Ag Tech as Social Science Denial
Posted on February 24, 2017
In all of history there has never been a world-wide famine. The world has always produced enough food for everyone. Famine has always been a local problem and a distribution problem.
Moreover since the time of the Roman empire, in civilized countries famine has never been a transportation problem. Famine is an income problem.
Moreover there has always everywhere in civilized countries been enough income to feed everyone. Famine is an income distribution problem.
Moreover in democratic countries there are almost never famines, because the government comes under intense pressure to feed the hungry, and does so. (Except of course in the US, where millions go to bed each night suffering from selfish-Republican hunger.) Famine is ultimately a problem in the distribution of power.
It is true that famines in poor countries are often associated with crop failures, but not for the reasons you think. What happens is that crop failures make poor farmers destitute, and they are unable to buy food.
Amartya Sen got a Nobel Prize in economics, in part for persuading economists this was all true.
Nevertheless we have the Big Ag cartel and many ignorant Nobel-prize-winning hard scientists and Scientific American and centrists everywhere claiming that underdeveloped countries need capital intensive chemical farming and genetic engineering to prevent famine. They are committing social science denial.
Capital-intensive ag is the opposite of what poor farmers need to alleviate poverty. They need income derived from labor-intensive farming.
E.g. organic farming.
Now Big Ag likes to predict that because of burgeoning overpopulation we will need lots of capital-intensive farming in the future to prevent world-wide famine. I imagine they are correct.
However I believe there is zero chance that the free market system and the political system will ever prevent there from being all of the capital-intensive agriculture we need to feed everyone. And in any case that is a future problem. Today’s problem is providing income to poor third-world farmers.
Which crass or ignorant social-science-denying ag tech enthusiasts are doing their best to prevent.