Have these people lost their minds?

The analysis says: \”Over half of all children in poor countries only eat three food items – staples such as cassava, which has no nutritional value at all,

What do you mean no nutritional value? Cassava contains calories, calories are nutrition.

Agreed that there\’s not much interesting in cassava but to claim that it has no nutritional value is rather making fools of those hundreds of millions for whom it is the staple of life.

\”Its composition shows 60-65 percent moisture, 20-31 percent carbohydrate, 1-2 percent crude protein and a comparatively low content of vitamins and minerals. However, the roots are rich in calcium and vitamin C and contain a nutritionally significant quantity of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid.\”

31 comments on “Have these people lost their minds?

  1. Potatoes aren’t much better. Are they? No more that 4% protein etc, etc. Husked rice. The staples of western and eastern diet. But they are actually talking about malnutrition rather than starvation so ‘mere’ calories are a real problem.

    Yet, this is another “Timmy question to which the answer is ‘No!'”.

    Because what they are saying is not ‘poor kiddies eat crap food’. What they are saying is ‘give us loads of money and an expensive summit with the use of the 2012 commissars’ lanes’.

  2. If it didn’t have any nutritional value, wouldn’t they all die?

    Goodbye overpopulation problem!

    But SE is right, this is just another example og grandstanding and rent seeking.

  3. You’ve got to remember that these people actively deprecate the energy content of foods; hence terms like “empty calorie” (popularised by hardcore vegan front group The Centre For Science In The Public Interest). Calorific value simply isn’t counted as “nutrition” at all.

  4. Ironically, this is exactly the sort of food people like this claim the West should be eating instead of meat, chips etc

  5. Ian,

    Ta, another site to ponder for my daily dose of bile.

    I like their “Ban Oysters especially during the warmer summer months” campaign. Whatever happened to the simple folk wisdom of “Don’t when there is no R in the month”. But that would be personal responsibility. And that doesn’t need NGOs to enforce it.

  6. @ SE.
    It’s unlike you to miss the key word in the above…’BAN’.
    It’s ok to eat live cultures of yoghurt and similar slime, but to eat poor little oysters live is beyond the pale.

  7. Nick,

    I was paraphrasing. They are actually demanding:

    CSPI Says Agency Should Use New Food Safety Law to Protect Consumers From Deadly Vibrio Bacteria

    Although they talk about “mandatory post-harvest processing”, it was my interpretation that what they actually want is a ‘ban’ on the evils of the “shellfish industry”.

  8. Oh, the CSPI are at the very heart of the bansturbatory maelstrom. It’s very hard to find something edible that they don’t want banned.

  9. Apparently 48% of Indian children are stunted but aren’t they mostly vegetarians, which could account for the lack of fat and protein in their diets.
    As for Bangladesh, it’s suffered from a series of fascist left governments since independence so it’s no wonder they haven’t got enough to eat.

  10. @ Jonathan
    Bangladesh has also more than doubled its population since splitting off from West Pakistan and suffered from major erosion of its fertile areas due to flooding, some of which has made paddies infertile due to salt. I hold no brief for either of the Bangladeshi parties but it’s not solely due to their politics.

  11. Ironically, this is exactly the sort of food people like this claim the West should be eating instead of meat, chips etc

    Yes, I’m sure the first time I heard of “cassava” was in the promotion of a health fad.

    To be fair to Save the Children, I can’t find the offending text in its report the Guardian links to.

  12. Whenever I see some entity is a ‘non-profit organisation’ I assume it is up to something nefarious. As Samuel Johnson so aptly said, “There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money.” The corollary is, if you’re not in it for the money, you’re probably a villain.

  13. David, I cannot think of a ‘non-profit’ which is not a socialist front group.

    Except maybe the British Legion.

    I don’t think most of them even realise it. Macmillan Nurses apparently cannot minister to suffering cancer unless those same nurses are also fighting inequality. Who knew?

  14. Charlie:

    Speaking of lettuce, I have two great recipes for that favorite, “Honeymoon Salad”:

    Lettuce alone

    and

    Just lettuce.

  15. In places in Venezuela I’ve seen, cassava is also used to make a weak beer. In some villages, nearly all the women are regularly employed in chewing up pieces of the stuff and spitting it into containers (and water added), then allowed to sit and ferment for a few weeks.

  16. Charlie:

    Actually, their popular canned beer (Polar) isn’t bad at all.

    It’s been a long time (1980) since I was there and most of my time was spent in the Guyana Highlands (remote and very sparsely populated).

    In the population centers I saw, the most obvious thing was just how half-assed badly almost everything works. The great majority of the lower classes have almost no conception of industry nor entrepreneurialism (and many of these resent all who do). The upper classes are very wealthy but also don’t seem to have much in the way of entrepreneurialism–their incomes derive, typically, from asset ownership and ties to the government of one sort or another.

    Most small business I saw was, in fact, being conducted by foreigners of all sorts (the locals call them “Turks” but they’re of many sorts–Italians, Morrocans, Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners (including Turks), etc.–who came as visitors or ship-jumpers and simply stayed.

    Even the small-holding farmers selling food–fresh meat, chicken, eggs, and vegetables–are of these foreign types and I was told that most first started selling on the street out of suitcases, then progress to a small store or farm, and, after about 10 or 15 years, buy real estate in Caracas and, esssentially, retire on the rental income.

    Meanwhile, their aluminum and steel plants in close proximity to some of the largest deposits known of bauxite and of iron and right next to an enormous hydroelectric plant (Guri Dam) on the Caroni River, were unable to produce those metals competitively (Japanese producers could deliver it there more cheaply.)

