Competing Discourses on the Political Economy of Hunger



Among poor nations whose people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, talk about hunger and malnutrition appears to dictate the action (or lack of action) that will be taken to alleviate the suffering. In Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, where hunger and malnutrition are common, subtle differences concerning the interpretation of the causes of hunger exist among mothers of hungry children and professionals who provide services to them. Such differences are influential in the perpetuation of hunger and malnutrition. These competing discourses underplay (in many cases, even ignore) the political economy of hunger. This paper argues these disjunctures in the discourses of hunger take the spotlight off what is the ultimate root of hunger — namely, the neoliberal policies of the Nicaraguan government.