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How Much Longer Can We Feed The Planet's People?

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posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 10:50 AM
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Economic Theory and the Ultimate Inability fo Feed the Populatoin

It is often stated that Carlyle gave economics the nickname "dismal science" as a response to the late 18th century writings of The Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) who grimly predicted that starvation would result as projected population growth exceeded the rate of increase in the food supply. Carlyle did indeed use the word 'dismal' in relation to Malthus' theory in his essay Chartism (1839) replying to Malthus's earlier and well received treatise An Essay on the Principle of Population. (1826).

I subscribe to the Malthus Theorem. He had observed that the population tended to grow geometrically, whereas the production of food was increasing only arithmetically. The former of course is the simple observation that more people propagate more people. And the latter is supported by the relatively fixed amount of arable land and in Malthus’ day, to the very slow improvement of farming techniques was not progressing nearly as fast as the growth in populations.

Around 1820, he predicted population would exceed food supply in 9 (or 10) generations. A generation is often given as 20 years. Two significant events have postponed the dreaded fulfillment of his prediction. 1) The mechanical revolution introduced by such mechanical marvels as the McCormick reaper and 2) the green revolution of the 1960s when the application of chemicals to increase production per acre became available. A third yet to be fully appreciated advancement, genetic engineering, will no doubt again prolong the time we should all dread, when population exceeds productivity. We have been warned more than 200 years ago that TOO many poeple spells DISASTER. We can see that espeically in sub-Saharan Africa today. If we care to look.

I cannot help but think Malthus was on to something AND that the technological and scientific advances have merely prolonged the time when those 2 lines on the graph will CROSS!

Limited supplies of fresh (potable) water will limit the amount of food we can grow depsite all our acheivements in chemistry and genetics. We are fast approaching THAT limit.

[edit on 2/11/2009 by donwhite]




posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 11:53 AM
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We can feed everybody fine if we actually wanted to, and it also brings the question feed them what.

They are quite a few different things we could feed humans the problem is that most of the stuff would be of extremely unpleasant taste to humans.

If everybody on the planet only used what we really need everybody would be done fine but that will never happen sad to say.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 11:55 AM
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I fail to understand how someone as bright as yourself has failed to realize that we have never fed the planet's people. As far as I am aware, we are not currently either.... I'm really not trolling, but c'mon......It will continue to be as it has always been.....






~Hyp



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 12:54 PM
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reply to post by jatsc
 




We can feed everybody fine if we actually wanted to, and it also brings the question feed them what. They are quite a few different things we could feed humans the problem is that most of the stuff would be of extremely unpleasant taste to humans. If everybody on the planet only used what we really need everybody would be done fine but that will never happen sad to say.



Two responses. First, you are right. Second, but only for the short term future. Demographers tells us that even if we went on strict birth control measures, the population will exceed 8 or 9 billion before it levels off. 2040, 2050. Evidence of this is found in the Chinese one-child rule adopted in 1977. Chinese population started at 800 million then and is now said to be 1.3 billion and will rise to 1.4 or 1.5 billion before it finally levels off.

India with no population control to speak off, will surpass China’s population around 2030. And where it will end is anybody’s guess. China has 3 million square miles but India has fewer than 1 million square miles. Plus, Hinduism is a real limit on the food supply and it is going to be as easy (or as hard) to get Indians to give up their religion as it is proving to be in the West (Christianity) and the Middle East. (Islam)

Most of western Europe has been into negative growth - oxymoron - for two generations and they - the natives - show no interest in reversing that trend. Immigrants there as well as here will provide the greatest impetus for more people in the near term future. Both the EU and the US need more workers to support the retirees coming on line shortly. 1945 + 65 = 2010. The Baby Boomers.

Water is going to prove not only to be of more value than crude oil but will be available only in a fixed quantity which oil seems not to be. Peak water will come before peak oil. We cannot continue to expend 1,400 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol. All the more so when you recall that so much of the water for the corn and soy beans is pumped from the great middle west Ogallala Aquifer that was filled as the last Ice Age melted away. 15,000 years ago. A treasure the Sahara dwellers would kill/die for but which we waste on ethanol when we could buy it 55 cents a gallon cheaper from Brazil. And save our water for food, of much higher value than ethanol ever will be.

