A second lens of analysis, related to the first, is based on an economic model attributed to Indian famine economist Amartya Sen, who proved that "if a family's ability to purchase or grow food declines rapidly at the same time that food prices increase dramatically on markets, the family will eventually starve" (Natsios, 2000, p. xvi). That may seen like an obvious truth, but the reason it is important to Natsios's narrative is that it reflects Natsios's firsthand observation of conditions on the ground as head of World Vision, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) involved in supplying food aid to North Korea during the famine period. The third lens of analysis goes back to politics, which brings in the awkward issues cited above with respect to the tension between humanitarian and geopolitical values, a tension amplified in this case because of the totalitarian North Korean regime. Explaining that all famines "occur in a political context," Natsios notes that governments always "preside" over famine and that this one was no exception (2000, p. xvii). This was especially the case in North Korea.
cision that is made. The author explains that his analysis is based on three "lenses" of observation. The first is what he calls famine indicators, or evidence of "subtle behavior of the population to cope with their diminishing access to food" (Natsios, 2000, p. xvi). That occurred in the form of increasing food and agricultural costs as well as increase in the consumption of "nonmarket-based indicators" (p. 26) such as harvesting of wild, nondomesticated plant foods and working farm livestock.
It was at that point that the US was faced with the dilemma, previously cited, of shoring up a terrible regime with humanitarian aid and then proceeded to provide it but with an ulterior motive--to bring North Korea to the nuclear negotiating table. The result was bad for all donors, but especially the US. First of all, the US got virtually none of its objectives vis-a-vis Kim's