Malthus’s Zombie: Why Are We Still Scared by Stories about Scarcity Causing Atrocities?

One monstrous zombie concept is the claim that climate change will spark new atrocities and conflicts over food scarcity. It’s clear that climate change is a scientific fact. But I am a skeptic about any direct links between environmental crisis, climate change and conflict and famine in the modern world. This skepticism arises partly as a reflex against the poor arguments marshaled in favor of those who predict such crises. Not to mention the trend lines: as the globe has warmed over recent decades, mass atrocities (including both large scale violent killing and famines) have declined.

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Open letter to Gayle Smith

Under the Obama Administration, foreign policy has been driven by national security and concern over domestic opinion polls. Humanitarian issues, democratization, development, and resolving armed conflicts get on the agenda only when the Pentagon and CIA have had their say. That is glaringly obvious in Africa and the Middle East. You more than anyone should know that a security policy that relies overwhelmingly on military and intelligence instruments and has no wider economic and political strategy is doomed to fail, and to wreak havoc in doing so.

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The end of mass famine?

We are starting a project that will document the patterns of famines and episodes of mass starvation over history, including their causes, locations, and best estimates for the numbers of people who died. Remarkably, this does not appear to have been done before in a systematic manner. Our aim is to bring together evidence for major famines and instances of deliberate mass starvation (related to war and genocide).

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