As for the foul tasting food, if you watch any of those Wild Man or other survivor shows, you will see them eating things I sure would not want to eat today, but when you get hungry enough, you will eat anything, including your fellow humans as the Easter Islanders proved.

reply to post by HypnoAsp
 




I fail to understand how someone as bright as yourself has failed to realize that we have never fed the planet's people. As far as I am aware, we are not currently either. ... I'm really not trolling, but c'mon. .....It will continue to be as it has always been. ....



I’m not sure Mr. Jatsc meant the US was feeding the world. It is easy to get that idea when you hear only American MSM news. Actually we provide a very small amount of the total food aid around the world and a smaller percentage of our production goes abroad - free I’m talking and not sold - than most any other country furnishes.

Yes, attitudes formed over centuries will be slow and hard to change all the more so because we are not sure how or why to change. Like global warming and climate change, we cannot get a common handle on that and I’m sitting here worried we will pass the tipping point before we know it. Example: In 1956, M. King Hubbert of Shell Oil Co., predicted that US oil production would peak around 1965-70. FACT: Since 1974 US production of crude has steadily declined. This shows the problem of predictions. We won’t know until AFTER the fact if this guy or that guy was right.


[edit on 2/11/2009 by donwhite]



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 01:17 PM
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If one were to give 1/4 acre to every human - adult and child - in Australia, there would still be some of Australia left over. Granted not ALL of it could be farmed, but there would still be the rest of the world to work with.

1/4 acre would support one individual. By this I might figure that this planet can supprt us all a minimum of five times over. The problem is that our resources are VERY badly managed.

I offer a solution - a map to bringing forth abundance - in the book I wrote. The discussion thread is linked in my sig, and the link to the book (PDF) hosted on the ATS Media site is in the first post.

Thanks to any who read what I have written and especially for any comments afterwards.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 06:35 PM
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Starvation has little to do with arable land, and more to do with oil. Oil=Food. It's a fact.

The reason we have large corporate farms is because they tend to be far more efficient in the use of existing resources than having hundreds of thousands of amatuers attempting to do the same thing.

There are three issues going on here, which can be charted.

One is the discovery of oil fields and production of oil, which even when it is increasing, it is far outpaced by the growth in population and the third very important factor: industrialization.

Not only do greater numbers of people have demand for oil, but so do emerging countries. China and India are experiencing a significant rate of progress in their industries which is dependent on fuel. Now there are greater numbers of countries competing for oil.

You also must realize that oil is a finite resource on this planet. As the demand increases, you can expect continued wars for resources.

It's also a fact that our planet is already 700 million over carrying capacity. There was starvation and riots throughout 2008, this year will be worse.

The reason that farmers produce more is directly tied to fossil fuels. Not only in the utilization of mechanization, but in fertilizers and shipping food to market. So as industrialization eats up more and more oil, that means there is less for food production. This results in higher prices and more starvation as food is kept out of reach of the poorest of society.

Currently, the US diverts 30% of its grain crops toward the production of biofuels. So in America, you could say Food=Oil. This is another issue, along with the fact that there is no longer a two year supply of grain in the US.

Also, the US tends to export its grain to first world countries such as Japan, Europe and South America. When the US does not ship food, those countries either go hungry, or turn to other sources, such as rice. This means greater demand and higher prices for second world nations, which in turn means no food for the poorest of the poor. People already living on the edge will die of starvation.

You will see it happen on a large scale during 2009. Global shipping problems could result in first world nations starving to death. If Japan cannot bring in enough food for its citizens, there is not enough land (much less infrastructure) to grow it. This same scenario is played out cross northern Europe and the urban centers of South America.

Without oil to get the food from the farms to the urban areas, Americans too will starve.

Another issue is that the fluctuating oil prices of 2008 wreaked havoc on farming in the US. Because the bottom fell out of grain prices after the harvest, and the current economic conditions coupled with a lack of available credit, many farmers will not be growing as much. This isn't Joe Blow with a few acres, but big farms producing enormous amounts of food.

