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Indybay Feature
How Far is the US From Food Shortages and Food Riots?
by Monica Davis (davis4000_2000 [at] yahoo.com)
Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 2:37 PM
Even the United States is not immune from the potential for food shortages, food riots and food insecurity. We’re just blind to the possibility.
640_corn.jpg
As Americans complain over high gasoline and food prices, many third world countries are experiencing food riots over price and scarcity of food. In some parts of the word rice is so expensive that it is transported in heavily guarded convoys and farmers guard their fields from thieves.

Food riots are becoming more common, as more land and crops are being diverted from the food chain by the world biofuels industry. According to an investment magazine, the crisis shows no signs of weakening. Food, the bread of life, is fast becoming the “gold” of the Twenty-first century.

Fatal food riots in Haiti. Violent food-price protests in Egypt and Ivory Coast. Rice so valuable it is transported in armoured convoys. Soldiers guarding fields and warehouses. Export bans to keep local populations from starving. (Globalinvestor.com)

The face of food security is rapidly changing around the world and there are no quick fixes experts say. What worries many is that food stockpiles are at historic lows. In the United States alone,
stockpiles of wheat hit a 60-year low in the United States as prices soared. Almost all other commodities, from rice and soybeans to sugar and corn, have posted triple-digit price increases in the past year or two. (Ibid)

Experts say the high prices will continue for years, putting billions of people at risk for malnutrition or starvation. World leaders continue to cast fearful eyes at the burgeoning bio-fuels industry, noting that the competition generated by the industrial biofuels industry and food agriculture is pushing up food prices and making it more profitable to grow fuel crops for industrialized countries than it is for big farmers in Third World countries to grow food for their own citizens.

What has put many world leaders on notice is the fact that this artificially generated food crisis has not yet peaked. As of this writing, no one knows when the situation will reach a crescendo, or to what extent this demand will affect food security and political stability in the world.
Many believe that the food crisis is in its infancy and they worry about increasing food-based political instability worldwide.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this week he's worried that ethanol production is pushing up food prices everywhere, and he called for an urgent review of the issue. Economist Dr. Hazell has said that filling an SUV tank once with ethanol consumes more maize than the typical African eats in a year. (Ibid)

So far, Americans have been able to weather the storm. While rising fuel and food prices have generated grumbling from the populace and hand wringing from the politicians, this country has yet to experience the level of social unrest and rioting that high food prices have generated in other parts of the world.

In Haiti, ongoing instability and riots over food prices has led to the probable ousting of the nation’s Prime Minister. Newswires are reporting “A Haitian senator says that parliament has voted to dismiss Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis following deadly riots over rising food prices.” (Wire services)


A few analysts believe that the United States is on the verge of a major economic revolution, a process, which will change where we live, what we eat, and how we view agriculture. Looking at the rumbles from around the world we are already seeing wars over oil and energy resources, not to mention the violent eviction of traditional farmers in South America and other parts of the world by the industrialized bio-fuels industry.

The fight over finite land resources is slowly taking shape out of sight of most of the United States as agribusinesses lay claim to land around the world. Agro-conglomerates chase natives off tribal lands in South America, Indonesia and parts of the Far East at gunpoint. Murder over land continues in the Third World, as conglomerates move onto jungle and rain forest land, clearing acreage with slash and burn campaigns.

What was once climate producing tropical rain forest has become fields for sugar cane, corn and other biofuels. More profitable biofuel crops have now deprived the food chain of a large supply of corn and other crops, driving up the cost of corn-based food such as corn meal, tortillas, corn syrup and a hundred other crops and products which grace our tables at ever greater cost.

The food riots in Haiti are mirrored by riots in parts of Africa and Asia, sending shock waves throughout the Third World. According to a report from the United Nations, the 60 per cent price increase in the price of corn and feedstock over the past two years can be directly traced to the increased demand on corn and soybeans made by the biofuels industry. The United States, as the world’s largest exporter of corn, has diverted millions of pounds of corn and soybean crops to the growing biofuels industry, creating a market that makes fuel crops more profitable than food crops. National surpluses of grains have give way to increased demand for biofuels, driving up the price of corn and grains around the world. (World Bank)

Traditional food crops—rapeseed, maize (corn), palm and soybean are in demand by both food agriculture and the growing biofuels industry, creating an increased competition, which is driving up food costs by double digits, generating food riots around the world. Thai farmers and other farmers are now guarding rice crops, as skyrocketing grain prices are leading to crop theft and food riots around the world. According to international reports:

Rice farmers here (Thailand) are staying awake in shifts at night to guard their fields from thieves. In Peru, shortages of wheat flour are prompting the military to make bread with potato flour, a native crop. In Egypt, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso food riots have broken out in the past week. (Thoughtcriminal.org)

In Thailand and other rice and grain producing nations, food theft is rising. Crops are stolen directly from fields.

