Monday, May 5, 2008

A few stray points on food and fuel

What puzzles me is, if food is becoming increasingly expensive and there is a potential conflict over using corn for fuel, shouldn't we stop paying farmers not to grow crops? (see)

Food for thought

I think that Malthus was way off. For those of you not aware of this, Thomas Malthus was an early-19th century economist who, upon examining the world's first ever comprehensive and compete inventory of the world's vital and economic statistics, concluded that population would always outstrip means of sustenance. This would only be kept in check by war, disease and starvation, and an increasing majority of humanity would have to live out their lives suffering and deprived. Combine this with the emergence of Social Darwinism and you have two policy-driving theories that have been functioning as self-fulfilling prophecies, helping to create all manner of unnecessary and horrible conditions for the majority of humans on this planet. Many things seemingly crazy in this world start to make sense when one views them through this distorted lens.

For an excellent visualization of world poverty see this. Those of you out there making over $30,000 a year should definitely watch this video.

I subscribe to Buckminster Fuller's assertion that, "Technologi­cally we now have four billion billionaires onboard Spaceship Earth who are entirely unaware of their good fortune. Unbeknownst to them, their legacy is being held in probate by general ignorance, fear (and) selfishness." (R. Buckminster Fuller - Critical Path, 1981)

There is plenty enough to go around. If we made it an actual rubber-meets-the-road priority, we could realize our good fortune. Every person uplifted from poverty fuels markets, creates wealth and contributes human potential at a time when we need all we can get. It is truly a win-win scenario. If the will is there, there is no reason why we can't succeed as a species.

When over 80% of the world's population is living in poverty, we cannot claim any form of overall success, no matter how great our accomplishments.

Question: Since our current method of throwing money at problems doesn't seem to be working out so well, how can we actually and effectively deal with poverty, hunger and disease?

Another question: Should fuel and staple foods be treated as a public utility?

Feedback is encouraged.


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