Morocco: Solving for Scarcity

The drought in Morocco has now severely stunted the grain harvest for two consecutive years.  When we are faced with scarcity, it becomes clear that even in this age of modernization and globalization, the same economic and cultural staples still hold together the fabric of our communities. In morocco, access to flour is almost as essential as access to water, because of the key role it plays in the country's economy and diet.

This scarcity of grain has caused a poignant and complex chaos to emerge. Many of the people of Morocco are following their old tradition of rain prayer, in hopes that the heavens whole answer. But the answer from the perspective of foreign aid, is of course to ship lots of flour to Morocco and give it away, rather than relying on what westerners might call "divine intervention".

But when this flour was being handed out, a stampede of people broke out, killing fifteen people. No article I've read so far seems to articulate the exact instance that sparked the stampede, but I would attribute it to the patterns that have happened before, of local vernacular problems coming into contact with top-down solutions. This naturally creates dissonance, and an opportunity for people to respond. The state of the Moroccan food system is so dire, that it made more sense for someone charge the scene and take flour than to wait in line for an equal ration. And, enough people were feeling the same way to create the stampede.

We shouldn't distance ourselves from this issue. The changes in the climate in the US too, are becoming detrimental to our staple crops, and on top of that the mono-cultures and central supply chains we have relied on are becoming weaker and weaker. And, let us consider this a lesson in problem solving for scarcity. If our economy suddenly crashed and we all lost our money, would it be a good idea to have people line up for handouts? Or is it a better idea assist with more ways for local communities to solve that problem for themselves. Food for thought.

Read the full article from the Washington Post




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