The reported thefts in five rice-growing provinces in central Thailand are the first signs of criminal activity in this region stemming from the sharpest global spike in commodity prices since the oil crisis in the mid-1970s. Across the world, higher food prices are triggering thefts and violence – both by people who can’t afford to eat and those who want to make an easy buck. (Ibid)

The United States produces 46% of the world’s biofuels, with Brazil coming in at a close second with 42%. (Biofuels: the Promise and the Risks). As a world leader in food exports, grain in particular, the United States has altered world grain markets by diverting grain into fuel production, thereby increasing demand for grains with a resultant rise in the price of the commodity because of demand. The ensuing market shortage has generated price increases in the world grain market, making food staples too expensive for much of the world’s poor to afford.

So far, Americans are mostly bystanders in the game, content to grumble at the gas pump and complain in the grocery aisles. As a “First World” nation, the United States so far has not been subject to the food riots, which we have seen in Haiti and other parts of the world. Americans have more per capita income than much of the world; hence the crisis of the Third World, so far, is inconvenience in the “First World” and in developed nations such as the United States.

That said, however, we must understand that this situation is not sustainable. While Americans do have more disposable income than the rest of the word, that income is not unlimited and our food supply is much more vulnerable than we think. When it comes to food security, both in terms of supply and accessibility, this country is much more vulnerable than we think.

As one retired grain salesman noted, most of the nation’s grain is moved around the country by just TWO railroads. Little is stored in the event of disaster and the whole system is extremely vulnerable. While we in the United States look at the food riots in other countries with a sense of disbelief, we are not immune. Under the right circumstances, we could be in the same boat. (Ibid)

In order for riots to break out the whole food supply doesn't have to be wiped out. It just has to be threatened sufficiently. When people realize their vulnerability and the fact that there is no short-term solution to a severe enough drought in the Midwest they will have no clue as to what they should do. Other nations can't make up the difference because no other nation has a surplus of grain in good times let alone in times when they are having droughts and floods also. (Robert Felix, “US Food Riots Much Closer than You Think”)

Critics say the US is currently too preoccupied with foreign excursions and oil to pay attention to food security, particularly how concentration of suppliers and processors threaten the food chain. The highly concentrated meat processing industry has generated millions of pounds of recalls this year. Outbreaks in e.coli and other food borne pathogens continue to haunt the headlines, as food prices rise around the world.

The concentration of food processing, cultivation and distribution into the hands of a few companies is wrecking havoc around the world. A Canadian reporter noted the connection between market concentration and price increases around the world:
In Mexico and most other countries, a handful of international companies is controlling more and more of the food production line—from growing crops to purchasing crops from farmers, to warehousing, processing and distribution.

Carlsen said investigations following the tortilla crisis found that huge stores of corn in warehouses had cut down the supply and led to a jump in prices. (Matthew Little, Epoch Times, “Food Prices Skyrocket Amidst Growing Shortages.”)

Food security, that is the availability and affordability of food, has been pushed aside by the War on Terror, and continues to lag behind our awareness, despite their being linked together in a dangerous dance of death, which has been created by the bio-fuels industry. Ultimately, the price of oil, depends on supply, demand and risk (War), and the price of food has now become dangerously linked to the energy market by the requirements of the fuel crop industry. We now are dealing with a ‘double whammy’ that is dangerously impeding our food supply.

Living in the “Breadbasket of the World,” it is hard for most Americans to even conceive of the idea that food could become scarce in this country. Few of us are paying attention to the close relationship between biofuel, grain crops and price inflation.

Think tank analyst Pat Mooney noted the close connection between corn and oil prices.

"The market place does now tie the price of a bushel of corn to the price of a barrel of crude and when it does that it means that poor people are going to lose out," said Mooney. (Ibid)

The world’s grain and food markets have been turned on their heads. Where once the price of fuel and oil-based fertilizers used to cultivate crops added to the cost of the crop, now the use of crops as fuel generates still another tier of demand on the world’s soils and crops.

With finite amounts of cropland, competition between fuel and food crops for land and economic resources, and unpredictable natural disasters, wars and pestilence waiting in the wings, our food supply is not as secure as we think it is.

