Why, therefore, is there so much hunger in the world?
Just one child born in the developed world consumes the equivalent of what 50 children of the developing world consume. What is wrong with this picture?
We all have a right to sufficient food; God has seen to it that there is enough for all.
Yet, some have too much and exploit and waste what does not truly belong to them.
Augustine reminds us of the social dimension of private property, even of food. To keep for ourselves what God created for everyone will provoke an imbalance.
It was true what Augustine said: "The possession of material goods is by nature the source of division. From these private goods flow selfishness, egoism, envy, competitive spirit, avarice, conflicts, fights" (Commentary on Psalm 131, 5).
We ourselves have enough food; in fact, we may have access to too much even. Are we truly appreciative of what has been given to us?
Do we understand the consequences for ourselves and for others of having more than enough at our disposal, to be able to choose among such great variety?
Unfortunately, many times we tend to identify the poor with being lazy or ignorant, as though their sorry conditions were their own fault, that somehow they just did not try hard enough.
In fact, for many of the world's poor the opportunity is just not there. They are the victims of structural violence, collateral damage of the social system itself.
For those who are served well by the existing social systems, it is more comforting to interpret poverty as the result of aberrations rather than the natural consequence.
"Give a person a fish and he eats for today, but teach a person to fish and he eats for a lifetime" is the underlying thought regarding development.
Unfortunately, the theory is contradicted in many cases by the "No Fishing" sign.
The presumption in that theory is: "We will teach those who are poor or without power how to grow food, plan families, be entrepreneurs and democrats; we know how and they do not".
Never mind that the poor farmer already knows how to farm, but does not have a strip of land to call his own.