respond to a request for comment from MRC Business, and a search for the article on the UN’s website returns a “404” error message.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact the UN Chronicle on its official Facebook page and demand it explain why it quietly scrubbed the controversial article on hunger from its website and quickly made excuses that the original op-ed was nothing more than “satire.”