People are going to starve.
Here. In the United States. In Australia. In Europe. All over the world.
Now. Not in some far-distant time. In our time.
Within a market-based economy in which the sanctity of private property is honored and protected, if food begins to get scarce, a monetary incentive arises for producers to produce more…take more risks, improve property holdings, invent things, try different methods, break new ground.
Success in ag production leads naturally to a freeing-up of more people to pursue things other than finding or making food for themselves every day. These things include making better houses and improving water and sewer infrastructure.
Once basic needs are improved to a significant extent, leisure activity increases. Sports and games become more popular. The quality of food improves and it becomes more tasty. People have time to make that food more enticing in appearance and flavor.
Unfortunately, people then also have more time to stick their noses into other people’s business. Rules and regulations begin to proliferate. It becomes harder and harder to adapt to changing circumstances.
Food producers should be rich. What they do underpins what everyone else is able to do. But when property wealth begins to become apparent, jealousies drive others wild. It’s not fair that one should own more property than another! Facts be damned. Emotions triumph.
In lesser-developed cultures, producers are killed and their property taken. But in “civilized” society, one must be much more suave.
Actions are taken over a period of time, through government coercion, with the (not to be spoken of) threat of physical force. What individuals will not do themselves in polite society, they are happy to have done with the imprimatur of Government. They support collective action that accomplishes the goal without offending their own highly-developed sensitivities.
The people who depend upon producers support the passage of laws, the creation and enforcement of regulations, the bringing to bear of pressure for “voluntary” agreements, all which mandate to producers how and when to do things. “Best Practice” is defined.
Language is twisted. Sustainability takes on a completely new definition.
The ability to adapt to ever-changing circumstances dwindles. Hands are tied. Committees are consulted. Legislatures are lobbied. Phone calls are made. Letters are written. Submissions are submitted.
Productivity gains disappear. Efficiency dwindles. Profits plummet.
Producers find it easier to “join them” rather than trying to “beat them.” They leave production and go into retail, service, trading, government jobs.
The weight upon the shoulders of the remaining producers burgeons. True producers become smaller in number while the pressure to produce becomes infinitely greater.
Who could blame them for shrugging off this weight?
Who could deride them for softly declaring, “Let them enjoy the fruits of their policies!”?
We have arrived at such a point.
People, soon, will enjoy those fruits: real hunger and starvation.
I love ag. I love traveling and history, too.
Thought bubble #1:
Matt and I visited Copan Ruinas in Honduras back in 1998 when we were driving from Texas to the southern tip of South America — Tierra del Fuego.
The Mayan civilization had built up to a high level, and then, mysteriously disappeared. Nobody knows with certainty why. But the most logical explanation I came across was that the population outstripped the capacity for food production.
I do not believe that would happen with freedom and personal responsibility. It only occurs under centralized control. Governments picking fights with other societies is also problematic, as young men go off to fight rather than staying home and producing.
If the people of Copan perished because of a lack of food, it was because they drove their producers away, killed them, or regulated them out of business.
Thought bubble #2:
Stalin, in 1932-33, intentionally killed off his best ag producers (largely Ethnic Ukrainians). He did not appreciate independent thought that was naturally present in successful farmers and ranchers. He was threatened by them. Using force, he stripped the farmers of their own produce and starved them to death. Estimates are that 10 million people died in what is known as the Holodomor.