Even the United States is not immune from the potential for food shortages, food riots and food insecurity. We’re just blind to the possibility.

The author is an activist/writer/public speaker based in the Midwest. She has written articles on the mortgage crisis, land theft, mis-education of ethnic youth and food security. Books include:
Land, Legacy and Lynching: Building a future for Black America, and Urban Asylum: Politics, Lunatics and the Refrigerator Woman.



Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Christopher Calder
Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 5:19 PM
Bill Clinton recently spoke out against ethanol production. Did pro-ethanol Hillary Clinton know what her husband was saying? Please ask Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama very tough questions about biofuels and the world food crisis, which is a global disaster that they themselves have helped create. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) plans an emergency meeting with world leaders on June 3rd, and reports say the FAO may call for an immediate suspension of all biofuel production to keep the world food supply from running out. http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_christop_080410_the_great_biofuel_fa.htm
by Human
(RUSTYPOCKETS [at] SKUNKBOX.COM) Saturday Apr 12th, 2008 7:50 PM
I read somewhere that vegitarianism can stop hunger because of all the water and land cows take up. We aren't even fit to eat meat normaly and can do with out it. Health is important. please checkout veg.org and contact me.
From what I have read, humans have always eaten meat (some good books to read might be 1492, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Joel Salatin's Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal). But since a lot more grain is used in feeding animals than if it were to go straight to humans, it does seem to be true that we have a lesser environmental impact if we eat a vegetarian diet.

HOWEVER, please note that animal poop is often used to fertilize organic fields (better animal poop than sewage, which has had all kinds of chemicals go through it- from people's showers to dumping paint down the gutter to processing...)! So can we really live without animals?
by ;;
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 1:11 PM
some need that ''meat'' protein or they cough up pnemonia blood from lacxk of that ''protein''. some people are jaguars! need that type protein, dont fool yourdelf.however , try to eat as little meat as possible, none if youre able, but face it, not all people are the same. some burn food fast, and you also need that concentrated . dont have too much sex and you will also need less meat , but even a little meat is necessary for some , it acts like that one liitle catalyst to make diet complete, eat lots ofvegetarian foods , then just a little meat makes diffeence between dizziness and flu's and survivability. less ''sex'' saves protein!
by toughguy
Sunday Apr 13th, 2008 8:07 PM
BTW excellent article..thank you
by Jagger
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 10:25 AM
The US may not have food shortages now but the price of groceries has been surging. We aren't talking 5 or 10% increases over the last year but 50% or more. Lower income people must be suffering and are aware now of food problems. If shortages appear, the middle class will wake up and join the lower class in awareness of food problems.

The idea of biofuels is crazy. Should we feed our cars or our people?

Seems like a simple question to any human being with ordinary moral sense anywhere else in the world. Why can't we easily answer that question here in America?

Biofuels does not make sense in a period of food shortages.
by Dave
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 4:06 PM
Does anybody ever discuss the cost of a barrel of oil in these articles. My farm fuel has now gone from $1.00 a gallon just a few years ago to @3.70 a gallon.
The trucks that haul the food have to raise their prices to stay in business. That cost will raise the food prices way faster than the small amout of grain in a loaf of bread or a box of corn flakes. I just heard the first quarter profits for the cereal companies and they are higher than ever. If you want to send all your money overseas for OIL go ahead and do it. I will continue to burn E-85 and support some people in the good ole USA!!!!!!!
Should you pay the same for food year after year????
Tell your car dealer you want to buy a new SUV for 1980 price!!!!!!!
by dave
Monday Apr 14th, 2008 10:05 PM
flour in canada doubled in price this week, along with pasta a box was 4.99 last week..this week it was 10.99 with signs attached saying ," due to the world shortage in wheat, we will continue to bring our customer the best possible prices " Rice was up 5.00 for a 40 lb bag.I decided to buy 6 bags of rice , 7 bags of flour, and 10 boxes of pasta just incase this is the beginnings of bigger problems, which it looks like it is ..gas hitting 1.27 ltr.= 5.08 a gallon in US funds ..The cost for transporting food is starting to skyrocket, and its now starting to show up in the price of all foods rising in price. People on fixed incomes, single moms , and min. wage workers are really starting to feel the pressure of theses rising costs. Talk to any of these people, they are hurting and are getting mad !!! I can see riots in the future in Canada.. The cost of surviving has now become unsistanable for the average canadian..something is going to give !!
by Bandersnatch
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 7:53 AM
Somehow the US has become the "Bad Guy" in this deal. Did I read some articles a couple of weeks ago (I can't remember when) about the Phillipines wanting guarantees from Vietnam and China for rice and were turned down flat? I read an article earlier today stating that the US would guarantee any shortfall they have. Funny I didn't see that mentioned.

