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14 fallacies about famine



14 fallacies about famine



Ceres 14(2): 20-25



The following 14 empirical fallacies about famine are considered: (1) Famines are acute and large-scale food shortages; (2) Any forecast is better than none; (3) The institutional response would improve if the forecasting were improved; (4) Good forecasting depends upon identifying the underlying cause of the famine; (5) Famine and wars are different; (6) Surveillance is what is needed; (7) We must move toward "hard" objective indicators rather than relying on "soft" judgements; (8) We must determine fixed criteria to trigger a response; (9) We must move a step beyond folk wisdom; (10) The Sahelian famines form a model for famine forecasting; (11) We are experimenting with a new type of warning system; (12) You must be able to decide on a few good indicators; (13) There must be a composite indicator for famine forecasting just as indices of leading economic indicators herald change in business cycles; (14) An international committee must come up with a handbook of warning indicators for famine-prone areas.

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