# Short story about a committee planning to eliminate 1 in 10 people

I read a story years ago in which an international committee of population or hunger was considering a plan that would cause the deaths of 1 in 10 persons (more or less). One of the members prepared food for the group that would kill 1 in 10 of the committee.

The story was probably in Analog magazine. Anybody remember it?

• I think this is a duplicate of this older version. Commented Aug 15 at 13:52
• @JyrkiLahtonen It will only be a duplicate if/when the OP confirms the answer Commented Aug 15 at 17:52
• If that's the policy on this site, sure. Thanks for the explanation. I'm used to the way on Math.SE, where reviewers vote on such matters (as the other participants may have a vested interest in keeping questions open). Glad to hear it works better here. Commented Aug 16 at 4:19
• @JyrkiLahtonen - so in MATH.SE `2 × 21` is the same QUESTION as `7 × 6` (and the meaning of life) because the ANSWER is the same? I doubt the OP would read the other question and know that it's the answer to his question. The Duplicate Rule is stupid - I wish people would stop following it. Commented Aug 16 at 16:30

This sounds very much like The Winnowing, a short story by Isaac Asimov, first published in Analog in 1976.

From the wikipedia summary:

In the year 2005, the world's population of six billion is suffering from acute famine. The World Food Organization decides on desperate measures to decrease the population by a process of triage. They propose to do this by adding selective poisons to certain food shipments to grossly over-populated areas.

They plan to poison more than 1 in 10 though, aiming for 70% deaths in certain carefully selected regions that were "hopelessly" overpopulated. They blackmail a scientist named Dr Aaron Rodman to prepare such a poison, based on human lipoproteins, but he refuses to go along with the scheme and prepares a suitable revenge.

At a meeting between him and senior government officials and members of the World Food Council, he provides sandwiches laced with the LP [lipoprotein] as refreshment, so that they will die at random, just as they had planned for so many others. He carefully matches the LP in the sandwiches (which he also eats) to his own metabolism, so that he will die quickly and not be guilty of involvement in the scheme.

He hopes that the officials' view of "selective deaths" will be altered by the experience.

The full story can be read at the Luminist archive, in the February 1976 issue of Analog.

• That conclusion seems optimistic. In the real world, the surviving officials would probably go ahead anyway if they had been willing to do it in the first place, with even more moral confidence in their fairness now that they had been through the same thing. Commented Aug 14 at 19:49
• @Adamant The premise is even more unrealistic. We're now two decades past 2005, and the primary driver of famine today is not missing supply, but broken supply chains. Commented Aug 15 at 15:03