UN deletes satirical article on ‘benefits’ of world hunger: ‘No one works harder than hungry people’

·2 min read

An article published on the United Nations Chronicle website that promoted world hunger as a “great positive value” was taken down.

Titled “The Benefits of World Hunger,” the post sparked outrage among Twitter users on Wednesday. Following criticism of the article, the link now leads to an error page.

UN error page
UN error page

The article was written by George Kent, a retired professor of political science at the University of Hawaii. Originally published in the UN Chronicle in 2008, the article argued that hunger is not an issue to be solved, rather “it is fundamental to the working of the world’s economy.”

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“Much of the hunger literature talks about how it is important to assure that people are well fed so that they can be more productive,” Kent wrote. “That is nonsense. No one works harder than hungry people. Yes, people who are well nourished have greater capacity for productive physical activity, but well-nourished people are far less willing to do that work.”

Research into Kent’s previous publications suggest that the article is actually a form of political satire, similar to Jonathan Swift’s satirical essay, “A Modest Proposal.” A majority of Kent’s work revolves around ending world hunger, having published books such as “The Political Economy of Hunger: The Silent Holocaust,” “Freedom from Want: The Human Right to Adequate Food” and “Ending World Hunger.”

In a response to a tweet criticizing the publication for its inclusion of the article on its website, UN Chronicle confirmed that the 14-year-old article was “an attempt at satire.”

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