Ethics Updates


World Hunger

Last Updated: October 1, 2011

Multimedia Resources on World Hunger

  • Peter Singer
       Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics
       University Center for Human Values Princeton University
    • "Global Ethics"
          Keynote Address
          Association for Practical and Professional Ethics
         10th Annual Meeting March 1-2, 2001

Online Surveys

Internet Resources on World Hunger

  • Dr. Oscar Arias, "Globalization and Challengs to Human Security"
  • Millenium Goals for 2015. The United Nations Millenium Development Goals, including the interim 2010 Summit, including world poverty and hunger.
  • United Nations Population Information Network (POPIN). Latest 1998 information on population trends.
  • HungerWeb. Alan Shawn Feinstein Hunger Program at Brown University. Excellent links to other resources
  • Virtual Library on International Development. Excellent guide to on-line resources in international development, esp. Africa.
  • WorldWatch Information on Lester Brown's Worldwatch Institute and State of the World Report.
  • ReliefNet. ReliefNet was one of the first sites on the web to focus on relief and development issues with an emphasis on fundraising and public education.
  • Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen's Hunger and Public Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. The full text of a superb book--availalbe in full text form on Reliefnet.
  • Peter Singer, "The Singer Solution to World Poverty,"New York Times, September 5, 1999.
  • "Different Roads to Development: Why it's better to be poor in some countries than in others", The Economist, August 19, 1995. A thoughtful piece thaat considers the question of why life in some poor countries is better than life in other, less poor countries. From ReliefNet.
  • William Shawcross, "A Hero of Our Time," The New York Review of Books, November 30, 1995. The story of Fred Cuny, who had become extensively involved in relief and disaster work. From ReliefNet.
  • World Neighbors describes itself as a non-profit organization to eliminate hunger disease and poverty in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Contains information on their organization, sustainability, Global Environmental Problems, Maps, actual 3rd World talks, publications, partnerships.

  • Zero Population Growth. In their own words, " Zero Population Growth, Inc. (ZPG) is a national non-profit organization working to slow population growth and achieve a sustainable balance of people, resources, and the environment."
  • OneWorld Online describes itself as "a worldwide conversation on sustainable human development" and states that it "is the world's biggest and best collection of multimedia material - that's text, graphics, audio and video - on development, the environment and human rights on the Web. "Much of the material is well organized around topics--see, for example, the Special reports on Rwanda and numerous other countries. It is also possible to search the content of the web site. This is a model of the kind of resources that can be provided over the web.
  • Towards a Children's Agenda: New Challenges for Social Development. Provided by Save the Children. Documents the neglect of chldren's interests in development planning and offers alternatives.
  • The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.
  • The United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), September 5-13, 1994 in Cairo, Egypt

Philosophical Resources

  • Hugh LaFollette and Larry May, "Suffer the Little Children," World Hunger and Morality, ed. William Aiken and Hugh LaFollette (Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1996). This essay is one of the most widely reprinted pieces on the topic of world hunger. The authors make a very strong case for the specific moral significance of the suffering of little children in regard to world hunger.  Available free online by courtesy of the authors.
  • Hugh LaFollette, "World Hunger."  in Blackwell Companion to Applied Ethics, ed. Ray Frey and Christopher Heath Wellman (Oxford: Blackwell 2003).  An excellent  w of the main issues relating to world hunger by a noted philosopher.  This case provides an excellent discussion of what the proper starting point is for reflection on the problem of world hunger.  Available free online by courtesy of the author.
  • Jean Drèze,
  • Bill McKibben, "Reaching the Limit," New York Review of Books, May 29, 1997. Reviews of How Many People Can the Earth Support? by Joel E. Cohen and The Carrying Capacity Briefing Book by the Carrying Capacity Network.


A Bibliographical Survey of Philosophical Literature on World Hunger

Biliographical essays are drawn from Lawrence M. Hinman, Contemporary Moral Issues


In addition to the standard ethics journals mentioned in the bibliographical essay at the end of Chapter One, also see the journals Ethics and International Affairs and World Development.

Review Articles

Nigel Dower's "World Poverty" in A Companion to Ethics, edited by Peter Singer (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1991) surveys the literature and argues "for a moderate but significant duty of caring in response to the evils of extreme poverty." Onora O'Neill, "International Justice: Distribution," Encyclopedia of Ethics, edited by Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992), Vol. I, pp. 624-628 provides an insightful and nuanced discussion of the issues of distributive justice, especially insofar as they relate to world hunger.

Reports, etc

Several reports on the state of the world have help to share the international discussion of these issues. In the United States, the Presidential Commission on World Hunger, established by Jimmy Carter, issued Overcoming World Hunger: The Challenge Ahead (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1980). For a more global perspective, see the Brandt report, formally known as the Report of the Independent Commission on International Development Issues, North- South: A Program for Survival (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1980). For replies to this, see Teresa Hayter, The Creation of World Poverty: An Alternative View to the Brandt Report (London: Pluto Press, 1981); Denis Goulet and Michael Hudson, The Myth of Aid: The Hidden Agenda of the Development Reports (New York: IDOC/Maryknoll Press, 1971); and Frances Moore Lappe, Joseph Collins, and David Kinley, Aid as Obstacle: Twenty Questions about our Foreign Aid and the Hungry (San Francisco: Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1980./1981). Also see the Brundtland Report