What’s for Dinner?

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            The families in the photographs shared by Menzel demonstrated not only the cultural differences between the Norwegian and Guatemalan families, but most especially the disparity in the environment around them. The political and ecological differences between Norway and Guatemala are stark. Norway experiences regular seasons, but Guatemala is prone to tropical storms and hurricanes. These interrupt the agricultural production that the Guatemalan economy relies upon. The extensive land clearing that was performed in Guatemala for the sake of agricultural production was performed by non-local interests, which have no regard for the sustainability of their practices. The lack of stability that the developing country of Guatemala enjoys accounts for their economy continuing to be production based, which will not allow them to establish infrastructure to support a health care system or consistent education. Without these foundations they cannot hope to move into more industrial avenues of revenue.

    The idea that a small Guatemalan farmer could compete with international corporations (like Chiquita Banana for example) for space on the Norwegian table is preposterous. According to Amartya Sen the country should be on its way towards successful development as a democratic country. However, it remains one of the poorest nations in South America. The process of trade liberalization did not create a stable environment for economic growth, infrastructure developments, or education. I am inclined to agree with Vandana Shiva who claims that the way to resolve the cause of hunger is to return the resources to the hands of the local producers and ensure them market access.

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