Saturday, December 6, 2008

Let the Stupid Grow the Food

Let the Stupid Grow the Food

Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? Those who are not smart enough to do anything else, let them grow the food we eat. Intelligent and talented people should be doing things that require talent and intelligence, not wasting their lives doing stupid things like growing food.

Some aspects of food are admittedly important, requiring skill and training, but growing it is not one of them. An intelligent person, should they wish to be involved with food, could run a grocery store, or become a food broker, or own or manage a restaurant. They could go into government and make rules and regulate food production or food safety. A talented and creative person could be a chef, run a catering service, design menus, make fancy pastries and decorate cakes; these are all respectable occupations and often well paid ones, unlike farming.

One great thing about the free market is that it clearly lets us know what is important and what isn’t: Important work is well-paid. If producing food were an important occupation, it would be a well paid one. Agriculture is pretty much the lowest paying job worldwide, which clearly shows its lack of importance.

Growing food is perfectly suited for stupid people, as all it consists of is driving a tractor around, putting some seeds in the ground, and then harvesting the plants that grow from the seeds. Any moron can do that, and there is nothing sadder than to see talent and intelligence wasted on a boring, unskilled and dead end job like farming. Luckily our modern society has long since seen the truth of that and young, intelligent, creative, and especially ambitious people know better than to waste their lives in agriculture.

There’s a reason that people tell “dumb farmer” jokes, you know. Let’s face it, though farmers are a minority, they certainly don’t rate minority status and protection like women, colored people, or homosexuals do. It is not nice to make fun of those who can’t help what they are, but farmers can decide what they want to do, and if they are too stupid and lazy to find anything better to do, they should expect to be made fun of.

It hasn’t always been as clear and straightforward as it is today. Back in the days before modern education and communications, lots of people simply didn’t know any better than to be farmers. Much of the ignorance and misguided choices of the past can be forgiven because not only didn’t people know better, in a lot of cases they didn’t have much choice. There were no such things as supermarkets, and in most countries there weren’t even that many big cities to provide decent and respectable employment for smart people. Most people were born on farms and they needed to grow food just to be able to eat and maybe sell a few things for money. They had little education and relied on printed books and newspapers for information, and what sort of books would one expect to find on a farm? How to Grow Corn? Milking Cows for Fun and Profit? Ha ha.

Sadly, even those who should have known better seemingly didn’t. In the USA even educated men like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were farmers. Both men went on and on in their journals about their farms, what and where and when they planted, how they fertilized the crops, incredibly boring subjects. Jefferson even had some wacky idea about the “yeoman farmer” who was self-sufficient, sovereign, and free. As if anyone digging in the dirt for a living cared about such lofty things. Whatever was he thinking?

Throughout the 1700s and up to the late 1800s countless brilliant minds were wasted on the dead-end of agriculture. What marvelous and truly useful inventions would Jethro Tull, John Deere, Eli Whitney, or Cyrus McCormick have come up with had they not wasted their time on farm equipment? The delusion got so bad during the mid-1800s that respectable scientists actually discussed agriculture in science journals. There were even whole magazines with names such as The Gentleman Farmer. Now there’s an oxymoron for you.

Luckily for us, the 1800s also brought the Industrial Revolution and the rise of corporate capitalism. Smart and ambitious people were no longer imprisoned in dead-end jobs like farming. Opportunity beckoned in the new factories and bustling cities, where one could work for real wages and buy the things they wanted and needed. Those in other hopeless careers benefitted as well: village carpenters and blacksmiths, weavers and seamstresses were no longer confined to purposeless obscurity in the countryside, no longer forced to make things one at a time for ignorant bumpkins. They could now move to the city and get a real job in mass production, tending the machines that made such better and more uniform products, perhaps even rising to the level of foreman or manager. These former “hicks from the sticks” were no longer at the mercy of the vagaries of weather and climate; they could rely on the comforting security of a paycheck at the end of every week.

