freakonomics and solving hunger

this weekend i have been pouring precious brain energies in figuring out what we can do to stop the rise of misery because of hunger.i had watched a tv documentary on hunger recently and it was so graphic that i felt very upset when i saw hungry children searching for snails in manila bay. i then compared them to all the children who frequent the malls, with their yayas and branded toys, eating in fancy restaurants. no this is not a blog against rich children.

i am thinking of how to get people to do more on feeding our hungry children (which is increasing – 3.8 million families PDI oct.2). in many ways, we should exert more efforts in feeding children , not just ours but all the children because we want a better, healthy generation. as i study more the development of our consciousness and health, the more i am convinced that our culture of kapwa-tao and malasakit should be at the core of our being filipino. ed and i have been practising sikolohiyang pilipino and we know the sense of being kapwa or inclusiveness is a value that is endangered now in our society. when we read the news that money is being distributed in bags to politicians who are dining in the palace, that smacks like kawalanghiyaan (or outright flaunting of power to corrupt ). the daily news is full of scandal and i dont know how many more scandals will be there to grab the headlines. so there’s got to be a solution to this terrible state of hunger and corrupting power.

ed bought a book on freakonomics. i have been reading it chapter after chapter and i found the insights very useful. i had blogged about this book in relation to parenting and how children do better in school when parents know what to do and why. but am returning to some of its discussion on crime and why committing crimes in the 60’s was at its peak. the interesting ideas and insights that steven levitt & stephen dubner raise in this book may help us figure how to feed the children and stop the plunder of our treasury. it’s going beyond conventional wisdom and knowing what is hidden and how to measure it. lets compare our politicians to ku klux klans and how they build prejudices against honesty and dedication in civil service. the chapter on the KKK organization and its campaigns against the black citizens may yield some strategies. first item is how people enter government and why. analyzing the corridors of power may yield four pathways : formal, informal, criminal & war, based on the 4 sector think piece in political economy of bong mendoza. if we use this 4 lens, it may lead us to know how jueteng income can feed 3.8 million families, using the methods of freakonomics. i am not an economist and may not have the skills of plumbing the criminal economy but i can raise questions as much as i can – which is one of the effective ways of gathering data and evidence. if jueteng money can make politicians win ( that’s the hypothesis for now), it can also be used to track down the flow of money and power. but you may ask, how will that feed the hungry children? well we have to get a critical mass of citizens who bet in jueteng give us information since the daily take is in millions. lucena city is allegedly running three lotteries a day with a take of three million. if there are a hundred cities running at least one lottery a day, that’s 100 million pesos daily, enough to feed more than 3.8 families ! just think of 10 % of the earnings and winnings for a massive feeding program. that’s a lot of malunggay, rice and fish with vegetables. now, you will ask, how we will convince the jueteng lords and masters to part with 10 % of their money? through the politicians who get a % of this illegal income.the day will be ours to save when we solve all this hunger. my mind is ticking and i hope yours too. remember what alfred north whitehead said ” humans have been engaged not just in maintaining life but in cultivating the art of life”. let’s think of this art and science of freakonomics.

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