I have recently completed reading Food First, the influential book by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins of the Institute for Food and Development Policy that was first published in the 1970s. The book has lost little of its's power and if anything, the tragedy of the wasted opportunities of the last 30 years make it even more relevant.
The central message, that poverty and hunger are not chiefly about "over-population" or "primitiveness" or "resistance to change", still less about lack of "free trade" or access for Western multinationals. We still read these excuses wheeled out in the daily mass media. The chief causes behind poverty and hunger are the political and economic systems of both the developed and developing worlds that chain the vast majority to the route most favouring the ruling oligarchy. Corrupt local elites and global capitalism work in concert. The continued existence of this state of affairs rests to a large extent on the continued acceptance of a cynical and fatalistic attitude to human nature which is peddled by the mouthpieces of the ruling elites. But Moore Lappe's and Collins' book was a positive intervention by people who believed that ordinary people could, and should, make a difference.
In their postcript they wrote:
We want you to join us, not simply because of the urgent struggle to construct a just and life-giving society, but because through our own experience we have become certain that none of us can live fully today as long as we are overwhelmed by a false view of the world and a false view of human nature to buttress it. Learning how a system can cause hunger then becomes , not a lesson in misery and deprivation, but a vehicle for a great awakening in our lives.
I recommend the book and further reading from the works of the authors and the IFDP.