    All in all, a screwed-up place.

  17. John77 – “Bangladesh has also more than doubled its population since splitting off from West Pakistan and suffered from major erosion of its fertile areas due to flooding, some of which has made paddies infertile due to salt. I hold no brief for either of the Bangladeshi parties but it’s not solely due to their politics.”

    So the government has not managed to roll out either a proper birth control programme, nor educated most girls to primary school level? Nor has it been able to maintain the sea dykes that keep sea water out?

    How precisely is this not the fault of their politics?

  18. Gene:

    The great majority of the lower classes have almost no conception of industry nor entrepreneurialism (and many of these resent all who do). The upper classes are very wealthy but also don’t seem to have much in the way of entrepreneurialism–their incomes derive, typically, from asset ownership and ties to the government of one sort or another.

    I think us Western Liberals underestimate how unusual liberal capitalism is. Most people naturally concentrate on resource capture and maintenance of cooperative/tribal networks, which is the pattern we all lived for most of human existence. The way capitalism works is counterintuitive. People need to be taught it. Acceptance of or resistance to it is quite different depending on culture.

    Particularly you need the kind of “atomised” society that both lefties and conservatives moan about. The stronger your communal networks, particularly family networks, the harder it is for markets to prosper. People try to band together to seize resources from other bands, rather than working as individuals to produce and compete.

    I think it may be that Western Europe “got it” because we were naturally more atomised, compared the extended family model tribal you find as you head South and East towards the Orient with its huge families and polygamy. Down in Africa, you often find it is more feasible for farmers to have many wives because the major problem is weeding, which platoons of low status wives can do. Western Europe is the land of heavy soils, ploughing and man’s work, which preferred smaller monogamous family units in farmhouses. Hence a stronger instinct for market economies (and higher status women and children, come to that); people are going to tend more towards markets when they can’t get most of their goods and services from a second cousin twice removed who is bound to supply it by tribal unity, kind of thing.

    Sorry, got off the point. The point is that free market capitalism just isn’t obvious, and most people tend towards resource capture by communities. Which might be a major reason it has trouble getting going in many parts of the world.

  19. @ SMFS
    i) Muslim country – West Pakistan’s population has grown as fast
    ii) Sea dykes don’t prevent flooding from the Ganges and Meghna, which are the main causes of erosion
    iii) You didn’t notice the tsunami? Maybe you were asleep for a month.
    Jonathan’s comment # 18 is more accurate

  20. Ian B:

    I’ll dispute, not that you don’t see correctly–but that you don”t see quite as completely.

    The earliest humans were sometimes faced (given that they’d learned to live in families, in extended families, clans, tribes, etc.) with a conflict over resources that couldn’t be used or fully used simultaneously by both. Disagreement (and animosity) ensue (or may even have already been built-into the very idea of meeting “the other.”

    People faced with such situation must answer (both for themselves and in concert with those with whom they are allied by family, etc.) the fundamental existential question (fight–to the death, possibly, and always with that risk) or, in some way, to cede but with retention of some advantage over the immediately preceding situation. (To be even more thorogoing, I’d posit that similar considerations even preceded and were resultant in the primitive units I’ve mentioned.)

    The very same consideration, ultimately, guides some to kill or be killed, some to refrain from killing when able to subdue and enslave (or to accept slavery when defeated and subdued), to share on some basis, whether of strength, of need/abundance, and to trade, i.e., to exchange specific, particular advantages, knowledge, or possessions.

    What I’ve termed “the fundamental existential question,” for all those humans of even ordinary intelligence, must be answered again and again by every single person, though it may be phrased differently by different sorts and at different times. It is the very foundation of what we apprehend as ordinary “morality.”

    By and large, those present today (especially in
    the more civilized agglomerations) are the descendants of those who most correctly answered the question or who consisted of greater numbers having answered it correctly–the descendants of others having been greatly reduced in surviving populations.

    Many must answer the question–in one or another form–quite frequently. Lie? Cheat at cards, on your taxes (or spouse)? Injure physically or financially? Slander knowingly?
    Those who engage frequently in such behaviors become known and, by extension, so do birds with whom they flock (with the very interesting consequence that those most enabled to engage
    in such behaviors and with the greatest chance of “getting away with it”–at least for a time–are those with no such reputation. But the question never changes nor does it ever go away.

    Those espousing avowedly socialist goals and others pursuing what they deem as “social justice” and even those frankly espousing the spoliation of some for the benefit of others do, actually, in most cases, believe that their better society can be achieved by such means for the very simple reason that they believe “society” is, somehow different, somehow larger (and a thing apart) from the individuals comprising it.

    But “society” is not a thing and really has no meaning as a noun. Society is a process–it is the process of human cooperation; and to my own knowledge, the recognition is strictly “Austrian.”
    Without such recognition (and without also understanding the critical role played by competition in assigning each to his own “place” in the cooperative system of civilization) the material progress thus far achieved counts for nothing in the determination of future potential except that, the greater the progress, the greater the fragility (and the more horrendous shall be the methods resorted to by some for the despoliation and extermination of those seen as thwarting their justified aspirations)

    The future is largely knowable. Causes have effects, largely certain, though such effects may be mitigated in some instances by causes having opposite effects. At present, I see formidable, nearly omnipotent (in the true meaning of the word) forces arrayed on the anti-civilizational
    side.

    Mises despised the popular economist, John Maynard Keynes and almost everything he ever said or wrote. But, one point on which I’ve come to agree entirely with Keynes: economics is, indeed, a “dismal science.”

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