I can empathize with with people who are hungry. I live a rural farm communtiy, village of 500 people, in the midwestern US. and have seen a number of my neighors forced onto food stamps because they lost their jobs at factories that have closed because the jobs were shipped overseas to some of the countries that are now complaining about food shortages (eg: Mexico, Phillipines, Bangladesh).

I am one of the "redneck" Americans who happen to take offense when countries vote against us, continually, in the UN and then come to us with their hands out. Check the records and find out from where most of the foreign aid of the past has come.

With the price of oil at 113.00 US, this morning, we are suddenly the "bad guys" because we want to do something about it??????

Those "evil" US Corporations are the reason that food production has risen expotentially over the last few decades, preventing this problem from happening in the past.

Sorry, I have no sympathy.

by donald canaday
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 5:45 PM
One thing people should be told is that wheat plants don't reproduce seeds for the next growing season. I heard about this a year ago on:coast to coast am.Apparently there was a farmer somewhere in Canada was suing wheat suppliers, because the wheat crops could not reproduce for the next growing season.I believe coasttocoastam is on am radio station at 740,I believe Montreal Canada. If you have a strong antenna.you might pick up the station in some parts of United States of America
by donald canaday
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 5:49 PM
I need to correct the radio station at 2200 hours on radio station 940 am band not 740 am. Sorry about that folks.no ones perfect.
by A Cow Girl thoughts
Tuesday Apr 15th, 2008 7:26 PM
I never ceases to amaze me, that prople every where on the planet just keep thinking that there is a magic act that can be performed, and the growing food crisis will just disappear. The ever wishful thinking, greedy, partying people, puffed up with self centered egos, keep pursuing lives as one big bacchanalia, never once realizing that the host ( earth ) has said the party is over, and that they have over stayed their welcomes. They have eaten everything, drank everything, trashed the house, plugged the toilet, and are still asking for more?
No one wants to cut back, go with out, or be inconvenienced one iota. Every one wants their great big slice of the pie, even if it costs some one some place else their life. In fact, we demand it, we are entitled to our slice...to hell with that guy over in Ethiopia...give us our big fat slice of pie without delay. We're Americans after all. Look at the size of our asses, you can see we are not starving! Lots and lots of pie...
We Americans are driving vehicles powered on blood oil. Make no mistake about it. It has cost millions their lives, to support a century of gluttonous oil consumtion by the west. This entire nation has been bathed in blood oil since the big oil companies have pillaged third world nations for petroleum. Americans are drunk on the stuff. They need their daily gluttonous consumption of it. Americans are never satisfied, and always want more! More oil, more pie!

It has never been advantagious to the poor sap who lives in a mud brick home to have the greedy elitist nations come in and suck their ground dry. They never see a dimes worth of improvement in their daily lives. Their government officials pad their swiss accounts, and drive around in custom made, bullet proof Mercedes Benz...but the cost of putting a meal in the mouth of the poor is still an expensive and often times not even available at an affordable price. Yet the masses continue to grow leaps and bounds by the numbers. The Earth is groaning in protest trying to house, and feed over six billion mouths daily. Mother Earth cannot keep it up. Oil has run it's deadly course over the planet. It has polluted and poisoned nearly every continent and body of water. It had ruined the atmosphere, and is killing the oceans. There is not one aspect of daily life any place where oil hasn't put it's deadly touch on it.
Soon enough the fields will not produce enough edible crops to sustain six billion starving mouths. Soon enough the carriers of all the worlds goods will slow to a halt, because oil is either too expensive or not available. There will be no more fertilizers, to help sustain viability of crops growing in areas where they wouldn't grow otherwise with out the aids of petroleum based products such as fertilizers. By 2025 there could very well be 7.5 billion human mouths that need food. Not to mention all live stocks that need to be fed as well. By 2050, there could be 10 billion mouths warring and killing each other for a cup of anything to eat. Fresh water will also be worth more than oil ever was.

Some how, the birth rates and human population growths have to be slowed down, and even reversed. The dying Earth in the future will have a tough enough time supporting 500,000 let alone a million humans. Whether by world wars, famines, diease, plagues, or genocide the world will not be able to continue as it is now. There has to be a population culling and a massive die off. The party is over for good. The days of wollowing in and living lives awash in blood oil, are over. All guilty parties who drank their fill for the last century, should be the first to feel the pangs of starvation and going without. We will be forced on a diet program from Hell!