Food prices are already skyrocketing, but is still within reach of most people, so it is not noticed. But a look around at food banks and what is happening as a result of this depression, and you'll get a good picture that 2009 is going to be the year of hunger, with the 2010 the year of starvation.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 06:42 PM
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Too many people, not enough food. Seems both will solve each other's problems. Food shortage=starvation=fewer people=more food. Problem solved.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 06:51 PM
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Actually, no. It is too many people, too little oil, not enough food. It isn't an issue of space, or the amount of food which can be produced, it is the availability of oil.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by VelmaLu
 




Actually, no. It is too many people, too little oil, not enough food. It isn't an issue of space, or the amount of food which can be produced, it is the availability of oil.



Matthew Simmons is a former petroleum engineer who worked in the oil fields in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s and 1990s. He is a Hubbert peak oil proponent. There have only been two mega fields ever discovered, the first in East Texas in the 1910s and the second in Saudi Arabia around 1949. Texas Is nearly dry and the Saudi Arabian field is well on its down side as far as its pumping life is concerned.

Simmons currently argues that the oil producers are keeping it a very deep secret how much oil remains in their fields. He says the last reliable and honest estimations about crude oil in the ground were made in the mid-1970s. Each country now finds itself in the position of LOSING power and influence if the world thinks it is about out of oil. So, the countries all try to make the world think they have lots of oil.

At 20 million barrels per day, the US consumes about THREE gallons of crude, per person, per day. One-third for transportation, one-third for food and one-third for manufacturing all the things made out of oil. About 95% of the things we touch are made entirely or partially out of oil or natural gas. We are so heavily dependent on oil and gas that it is nearly impossible to conceive of our life on planet earth without oil. But see Note 1 following.


Note 1.
Given the mounting toll of fouled oceans, overheated air, missing topsoil, and mass extinctions, we might sometimes wonder what our planet would be like if humans suddenly disappeared. Would Superfund sites revert to Gardens of Eden? Would the seas again fill with fish? Would our concrete cities crumble to dust from the force of tree roots, water, and weeds? How long would it take for our traces to vanish? And if we could answer such questions, would we be more in awe of the changes we have wrought, or of nature’s resilience?

A good place to start searching for answers is in Korea, in the 155-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide mountainous Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, set up by the armistice ending the Korean War. Aside from rare military patrols or desperate souls fleeing North Korea, humans have barely set foot in the strip since 1953. Before that, for 5,000 years, the area was populated by rice farmers who carved the land into paddies.

Today those paddies have become barely discernible, transformed into pockets of marsh, and the new occupants of these lands arrive as dazzling white squadrons of red-crowned cranes that glide over the bulrushes in perfect formation, touching down so lightly that they detonate no land mines. Next to whooping cranes, they are the rarest such birds on Earth. They winter in the DMZ alongside the endangered white-naped cranes, revered in Asia as sacred portents of peace.
discovermagazine.com...

[edit on 2/11/2009 by donwhite]



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 08:58 PM
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reply to post by jatsc
 

We waste a lot of our farming potential by growing crops for livestock.

If we stopped building massive housing additions on arable land
that would help too.

We can also do hydroponics and vertical hydroponics in the desert areas.

Also we need to stop paying farmers to grow nothing.

We also need to follow what has been learned from natural organic
biodynamic agriculture and permaculture.

The water problem can be solved doing what rome did a long time ago.

Aqueducts from the mountains to the crop land.

We have massive floods in some areas while other are dry, we just
need a water grid like we have an electric grid.

We need to stop treating and purifying water that is going to be used
to flush a toilet or water the yard.

We need two separate water grades, and we need to capture all methand
from all the sewers and use it for power as it is roughly natural gas.



posted on Feb, 11 2009 @ 10:49 PM
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Simmons currently argues that the oil producers are keeping it a very deep secret how much oil remains in their fields. He says the last reliable and honest estimations about crude oil in the ground were made in the mid-1970s. Each country now finds itself in the position of LOSING power and influence if the world thinks it is about out of oil. So, the countries all try to make the world think they have lots of oil.


Unfortunately, most people in the US, Canada and Europe have no clue about peak oil and its implications for our future standard of living, and that it is driving the current global depression and conflicts.

For anyone interested in getting an education on this:







posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 12:23 PM
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Given that we have a number of reports - not the least of which came from Gary McKinnon who hacked into black ops computers (and I know they were black ops because of what he found...) - we have the ability to draw energy from the plenum (the opposite of "vacuum"). "Free energy," in other words.