By the early 1900s, some benefit came to those still stuck in agriculture from the tinkering with farm machinery and the invention of the steam engine and later the internal combustion engine. Farmers were no longer limited to using smelly, sweaty horses and oxen to pull their plows and their wagons. The self-propelled wheeled tractor came into its own, as did the threshing machine and later the combine. The equipment dealers selling the machinery offered incentives to modernize, often accepting a team of work horses as a trade-in on a new tractor, quite a kindness on their part, as all they were able to do with the now-useless animals was to sell them to the slaughterhouses and pet food factories, but at least the farmers didn’t have to feed them anymore.

A single farmer could now farm a large acreage, sell the crops, and use the money they earned to pay back the bank and the farm equipment dealer and often still have money left to buy food, fuel, seeds, fertilizer, and whatever else was needed or desired that he was no longer forced to grow or make himself.

Even some of the work of the nineteenth century agricultural “scientists” paid off eventually with the invention of new synthetic fertilizers that could coax bumper crops out of the most worn-out soil and new hybrid plant strains that didn’t need anything but modern concentrated fertilizers to thrive, along with marvelous insecticides to handle the bugs that seemed to be strangely attracted to the new crops.

The lone farmer now cultivating hundreds of acres and raising thousands of bushels of grain almost singlehandedly naturally benefited almost everyone as the price of crops fell, and there was need for far fewer farmers. The farmer’s children, the smart ones anyway, got the message and went to the cities where they could live a civilized life far from the dirt, sweat, and smells of their primitive forebears. They learned to be clerks and accountants, shopkeepers and secretaries. They lived in clean apartments with electric lights and running water. No longer did the girls need to perform degrading jobs like baking bread or sewing clothes for the family, no longer did the boys need to work at demeaning tasks like plowing and planting, or learn about greasy machinery or building or taking care of animals. In the cities they could earn money and buy the fruits of machine labor, marvelous and shiny and modern. Food and meals came from the supermarket or the restaurants without sweat or effort on their part.

Many of the smarter farm kids even went to college or University and learned how to do important things that could make them a lot of money in the city. The dumb ones mostly stayed on the farm, but there were a few who desired some education yet weren’t quite bright enough to understand that simple and unskilled tasks like growing food were best left to those who weren’t capable of anything better.

Back in the 1800s many state governments had created something called “agricultural colleges” and they still existed up ‘til the mid-1900s, more or less as a place where the farm kids smart enough to read and write but not bright enough for real colleges could go and get degrees in cow science or plow theory or something. Around 1950 the big chemical, fertilizer, and seed corporations saw an opportunity there and were kind enough to fund whole new programs where those students destined to return to farming could be educated in how to farm more efficiently using pesticides, weed killers, concentrated chemical fertilizers and hybrid crops. Thus the corporations were able to make the best out of an unfortunate situation: the semi-intelligent farm kids could at least be trained to buy and use the right things when they went back to the farm, and they could pretend that they were part of the important industrial economy and not just dumb farmers.

In some ways the whole process has worked as a speeded-up Darwinian selection program: over the course of a few generations we have managed to free the intelligent and valuable members of our society for truly productive and important jobs like being lawyers, business executives, and government bureaucrats while leaving something to do for those lacking in such vision, intelligence, and capability.

A few Luddites have raised the “alarm” by noting that there are now so few family farms left that the US Census Bureau no longer counts farming as an occupation, or pointing out that the average age of US farmers is over 65, but obviously this is a false alarm. The multinational corporations will as always come to our rescue; actually they already have. Corporate agribusinesses are farming millions of acres using the latest high-tech computerized farm machinery and GPS positioning; they hardly even need a person to drive the tractor. The wonderful new Transgenic GMO crops produce their own insecticides to kill any bug foolish enough to try to eat them, yet we know these systemic insecticides pose no harm to us because corporate scientists have assured us they are safe. Really modern corporate farms needn’t even worry much about plant or soil diseases; they can cover the entire field with plastic sheeting, then inject soil sterilants and fumigants to kill off any pesky soil life. Wouldn’t you really rather have your food grown in nice, clean, sterile soil? Of course you would.