The greedy oinkers driving around in Humvees, or 750 Horse power cars should be horse whipped in a public square. People who think they need to live in 7-10,000+ sq. ft McMansion homes should have their asses bullwhipped and be forced to work hard labor in a potato field. All ugly Americans dripping in blood oil, have a major comeuppance coming, and it is already knocking on their doors. It is about time. It has been long over due.
Americans, including myself, have been pigs at the trough of life for to long. It is time to get used to being hungry, and doing with less. The party is over! In fact, it has been crashed...by reality!
The next 100 years will be history making, as the EARTH fights back! It won't be pretty. Think extinction.
While the US is listed at #3 in world population, we are listed at #180 in population density (31 people per square kilometer).

Compare that to the other large countries (China (138 people/km2), India (336 people/km2) and Indonesia (117 people/km2) and then we can start to discuss where the problem resides. China has made some efforts to curb population growth, yet countries like India and most of Africa have population growth rates well above the world average.

Let's consider where a majority of those 6 Billion hungry mouths reside, India and China constitute over 1 Billion people each. Now let's look at the U.S. Approximately 4.7% of the world population yet we export 46% of the world grain exports. Please explain how the U.S. is the problem? I understand that we tend to live "fatter" than the rest of the world but I am a firm believer in feeding our people first beofre exporting food to countries like China which have outright banner grain export to other countries... Please do not call the United States the bad guys...

Proud to be a U.S. born tax paying citizen who continues to support the rest of the world.

In the interest of full disclosure, I do drive a car. It gets 33 MPG and I carpool to work. I don't drive a Minivan or SUV and I have not contributed to the world population problem thank you.
by amanda reaves
Thursday Apr 24th, 2008 11:14 AM
It is time to cut some of the foreign aid and focus, focus, focus on America people. People here dying because they cannot pay taxes and for prescritpions. Their tax dollars....head overseas to folks who will call us a "mean, money grabbing nations". It is time we take heed from China' s ban and think about what we do to citizens when we strip them of their money to send it to someone who has never/will never do a thing for America. Am I afraid to say I have a problem with us sending money/food to Iraq while they threaten to bomb us all??? I am not. Enough is enough....food crisis at hand, lets get real here folks......it is time to focus on America.
by Anj
Saturday May 17th, 2008 1:31 AM
You write eloquently and passionately. I could'nt agree with you more. We're going to get our due with a massive culling.
by Danielle
Saturday May 31st, 2008 2:39 PM
I believe there is going to be a famine that will affect the whole world. The high gas prices will leave truckers to go on strike...leaving no food in the stores! There was already a writers strike that literally put a stand still on the television industry. How much more then do you think a trucker's strike will shake things up? The amercian dollar is practically worthless and the ecomony is on the decline. START stocking up on food NOW. Don't regret later the chance you have now. It is better to be safe than sorry. Just think of all those stories where no one believed the signs someone pointed out that something bad would happen...such as pearl harbor, where warnings were not followed...and look at what happened!

A hidden agenda is at works...it is end times. Look for it and you will see it. The natural disasters, high gas prices, bad economy.
Plan your family. But don't buy into Malthusian nonsense that says fewer people can solve more problems. If the population dropped, there'd be fewer pilots who can ship and fewer farmers who could produce. Increase your efficiency. Don't decrease the numbers.
by sustainablelove
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 10:11 AM
Lack of workers to grow and distribute food is caused by systemic bad design: lack of education, excess non-working 'jobs' such as landlords, bankers, investors, auto dealers, auto drivers, time wasters, clothing sellers, gift shop owners, entertainment peddlers, cell-phone chatter, sitting in traffic to buy corporate food. Richard Heinberg, author of Peak Everything, wrote that the United States will need 50 million farmers to replace the wasteful fossil fuel-based agribusiness. That means 50 million slackers will need to start farming. This is 1 of 6 people in the US.

http://www.richardheinberg.com/museletter/185

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRz91eimTg

http://www.amazon.com/Peak-Everything-Century-Declines-Publishers/dp/086571598X

Wake up, plant the vegetables and fruit trees, dismantle the oil addiction cartel.

by sustainablelove
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2008 10:24 AM
Population Connection
http://populationconnection.org
http://overpopulation.org

Capitalists love to brainwash and sell products to families that are stuck with the obligation of kids. SUVs for soccer moms, toys, food, clothes that last for months, television brainwashing such as Teletubbies, textbooks, sports, entertainment, iPods, laptops, stereos, music, movies, chocolate milk, ice cream, etc. Capitalism is a growth-loving cancer. Scientists have concluded that a more ideal population limit for humans is more like 2 billion, given the finite size of the planet and it's resources and the other species and ecosystems that also have the right to a pristine natural habitat. Humans are currently at about 6.7 billion and projected to continue to grow to about 9 billion.