Free energy, of course is the ultimate foe of oil and has been suppressed since Tesla. And the fact that we could produce clean abundance with free energy suggests that if this tech were released, we would NOT starve, but rather be able to live in abundance.

I discuss this in my book (linked below). It's free to read.



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 12:28 PM
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reply to post by donwhite
 


Stop stop stop.

Of 172 world governments 49 currently pay farmers to NOT produce to maintain prices.

We DO NOT have food production problems. We have DISTRIBUTION problems.

In 1953 U.S farmers dumped grain in the Atlantic to maintain prices after a bumper crop.

Please stop with the "Bell Jar" panic. We are in natural equilibrium.



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 05:07 PM
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reply to post by VelmaLu
 




Unfortunately, most people in the US, Canada and Europe have no clue about peak oil and its implications for our future standard of living, and that it is driving the current global depression and conflicts. For anyone interested in getting an education on this:



Thank you VelmaLu for the very good and informative youtube plays. He is the man!

[edit on 2/12/2009 by donwhite]



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 05:21 PM
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reply to post by crmanager
 




Stop stop stop. Of 172 world governments 49 currently pay farmers to NOT produce to maintain prices. We DO NOT have food production problems. We have DISTRIBUTION problems. In 1953 U.S farmers dumped grain in the Atlantic to maintain prices after a bumper crop.



I do not know if your count of 49 is accurate but I'm willing to accept that. I do agree that we have a DISTRIBUTION problem but I'm not willing to agree there is NO production problem. Those 2 are not mutually exclusive. I have heard that in the 1930s milk was dumped, but the story about sending wheat out to sea for dumping is counter-intuitive. There are too many ways more efficient and much cheaper to accomplish the same end. Like letting it lay on the ground overnight and getting damp. I can't agree to that.




Please stop with the "Bell Jar" panic. We are in natural equilibrium.



With 16,000 to 26,000 children dying every day from lack of food and 2 billion people going to bed every night hungry, I cannot agree with this statement either.



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 07:01 PM
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OP you're smart but you scare me. I'm with crmanager - there's plenty to go around, if we wanted to.

However access equals control equals power, so we have this feigned illusion of scarce resources to keep us all scared and in line.



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 08:42 PM
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reply to post by Sergeant Stiletto
 




OP you're smart but you scare me. I'm with crmanager - there's plenty to go around, if we wanted to. However access equals control equals power, so we have this feigned illusion of scarce resources to keep us all scared and in line.



I get to read a lot. What you say about " . . access equals control equals power . . " so well describes what has and is happening that it takes a stubborn person like me to resist. You are putting up Occam's razor and calling me out. But I'm anti-conspiratorial because I doubt there are enough smart people to keep a good one running.


Foot Note. Occam's or Ockham's razor, is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar, William of Ockham. The principle states that the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference . . en.wikipedia.org...'s_razor


[edit on 2/13/2009 by donwhite]



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 09:30 PM
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You are absolutely correct about the number of children dying. BUT...

That does not mean there is no food. That means THEY have no food.

The U.S. ships food to despots world wide who steal the food and sell it. Darfur is #1 on that list.

We have genetically enhanced food. We have new farming techniques. We also have simple greed.



posted on Feb, 12 2009 @ 09:45 PM
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Forever.

Technology can create enough energy to grow enough life for us to feed forever.

The only problem is that this technology is being kept from us.



High-rise buildings, layers of soil, floor upon floor of high-intensity discharge lamps shining night and day, growing plants for food... enough for everyone, everywhere.



posted on Feb, 13 2009 @ 01:06 AM
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Oh please. Please do some rudimentary research on the topic. Start with Thomas Robert Malthus. Then look at population growth, especially if you are going to cite statistics from the 1930s. At least be relevant. There were only 2 billion people living during that time. We're quickly approaching 7 billion.

Growing food requires oil. Fertilizers require oil. Distribution of food requires oil. Pumping water requires oil. Manufacturing solar panels for high intensity lights requires oil.

Starvation is not the result of a scarcity of food. Starvation is the result of a scarcity of oil.

Oil production has peaked while population grows exponentially along with demand as more nations become industrialized.

It's over folks. People will starve to death this year in mass numbers.




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