[Beowulf] Re: "hobbyists" still OT

Peter St. John peter.st.john at gmail.com
Wed Jun 25 16:38:42 PDT 2008


Yes. You may get flamed, but the US (and Canada) produce remarkable food per
acre and per man-hour, compared to anyone else. Technology, the heavy
industry and infrastructure for the tech to proliferate, fertilizer,
irrigation, and a continent worth of arable land. Our food is actually
pretty cheap. One guy breaking his back for an acre in the third world works
the acre cheaper than we can, but he does not produce as much food per acre
as we do, so he can't feed his neighbors.

But to do this in the third world takes not just the technology, but the
infrastructure to support it, and social changes. In a society where more
food directly means more babies (because if more babies, there is a higher
chance one of them will live long enough to take care of me in my old age),
there can never be enough food. Alot has to change, socially, politically,
technologically, industrially. Plus not everyone has as much arable land as
in North America. Europe has all the tech but is older, more crowded, less
arable land per capita.

Everything is complicated.


On 6/25/08, Prentice Bisbal <prentice at ias.edu> wrote:
> > Vincent Diepeveen wrote:
> >>
> >> Some 3d world country managers are begging to adress this issue: "My
> >> nations people die,
> >> as your bio fuel raises our food prices, the poor are so poor here,
> >> they use that stuff as food
> >> and cannot afford it now".
> <rant>
> All this discussion of politics is completely off topic for this list,
> but with all this talk about food shortages, I feel I need to state the
> obvious facts that everyone overlooks. I'm sure I'll get flamed for
> this, but I don't care:
> The United States alone produces enough grain to feed the entire world.
> This was true when I was taught this in 3rd grade, and with modern
> technology (genetic engineering, automated farm equipment, etc.), that
> is even more true today.
> People are starving in other parts of the world because of political or
> economic factors. There have been multiple cases of the US or UN
> providing food to starving countries only to have the tyrannical
> dictator hoard the food for his ruling class and not distribute it to
> the general population.
> And then there's Myanmar... The government refused aid, and watched as
> its people died, rather than accept help.
> Those are political examples. For economics, consider foreign
> governments not bothering to provide aid to starving countries b/c that
> country has nothing to offer in return.
> Watch the movie "Hotel Rwanda". I guarantee you that if Rwanda had
> exploitable oil reserves, the US would have intervened almost
> immediately. What happened there was *MUCH* worse than what the Iraqis
> suffered under Hussein. The difference? Iraq has oil, and Rwanda does not.
> To reitierate: The US alone can produce more than enough grain to feed
> the whole world. If people are starving, it's because of politics and
> economics, not an inability of the world's farmer to grow enough crops.
> All this talk about biofuels causing people to starve is a load of crap.
> I won't even speculate with BS like this originates.
> >>
> >> USA nor Europe can *never* produce that stuff as cheap as 3d world
> >> countries can.
> >>
> Vincent, you are completely off-base here. The US (and the rest of the
> modern world) can produce crops cheaper than anyone else. Modern
> machinery, which 3rd world farmers don't have, reduce labor costs
> drastically and can run around the clock. While human labor might be
> significantly cheaper somewhere else, what 2 US farmers can accomplish
> with modern machinery would take hundreds (thousands?) of manual
> laborers to produce elsewhere.
> For example, John Deere make a tractor that runs on GPS. A farmer can
> program it, and then let it do it's thing. Since it runs by GPS, it runs
> itself 24 hours a day, doesn't miss any of the crop, nor overlap, for
> maximum efficiency. Someone justs has to make sure it doesn't run out of
> gas. That's much easier than hundreds of laborers swinging scyths
> somewhere in Africa or Asia, and I bet it's much cheaper per pound of
> grain produced per unit of time.
> </rant>
> --
> Prentice
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