Stop reproducing. The existing children will be having very hard times given the rate of global warming and oil/water resource wars, water depletion.

World Watch Institute did a study years ago that found that families that limited their size were able to provide better education and health for their children. Women need to be in control of their economic future, not capitalist brainwashers, exploiters, and domineering pseudo-religion fanatics.

by John Arnbalk
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2008 8:04 AM
Actually thought the article wasn't all that well written, definitely American centric view with comments such as 'no other nation has a grain surplus in good times' - really? Pull your socks up, America more than pulls it's weight - but other countries definitely do produce surpluses at least in the good years - if not grain than some other foodstuffs, its called trade. I was reading "The history of food" by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat awhile ago, the first part of the book writes in length about the many many famines that rocked Europe. The interesting thing was according to him there was still food about, but it wasnt in the form of 'bread' the people had become accustomed to - they were starving for bread and ended up making bread out of all sorts of things, mixing grains in with dirt etc. I have no doubt Ive misrepresented what he was saying, but the allagory runs true for today. We have come to expect food to take certain forms - take the picture at the head of this article - corn is in pretty much every food you Americans produce, from the corn-fed beef to the corn syrup condiments. Similarly think the rice for Asians or taro for the Pacific islanders, point is we have our cultural preferences, we need to move away from that - we're omnivores damnit. Food security should come from diversified crops in different regions, one fails you have redundancy - and that you are eating from a cross-section of foods a balanced/healthy diet should be achieved. America has seemingly put all its eggs in one basket however, the big multinationals growing specific foods in specific regions is completely counter productive to competition and security. The other thing is, again harping back to corn - ever noticed the basket economies usually only sell one commodity, be it cotton, sugar or coffee (most blatant examples) then the bottom of the market falls out and oh no, impoverished again. Probably wont happen with corn since it is a staple - but certainly the unhealthy relationship with ethanol/speculation means that those farmers already taking a hit having to grow more for less profit each year....not useful, nor really is the GM stuff. Those here saying we have reached a population tipping point, or are about to - I'm inclined to agree but with a few caveats. The problem since the green revolution seems to have been simplifying nature and economics. Grow a mono crop, fertilize with NPK, bug issue? spray - farmer doesnt get paid enough, expand farm/get bought up. Increased yields? short term yes, and easier to harvest - but it needs more and more exotic solutions to maintain + expand, meanwhile killing the ecosystem faster than the global warming bit. The same simplification process with the meat in the US - just put in shed, feed grain/antibiotics = prime beef/chicken/pork(whatever). For those here saying you shouldnt eat meat and go veg - think about that ofen cited figure of it takes 16 pounds of grain to make 1 pount of beef - ok this was grabbed from a biased website (http://www.beeffrompasturetoplate.org) but it begs the question - wtf are you doing filling a ruminant animal full of grains? If we're talking grain equivalent in grass etc than realize what the cow etc is doing a great thing - mowing down that grass and putting it back in the soil. Sure its producing some methane on the way but its stimulating increased plant growth + adding to the carbon store in the soil. Not that im advocate meat every day and hell no to the factory pig etc - im just saying livestock has its place, The other thing is, say we were all to go vegetarian - would all that spare feed make it to human tables? Heck no, those disparities that exist between 3rd/1st world places would still exist - even if it didn't...can we say population boom (followed by later exacerbated crisis). I got off topic a bit - so in brief yes the US is hosed as are most places - water/oil issues brought about by overpopulation - the US is still better insulated than most places, mostly.
by John Arnbalk
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2008 8:07 AM
I did have paragraphs, honest.
by Charles Vaden
Tuesday Jan 11th, 2011 11:32 AM
George Simmel, sociologist, stated money is the purest form of a tool. We need to create a monetary tool that is based on individual worth with the "money to be made" focused on service to the least. This whole delimma is an inside game (perception of worth) the wealth of a nation is a condition of its people not an act of super accumulation by a few for a few. When we reinvent money based on individual worth we as a human race may live up to the greatness we as a whole were intended
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