As for the ninnies who complain about this efficiently grown food lacking a few nutrients, they should be thankful that those more intelligent and farsighted than them are now staffing the pharmaceutical laboratories and hospitals and have things well under control.

Meanwhile, the corporations will still need a few unintelligent button pushers to sit in the cabs of that computerized GPS-positioned farm machinery, at least for a while longer. By the time the great day comes that all food production is fully automated and industrialized, the more intelligent among us who are now running the corporations and the government may have found some suitable make-work position for those simply unable to contribute to modern society and unable to “fit in” in the city.

The best and brightest have left agriculture for at least the past two hundred years, leaving only the dullards behind to reproduce; surely that lineage has produced about all the worthwhile offspring it is going to and we can only expect things to get worse. If nothing else, perhaps special reservations can be set up in some unneeded parts of the countryside where these sorts of people can be kept out of harm’s way until they naturally die out. It would be a kindness to all concerned.

[Disclaimer and Note: This essay is meant as sarcasm. The point I'm trying to get across is that growing good food is a very important task and art. It should (and does) attract highly intelligent and skilled people and those growing excellent food should be honored and well compensated.]

46 comments:

Philomena said...

Hi Miquel -- gave a quick read to your essay. Will return later this evening to tell the story about my grandfather Michael Angelo Del Campo. He was the master garderner for Dupont Estate in Delaware in the early 1900's until he died at age 52 from colon cancer.

Since he is the only member of our family who passed away from a cancer disease - I always suspected a connection between the new dow chemical fertilizers he was forced to use on the estate and his untimely death of colon cancer.

Goddess Bless my grandfather -- as he was the one who made me think deeper about the organic soil mineral connection versus the use of toxic chemical fertilizers.

I am an avid gardener and lover of Gaia.... I have pledged my life to sustaining our planet in a natural and intelligent manner.

And Bless you Michael -- is it a coincidence that you have the same first name as my dearly beloved grandfather?

Hmmm -- perhaps you are his reincarnation..;)

Philomena

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fpEgurO-ec

Coke/Pepsi used as pesticides for agriculture...

Classic example for the case you make in "let the stuoid grow the food"
B I Z A R R E
Philomena

m_astera said...

Hi Philo-

I have been called Michael Angelo before, but that was in regard to ornate ceilings and my day job.

Thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to hearing more about your grandfather. My maternal grandfather was a farmer in the Dakotas; he died of stomach and intestinal cancer in his early sixties. I don't know that anyone made him use ag chemicals, but that was the modern thing back in the 1950s and they were considered perfectly safe. Health has pretty much gone downhill for everyone in the Dakota farm country ever since, with cancer and Parkinson's disease being rampant. What's really sad and disturbing about that is that area of the country has some of the richest and best-mineralized soil in the world. The people there should be living to 100+ in good health.

notamobster said...

I don't know anything about farming, but my dream in life is to have some acreage with a freshwater supply, and raise livestock, while keeping my family totally self-sufficient. Maybe living in the neighborhood of some like-mided individuals... My problem is that I don't know shit about growing anything.

Nice essay, brother.

m_astera said...

Hey NOTA-

What's the title of the essay?

You're perfect!

Just kidding, of course. Artemus Ward is credited with the quote “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.”

This is The New Agriculture blog, so not carrying much "old agriculture" baggage may be for the best.

The real point I'm trying to get across in the essay is that growing good food is a very important task and art. It should attract highly intelligent and skilled people and those growing excellent food should be honored and well compensated. (perhaps I will add that to the end of the piece in addition to the "sarcasm" tag)

Thomas Jefferson did know what he was talking about: When one can grow really healthy food for their self and their family on their own land they are getting pretty close to sovereign.

