Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Farmers Are SO 10,000 Years Ago....

Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.

This was a creepy article, I have to say. As reported widely in business and mainstream press, the ILO recently released world market employment statistics. Most outlets focused on US economic competitiveness vs. China and Europe. However, there was an important and often-overlooked bit of info in the report: for the first time since the invention of agriculture, farming is not the biggest sector of the global economy — services is. Workers are now moving directly from agriculture to services, bypassing the traditional route of manufacturing, since manufacturing is now directly a robotics process and indirectly a service industry.

"At a time when doom-sayers were hopping around saying everyone was going to starve, Norman was working. He moved to Mexico and lived among the people there until he figured out how to improve the output of the farmers. So that saved a million lives. Then he packed up his family and moved to India, where in spite of a war with Pakistan, he managed to introduce new wheat strains that quadrupled their food output. So that saved another million. You get it? But he wasn't done. He did the same thing with a new rice in China. He's doing the same thing in Afica -- as much of Africa as he's allowed to visit. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. That's BILLION! BUH! That's Carl Sagan BILLION with a "B"! And most of them were a different race from him. Norman is the greatest human being, and you probably never heard of him."

I've learned a lot from my wife, and from her parents farm. With the current world population, did you know that it works out to 4.2 acres of land surface per person... that's man, woman, AND child? The average family would have 20 acres to themselves. A person can produce all the food they need for a whole year on less than once acre, CONSIDERABLY less if they work it well. Taking into account that roughly 50% of the world isn't arable (mountains, deserts, New Jersey), that still means that if everyone used half of their 2 arable acres for food, everyone would have all the food they could possibly eat, as well a 3 acre lot with excellent views of the family garden. It's simplistic, but it gets the point across.

I think we risk becoming the best informed society
that has ever died of ignorance.

Well, that's my global opinion for the day. We now return you to your regularly scheduled video.


Stephanie said...

Anonymous said...

Interesting post :D
...and once again I have nothing to add...
I just found the Futurama reference amazing ^_^
That is all.

Marblehead Johnson said...

I Had a Futurama reference?

Also, who are you?

Anonymous said...

I coulda sworn the New Jersey thing was from Futurama... or something?

I'm a random xkcd lurker and stumbled upon you're blog thingy not too long ago. If I run out of things to procrastinate with or if I'm on xkcd and the title of your blog seems interesting I check it out (...ok, I get the feeling I'm being creepy :/ I'll stop reading these if you want)

Marblehead Johnson said...

AH, ok :) Yeah, the Jersey thing was sort of homaged to Futurama. Didn't notice it.

Also, I'm glad my sig works!