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Challenge #02622-G065: One More Lesson

The Great Chinese Famine (from Wikipedia)

"I went to one village and saw 100 corpses, then another village and another 100 corpses. No one paid attention to them. People said that dogs were eating the bodies. Not true, I said. The dogs had long ago been eaten by the people."

(Yu Dehong, secretary of a party official in Xinyang in 1959 and 1960)

It is widely believed that the government seriously under-reported death tolls: Lu Baoguo, a Xinhua reporter in Xinyang, told Yang Jisheng of why he never reported on his experience:

"In the second half of 1959, I took a long-distance bus from Xinyang to Luoshan and Gushi. Out of the window, I saw one corpse after another in the ditches. On the bus, no one dared to mention the dead. In one county, Guangshan, one-third of the people had died. Although there were dead people everywhere, the local leaders enjoyed good meals and fine liquor. ... I had seen people who had told the truth being destroyed. Did I dare to write it?" -- Anon Guest

If you wish to judge a society, measure it by how it treats those most in need. -- Ancient Terran Saying.

By all accounts, it should have happened to a Greater Deregulation. That was where the unofficial bets had been lain. If anything of the ilk was likely to happen, it had to happen to a Greater Deregulation. What it actually happened to was an otherwise unassuming Human colony that had initially been planned to create a stable, self-sustaining colony in the image of the origin polity's ideals. Alas, like all ideals, they could become corrupted over time.

This particular colony had failed to learn its lessons from the failure of the industrial farming model, and doubled down on chemicals, polluting the water, and otherwise creating problems with non-profitable solutions[1]. What was shocking was that nobody knew about the disastrous, planet-wide famine until the very worst of it had left the wealthy bereft of people to use or blame. By then, billions were dead.

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