If you're curious, here's a link to Chapter 1 of The Ideal Soil: A Handbook for the New Agriculture that will help bring you up to speed:

http://www.soilminerals.com/TIS_Ch1.htm

Thanks for showing up, brother.

DPirate said...

Great first post. I decided to look at your blog after our small discussion at smokingmirrors this morning.

I've been thinking of buying "The Plowman's Folly" recently. Would you recommend the book?

m_astera said...

Hi DPirate--
Plowman's Folly is a great book; permaculture before the term existed. I read it back in the 1980s, then loaned it to my cousin and never got it back. I'd like to read it again.

What today is called no-till agriculture is somewhat the same idea but messed up because they use herbicides like Round-up and atrazine to kill everything before the seeds are planted, then plant GMO seeds that have been modified to survive herbicides.

What most don't know about transgenic crops is that the main genetic modification is and has been simply herbicide resistance.

Anyway, yeah, Plowman's Folly is very good. You might want to check the Soil snd Health library too (linked on the main page of this blog). They might have it free to read online.

DPirate said...

He does have the book. And... WOW! Great resource! I'll have to send him his 10 euros. Certainly worth that and more.

Thank you

m_astera said...

DPirate-

Steve Solomon, the librarian and founder of the Soil and Health library, is one of those people who are definitely leaving the world better than they found it. He started Territorial Seed Co. in Oregon USA and has written a number of excellent books on organic gardening. Finding the Territorial Seed Co catalog in my local feed store in the early 1980s was the catalyst that moved me to the next level of organic gardening.

He is also the original developer of complete organic fertilizer mixes. Not only did he invent them, he freely gave the formula away to everyone who picked up one of his books or seed catalogs. All organic and sustainable gardeners and farmers owe him honor for his huge contributions.

Yes, send him the 10 Euros. There are few enough true heroes around.

marxist-socialist said...
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Robert said...

Michael... Just stumbled over your essay via Les V's Smoking Mirrors site and wanted to say "well said"!

Though I ended up in medicine, my father was a farmer who decided to "get educated" and we followed him about the country in pursuit of his graduate degrees - finally, we ended up in East Tennessee where he worked as Director of Extension Education at UT (died there in his traces!). I have watched the once great Ag Department dwindle into a mere shadow of its glory days... His department is essentially gone now... Very sad.

We are going to be forced to re-discover these nearly "lost" skills and learn once again the benefits of a more agrarian society.

Thanks for your post! It is timely and much needed...

(by the way, I think I had that same shirt back in the mid-50s!)

m_astera said...

Thanks for the support, Robert.

This blog is where I post the stuff that's a little too OTT for my home site.

We are doing a lot to bring back the faded glory of agriculture, and it is happening. Please check it out when you get a chance:

www.soilminerals.com

Ben There said...

Okay I just want to say that I love this agricultural satire that you've got going on here. Sarcasm is a beautiful thing. You make an excellent point and I'm betting that there are other occupations that could have substituted for farming in this essay. It's interesting what the free market "rewards" isn't it? That would probably be a good subject matter for a blog post. (I mean come on, do we really need car salesmen??)

m_astera said...

You're right Ben. The farmers don't have an exclusive on being second-class citizens just because they produce something of value.

I'm laughing as I'm typing 'cause I'm thinking of one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books where the protagonist, who is lost in space, ends up back in time and is rescued by a ship full of colonists who have been sent off to populate a new planet, which turns out to be Earth in the distant past. The colonists are all car salesmen, bureaucrats etc. who have been sent away from their home planet because they are useless; they have been promised that those who can actually do something will follow in another ship, but the other ship never shows up, of course. :)

Such is the origin of the service economy.....

Anonymous said...

