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“Hunger Staring Country in the Face,” the headline said. Although India has been experiencing economic growth and is far from the poorest nation in the world, hunger remains a serious problem throughout the country. According to the news report, India’s economic numbers “could be masking the reality that growth has not translated into better lives for Indians.” More than 40% of Indians live below the international poverty line, defined by the World Bank as income under $1.25 per day. More than 200 million Indians, about one-fifth of the nation’s population, experience food insecurity, even though India is a leading producer of grains, fruits, and vegetables. More than 80 million Indian children are malnourished. According to the news report, India’s high hunger rate stems from its poverty, inadequate distribution of food, and political corruption. To help reduce hunger, the report said it was important to develop programs focused on women and children, who are especially likely to live in hunger. (Golikeri, 2010, p. MM28)Golikeri, P. (2010, March 26). Hunger staring country in the face. Daily News and Analysis (Mumbai). Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/dna-daily-news-analysis-mumbai/mi_8111/is_20100326/hunger-staring-eye/ai_n52925597/?tag=content;col1
We learn several things from this news story about India: (a) poverty and hunger are rampant; (b) although India apparently has enough food to help feed its people, inadequate distribution and political corruption help keep food from the mouths of the hungry; (c) women and children bear the brunt of poverty and hunger; and, finally, (d) if India is far from the poorest nation and so many Indians are going hungry, conditions in poorer nations must be almost unimaginable. In all these respects, India’s situation tells us much about global stratification, the subject of this chapter. We first discuss the dimensions and extent of global stratification before turning to its impact and possible reasons for it. We will see that many nations around the world are in, and have long been in, a dire situation, but we will also examine possible strategies for improving their situation.