Yum! Brands PR Department Launches World Hunger Relief Campaign, Doesn’t Really Care
Last September, U.S.-based Yum! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company and parent of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and A&W fast food chains, launched its annual World Hunger Relief campaign. Touted as part of a commitment to ending global hunger, this new campaign provides a sense of charity and progressiveness the Yum!’s true purpose, making money by selling over-valued, though inexpensive junk food to people in the First World
The money raised will go to the UN’s World Food Programme. Founded in 1963, the WFP has thus far failed in providing a solution to hunger or ending its root causes. Today, though hunger is growing and with it malnourishment and starvation, the WFP itself claims to be under funded. Yum! cites this as a reason why its World Hunger Relief campaign is “even more crucial this year.”
At face value, Yum!’s concern for world hunger is a farce. In 2007 and 2008, Yum! says its raised $36 million for the self described cash-strapped WFP. Yum! continues by patting itself on the back for pledging to raise at least $80 million over the next five years, or $2 million less each year.
Rather than ending the causes of hunger, Yum! Brands and the UN World Food Programme mitigate it through pittances. Both admit it in round about ways. “Every U.S. dollar raised will provide four meals for hungry children,” Yum! states. In reality, meal rations will not end hunger because hunger today has structural causes.
Instead of tractors being sent to the poor farmers in Africa, they are sent to Israel to tear down Palestinian homes or to other countries to build “Special Economic Zones,” sweatshop compounds, on former farm lands. Whilst 1 billion people live in chronic hunger and a child dies of starvation every five seconds, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are never short on food for First World consumers. A global relationship is at play here, imperialism, which is the root cause of hunger today.
Companies such as Yum! make money by selling over-valued, yet inexpensive convenience food to exploiters. They couldn’t run their business without the massive profits brought into the First World from the Third, resulting in widespread poverty. Likewise, the U.N. and the World Food Programme are institutions set up and lorded over by imperialists to preserve current class structure, not dissolve it.
The WFP nearly goes so far to admit this. According to WFP, chronic hunger leads to social and political instability, that is, instability to the social and political structures which maintain a state of poverty and looming hunger for most of the world’s people. Thus, the WFP’s implicit position is to mitigate instability through food rations, while providing no long term solution to the causes of poverty and hunger. Yum! Brand’s slogan for their own campaign is moving millions “from hunger to hope.”
For the Third World masses, those who regularly find themselves victim of preventable hunger, such “hope” is illusionary and short lived. While Yum! claims it has helped save the lives of 4 million people “in remote corners of the world,” the real effect has been keeping 4 million people dependent on constant food aid. In fact, despite the publicized ‘concern’ of image-conscious corporations such as Yum! Brands, hunger created by imperialism is increasing. Instead of finding a real solution to world hunger, such food aid programs hold back real solutions while keeping oppressed peoples passive and dependent.
Liberation from global poverty will not come via charity from those who create and benefit from it. Solutions capable of ending hunger will only arise as a direct affront to such self-congratulatory tactics of ‘benevolent’ corporations and their obese, petty-exploiter customers. An end to global poverty and hunger means economies and development directed by the vast majority to meet their own needs, not controlled and leeched upon by the imperialist First World.