Just came back from getting some milk at some friends farm--Organic and straight from the cow--same folks we get our beef from raised the same way--Just read your article and hit a thankful-high for where we live and who we know around here--it all comes together when you want it to. These folks are so nice, and informed--mirrors would be a little over their heads but they get all the WRH stuff--how cool is that!! I used to leave videos over there for other milk folks to pick up--copied articles, etc. They will drop everything just to sit and talk with you for a while--3 brothers and their dad--I went to columbus (state capitol) and testified before the legislature about being able to buy raw milk--which is illegal here--we knew an amish farmer who got nailed selling the stuff--took my then 12 and 14 year old sons with me. it was great!! The next gov. told the ag dept to back off on the whole raw milk thing so it worked--still illegal but they are not enforcing for now--Now we just have to watch for the SWAT teams when we get our food from the same co-op that served the folks that the swat tea held at gunpoint for 8 hours----
Farm on Wayne--Farm on Garth!!

Jj

m_astera said...

Farm on, Jj!

I was involved in the raw milk movement back in Washington State. It had always been legal, but as the new raw milk groups started up over the last ten years, Darigold and some of the other big players felt threatened and tried to shut it down.

The people I was working with testified before the legislature and kept it from becoming illegal, but they put a bunch of restrictions on it. One had to be a licensed grade A dairy with cooling tanks etc. The lady I was buying milk from had three Jersey cows and often milked by hand; no way could she spend $20,000 or so to get licensed. So we just ignored them and kept on as we were with a cow-share program.

So far no problems but a friend sent a copy of an article from the Olympia paper last week where the county health agent was attacking raw milk again and warning people how many diseases it caused. It's a problem when the gov't takes your tax money at gunpoint and then uses it to pay others to harass you.

Two of my children drank raw milk when they were little and have perfect health. My youngest didn't, and she has always had health problems, particularly thyroid issues.

Anonymous said...

When the "Industry Experts" testified, one of the Legislators asked them if they drank their own milk as they were mostly dairy farmers..some sheepish heads down as they all answered "yes"--that was pretty much the end of the debate...
It was great to be a part of it. Also took the boys to the statehouse when there was a big debate going on about conceal carry--did a walk around there with a bunch of other folks with sidearms (open carry)--saw the footage revived on a PBS special a few months ago and there I was with my two little boys (at the time) with a .45 strapped to my hip---and no gray hair!!!!! Never got the conceal carry permit--just saw it as another infringement on my rights--dropped the NRA as they are extortionists the same as most groups that pretend to "represent" the people.
Sitting and talking with the dairy farmers, the father was recalling how the whole county thought he was nuts years ago when he decided to go organic--trial and error and now he gets premium dollar as compared to non-organic--we pay 2.00 per gallon--as I said--good folks.

Jj

m_astera said...

Jj-
Your story about the industry experts reminded me of one someone told me about a dairy farmer they knew in Eastern Washington who married a city girl. She wasn't about to drink raw milk and made him buy a counter-top model mini-pasteurizing machine. I wish I were making that up but I'm not.

I was paying $5 a gallon when I left Washington in 2006 and considered that an OK price for rich fresh milk with 4" of yellow cream on top. Like I said the lady was only milking three cows and it probably wouldn't have been worth her while for less. If I could buy good organic milk for $2 a gallon I think I would make cheese.

Hope you got a copy of the open-carry video; that will be something to pass on as a family heirloom I would think.

BTW, I've been wanting to ask your permission to repost that hilarious piece you wrote about the white supremacist's convention. Please.

Anonymous said...

Have fun with it. I would make some changes to it that I always think of after having posted but that would not be in the spirit of the way I write.
Use at will!!!
Jj

Anonymous said...

Saw your latest post at mirrors--Are those the instructions that you get with your Aussie Tony Doll? Kinda like a Chia Pet but you don't have to water it?

Jj

m_astera said...

Jj-

Like everything else, I just keep poking around at it 'til I either figure it out or break it.

