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January 8, 1968

Famine-1975! America's Decision: Who Will Survive?

JAMA. 1968;203(2):157. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140020085033

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Within a very few years, America will be forced to decide who is to eat and who is to go hungry. America's agricultural resources are great, but limited—we will be unable to feed all of the hungry! To the dispenser of our agricultural resources will fall the obligation of deciding who will survive. Famine in many countries cannot be averted, the only question is when it will strike. The authors analyze current trends in population and productivity and suggest that food needs will exceed productivity in 1975!

Who then will survive? The authors suggest that triage be applied to the hungry nations. The divisions would include (1) nations in which population growth has already passed agricultural potential —the "can't be saved" group, (2) nations with sufficient internal resources to cover importation of grain and which thus can survive without food aid — the "walking wounded," and (3) nations in which