Greed In My Dining Room

I suppose its really more of a dining nook. Its never used as either a room or a nook. Most of the time its just another flat surface to pile things onto. I usually eat at my workbench in front of my computer. The radiation helps keep the food warm you see. I was eating soup and watching the BBC news. Another famine taking place in Africa. Which is actually the same famine they were shouting about in 2010, but had forgotten about for a while. They showed a child that had been receiving treatment for 3 months. Nobody wants to shock anyone out of their immediate concerns. Someone said feeding the poor wasn’t the answer anyway. It seems to have become the creed of everyone that doesn’t want to look. The ones that don’t want to pay. The ones that want a new iPad. Every 3 months or so, whenever the OS is updated. Look, there’s a brand new game app, but you have to have the newest phone, pad, laptop or it doesn’t work. Shortly following the breaking news that the famine was still happening, the newest breaking news was the IMF seeking to increase its funds (borrow) by $500 billion or so. A trillion would be better, of course. They need it to FEED the European economy. And there I was thinking that an economy is a lifeless inanimate object idea created by humanity to avoid paying its bills. I had no idea the European economy was suffering a famine too. A famine of stuff, they hadn’t enough money to pay for more stuff.

So I twisted my mind inside out to remember some of my anthropology from university several years ago. I recalled some African studies classes, a study of the caloric intake of the various countries around the globe. It was approximately 1999, aeons ago. The average human needs roughly 2000 calories per day, this changes by how enormous you are and how little exercise you engage in. At the time the average caloric intake per capita in Canada was 4500. In sub-Saharan Africa the average was 1150. Google to the rescue, what is that today I demanded of the page. And amazingly enough found that Canadians had decided they were too fat and had reduced their caloric intake to a mere 3506 calories per day. Also amazing was the glitzy interactive graph showing that all the countries of Africa had improved their diets to over 2000 calories per day. And most amazing of all was Somalia with a staggering 2350 calories per day. Really, I thought, am I missing something here. Maybe there are a few people who are eating 100,000 calories a day. Or is all the famine talk wrong. Who is measuring what? Where was this study done? Or could this be one of the years when grain prices are just low enough to send all the grain the west promised over the past 5 years all at once. They are measuring the caloric intake by how many calories we decide to send them, all at once.

‘Greed’, 36″ X 60″, oil on canvas, 2010-2011.

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