26) such as harvesting of wild, nondomesticated plant foods and working farm livestock.
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.
Kim Il Sung, the country's previous and venerated dictator, appears to have manipulated agricultural policy for years with a view toward pushing North Korea in the direction of large-scale industrialized, chemically based farming to support the nationalistic Utopian ideal. The result was disastrous for the land and crop yields and amplified by the sudden shock to the land of retransforming industrial practices into labor-intensive natural farming; everything led to a massive drop in production (pp. 12-15). To shore up the "wisdom" of such policies, Kim Jong Il, his son, seems to have made a practice of concealing the results of bad policy and of ordering maldistribution of food in a way that resulted in many starvation deaths among the people. This happ...
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