Good to know that you get my sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Was very happy to see the humor--it simplified you to me--a lot of the time you are talking over my head although I always make it a point to read your stuff. Also went on the garden fertilizer link from your web page. We have played around at gardening but want to get more serious this spring--think we will all have to if we want to eat, at worst, and eat healthy at best. Currently we have 8 raised beds 4x6--put organic cow menure on at the end of fall along with some grass clipping, etc. Maybe expand the beds in the spring.

Jj

m_astera said...

I liked the quote from Oscar Wilde that Rivero had at the top of WRH the other day "If you are going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh or they will kill you."

I'm getting ready to post a more serious piece on agriculture here soon, try to get the discussion going on growing super-high quality food.

Anonymous said...

You have my permission to hunt me down and shoot me if I ever cut and paste something that isn't worthwhile--you do however have to put up with my original stuff--
I'm getting carpel tunnel syndrome from the wheel on my mouse every time I roll past something m-socialist has posted--sorry, not "posted" but "pasted".

Jj

m_astera said...

Jj-

remember a month or so ago when M/S was bragging about how many forums he was banned from?

Tom Paine I can handle, even a little Ayn Rand. 4,000 words of spam is just OTT, especially when it's pasted by the truly ignorant.

Don't know if you caught the Henry Makow piece about the Rockefeller capitalist plot that M/S posted, but it proved that he doesn't even read his own spam.

I haven't even gone over to Mirrors to see what if any reaction there was. Guess I'd better mosey over there.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but you seem to be passing through a shift of sorts regarding your writing and commenting.
It's good.
Jj

m_astera said...

Thanks Jj. I've never considered myself much of a writer, so any improvement is a good thing.

Like you, I do use many different voices and positions to write from; depending on my audience and whether I'm debating, speculating, or entertaining myself.

Feel free to email me if you like- michael.astera@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Nina has a new post over at her place--a good read--look forward to your comments--
Jj
Couldn't post over at Les' today--got one through, but that was it--emailed him one or two but have not seen them go up yet.

Anonymous said...

Here is a video you might be interested in. I tried to post this earlier but I guess I forgot the word verification thing...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdLxMKuxyr4

I loved what you wrote and the way you wrote it. Sometimes you just have to be snarky to get your point across. Nice job.

m_astera said...

Jj-

What, me snarky? :p

Don't know how it works for others, but from here I have to do the word verification twice to post at mirrors, and I have to remember to save my comment 'cause it's likely to be lost in space otherwise.

I went to Nina's and immediately went off-topic on your off-topic topic.

nina said...

FELIZE NAVIDAD MI AMIGO. Did I ever tell you how neat it was to meet up with you again?
It is.

Anonymous said...

In order to stay on topis--
Have a Snarky Christmas!!

Jj

nina said...

Oh wow, look what Santa left on my messy pallette.

dylanb said...

Nice essay. It is excellent commentary on how disconnected we have become from our food supply and the soil. Teaming up with recent graduates of Agronomy and Soil Science is another approach to spreading some of these ideas- most of these people are well aware of many of these problems and may have some of the tools to help.

As we move more and more crops to marginal lands, there needs to be serious effort to reduce over-fertiliztion and to move away from chemical fertilizers. In many cases we will have to accept the fact that some high-yield crops just aren't worth growing when it requires such a high energy input.

Keep up the good work.

m_astera said...

Thanks dylanb. Glad you liked it. I think we have the answers to the problems you mentioned, it's just a matter of getting the word out and then applying them. There are no simple answers, but the one's I've found are in this essay:

http://www.soilminerals.com/TIS_Ch1.htm

m_astera said...
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Anonymous said...

Michael,
I left a response to your comment at origami--you brought me out of my funk by writing the words I couldn't find--you can't imagine how good it felt--
THANK YOU!!

Jj

m_astera said...

Thanks for the compliment Jj.

