In his 2008 article, "The Politics of Hunger," Paul Collier advocates ending the food crisis by boosting the food supply in three main ways. First, to lift biofuel subsidies to increase short-term food supply. Second, switch from small-scale to commercial farming to increase middle-term food supply. Third, to end the bias against scientific agriculture to increase long-term food supply. While the food crisis was brought upon by an increase in income which drove up the demand for food as people ate more and better, Collier continues to assert that the solution lies not in tackling the rising demand but solely in expanding the food supply.
To this, I beg to differ. With every economic problem, no one policy can salvage the situation. In the case of the food crisis, I believe there needs to be demand-side management alongside Collier's supply-side policy.
Prices are determined by market demand and supply. Collier's proposal focuses on drastically increasing market supply to decrease prices and ensure sufficient food for all. If we were to decrease the demand alongside increasing the supply, then the increase in supply would no longer need to be as large an extent as Collier had planned.
Decreasing demand is not that daunting a task. There is no need to stop population growth, as some Malthusian theory enthusiasts may propose. The most practical way to do this is to focus on reducing avoidable wastage. (Lang 2010). Unlike wastage in developing countries caused by a lack of technology and infrastructure and is, therefore, harder to resolve, "Western wastage" results from mindset and behaviour and is therefore avoidable. (Miroslav, 2013) To reduce this form of wastage and, therefore lower unnecessary demand, educational campaigns to raise awareness of how our wastefulness leads to a food shortage must be implemented. And if need be, we can even impose fines on individuals and businesses for wasting food. Suppose we manage to cut this form of waste by h...