Glad you liked the post. It obsessed me all afternoon; short as it is, I'm slow and I couldn't leave it alone. Enough from these ham-handed lunatics already: This is my home. Go crap in your own living room, but not on my planet.

Michael

susana said...

Have a garden with established pecan nut trees - 4 of them.
3 almond trees.
Naartjies, guavas, pears, plums, apples, apricots, five different grapes.
I love the fruit, nut and herbs.
The vegetables require some sort of effort and attention that I seem not able to deliver.
So at the Saturday market, I swap nuts and fruit for breads, honey and veggies.
Our local dairy was closed down for supplying raw milk.
Perhaps it is time for it to re-open.
Nice happening upon you Michael and Jj nice .....

m_astera said...

I'm more of an orchard person myself, Susana. Plums and cherries are my favorites. I also love to grow flowers: roses, glads, lilies, daffodils. My work is as an agronomist, not a commercial grower, but if I did make a living as a grower it would be with orchard trees and vines like you have, and lots of flowers.

I do usually grow my own onions, garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes, but most of the other vegetables I plant end up going to waste because there is just too much there at once. I plant six broccolis and eat one.

What is a naartjie?

susana said...

I think potatoes are the most satisfying plant. I don't know why.
Did you ever read an article entitled Mr Potato. It was brilliant. She mentions the one nation that does not import any food is Cuba. 50 years of embargoes have made them completely self sufficient in the food game.

A naartjie is a citrus fruit with an indentation at the top. You dig your finger in there and then just peel off the skin. They are more orange than oranges and much sweeter. They are really delicious and when in season super super cheap.

m_astera said...

Potatoes are so much fun because one doesn't know what is growing under the ground, I think. It's like a treasure hunt. Unfortunately one can't grow them in a tropical climate as they need night-time temperatures below 15*C to set potatoes.

Cuba was self-sufficient and a major food exporter from the time of Spanish colonization until 1958. From 1958 to 1989 they were dependent on the USSR for food; when the USSR collapsed they were forced to grow their own food or starve, so they managed to do that. Since 1999 they have largely relied on donations from Venezuela to keep their "economy" afloat.

There are better examples of countries that are self-sufficient on food. Until recently the USA was self-sufficient and a major exporter; Zimbabwe was another good example before Mugabe. I would imagine South Africa fits in there somewhere too, as in used to be self-sufficient and an exporter but no longer.

Venezuela is about as far from self-sufficient as it can get. Ten years ago around 60% of the food was imported; today that figure is close to 90%, all funded by oil revenue. With the collapse of the oil price, it is looking very grim and I expect to see widespread food shortages and maybe starvation here this year.

BTW, I am not a supporter of capitalism or communism/marxism. I am an individualist anarchist who believes in free people and free enterprise, including the abolishing of all corporations.

Billy Edwards said...

I just discovered you from Smoking Mirrors and even though I'm a little late to the game I just wanted to say that this was an astounding essay! OMG!!! Up until about 10 years ago this is how I used to think. Growing up in suburban America in the 60's and 70's this was an integral part of the mind control that I was subjected to from the educational system, the media, my family, all my peers and just society as a whole. Even though my beliefs have since changed 180 degrees, I still have great difficulty getting comfortable and productive when it comes to growing anything.

I'm beginning to suspect that man made a wrong turn on the path of evolution perhaps around the time of the Cro-Magnon era. That was probably the last time humans actually lived fully in harmony with nature. Once we started playing with fire we got burned, as did everything and everybody we have come into contact with since.

Your article inspired me to start my own blog. As I am brand new to this arena I am uninformed regarding the rules and proper etiquette. Am I supposed to ask you before I re post this on my blog?(giving you full credit of course!) I just think it is so eye opening that it needs to be spread far and wide by whatever means available.

Bill

m_astera said...

Hi Bill-

Feel free to post it anywhere as long as credit is given and a link to the source here.

glad you liked it.

Michael