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Worldwide Famine

  1. Aug 26, 2005 #1
    One of the benefits of improving technology is our ability to grow more crops per acre than before, resulting in an exponential growth of the availability of food.

    However, the Earth's human population is also growing exponentially. In fact it is growing faster than the rate of available consumables.

    1978 was the year the two rates crossed. Before that point, we had the ability (but did not do so) to distribute equally among all of earth's population enough food so that no one would have to die of starvation. Since that date however, Earth's population has eclipsed our ability to grow crops (including farm animals). What this means is that even if we tried to distribute enough food for everyone to eat, many people would still have to starve to death because there just isn't enough to go around.

    This presents one hell of a future shock scenario. Remember the days of gas rationing during the 1970's? Well imagine calory rationing. 1000 Calories a day and pray you stay alive.

    In the coming century this will become evident in third world countries first, where the famine will become very wide spread. Eventually though (very possibly even during our life times) the famine will spread to urban areas, developed countries, even the wealthy will become affected.

    So far the only real solution is aquaculture - the idea of growing fish away from the ocean. Currently our ocean-based food is still derived by a hunter-gatherer method where large fishing fleets go out and hunt for fish to bring back home and eat. Many hope that Aquaculture will do for our society what Agriculture did thousands of years ago. However aquaculture presents its own problems - mainly that you need to sustain an entire food chain.

    For example: A mature female codfish lays on average 5 million eggs twice a year. Those eggs take about a full year to reach maturity, and by the laws of probability about half will be male and, the other half, female, will then be able to lay eggs as well. This is all well and good and sounds like a helluva lot of food.

    Except that the codfish need to eat shrimp. Lots of them. So for every swimming pool of codfish one would need about 5 swimming pools of shrimp. And for every swimming pool of shrimp you need about 5 swimming pools of plankton. And on and on.

    Idea's and thoughts are welcome - this seems like a far more pertinent problem even than the looming natural gas crises.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2005
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  3. Aug 26, 2005 #2

    Pengwuino

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    I don't think its much of a danger. The difference is that we are capable of stepping up food production if need-be. I live in the central Valley of California (I think the largest producer of food on Earth) and its fairly obvious around here that if we do indeed need to start making more food, we certainly can make accomodations to do just that. We actually had an odd problem over here a few years ago. The demand for milk was so low and the prices were so low that farmers had to dump out a lot of their milk!

    Also, we must remember that some nations unfortunately (the government of course) are willing to let their people starve simply to save face with the international community (this is general when really bad leaders are in power). I think even recently some country refused international aid saying that they will prosper by themselves and be able to feed their own country from now on (hopefully they will be right but theres always the possibility that they wont).

    Combine this with global warming and the possibility of tree-shortages.... you have a rather ironic situation. A lot of the solutions to the problems involve making at least another oen of the problems worse.
     
  4. Aug 26, 2005 #3
    This has been discussed, but under the topic of over population. In other words, according to survival of the fittest, the more resources available the more a species will reproduce. So pushing the Earth's resources to meet population growth would be never ending. Countries that have addressed over population (e.g., China) have stabilized and even improved standard of living. We need to make family planning education and birth control more available. This is impeded by many factors including religious restrictions.
     
  5. Aug 26, 2005 #4
    LOL ... But the way in which they do it is in constant criticism of the west. They mandated the 'one Child law' and even provided for the ability of Ethnic populations and rural food producers to have MORE than one Child as an incentive to maintain those populations and ensure food production.

    The rich however can afford ultrasounds to 'sex' their children ensuring a son. So what happens??? (The government has even come out and attempted to legislate the USE of ultrasound now) The 'Right' in the west turns around to make this a problem of the 'government' of China.

    Is it any wonder that China doesn't even bother to address/argue the 'problems' within their society to 'the concerned' in the free world?

    There has been a lot of criticism in the USA of Chinese addressing problems as of late but no solutions offered as an alternative.

    So ... Tiananmen ... Sure the problem was mishandled but if the students had been successful and the thing we now know as China had gone the way of the Soviet states ... Where would China be right now? Would they have returned to the practice of 8 children to a household? Would the age old 'human' problem of blaming your neigbour while offending yourself become prevalent again?

    Let's see The USA who launches attacks at the drop of a hat explore some of the solutions rather than just the problems for a change. In a democracy with 1.2 billion people, how are any of the problems associated with China to be addressed? (Remember that the USA has a higher birth rate than China and you ARE steaming on your way to imitating them)

    Concerned citizens worry about how the Chinese people will feed themselves and then opposing governments apply tarriffs that will limit the employment of people in the steel and textile industries.

    If China were to throw up their hands and accept democracy as was done in the soviet bloc, would there ever be a book written know as The Black Book of Democracy over the ensuing starvation?

    Come on folks. Let's see some viable solutions to the problems of China and less criticisms.
     
  6. Aug 26, 2005 #5

    Hurkyl

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    How did this turn into a thread about China?
     
  7. Aug 26, 2005 #6
    I don't know but I'm completely lost now lol
     
  8. Aug 26, 2005 #7
    I was not criticizing China--just using it as an example. IMO Africa is far more at risk, and you are right that populations are increasing everywhere including the US. And in the US this growth is more often among those who can afford it the least, including illegals. Once again, the problem is due in part to religion and anti birth control movements. My point is that increasing food production is not the only or ultimate solution to the problem.
     
  9. Aug 26, 2005 #8
    Later in this post you advocate government intervention into agriculture. (At least in other countries --- face issue). Should the government intervene in Milk and dairy cattle production in your opinion?

    If this is a known problem that you recognize, should the other governments of the world advocate blockades on countries they disagree with on a political level? For instance, should Cuba still experience a blockade of automobiles and parts or the sale of Cigars when it is not Castro who benefits from these products but the men and women who drive the taxis and trucks and roll the cigars?

    I think if we get back to the observation of the 'food chain' and swimming pools of plankton to support the production of fish ... We are losing forests in Argentina to facilitate the production of grazing land for Argentinian beef.

    I miss the old signs in front of McDonalds where they used to advertise how many 'served'. I used to try to take the number of customers and divide by the poundage of meat on the average cow (Minust the bones) to imagine the cattle population that went into the production of that number.

    Then compute the number of hectares of land required to feed those cows.

    Work it a bit further and observe how many people could have been fed by this same area being planted with soy beans and what do you get?

    Fat people in Austin.

    Okay, there was a bit of a leap in my logic there but ... well, you get the drift.

    The USA's major export ... McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut Franchises... and in many countries in the world, they are not considered 'fast food' but luxury food. :yuck:
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2005
  10. Aug 26, 2005 #9

    Pengwuino

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    :confused: :confused: :confused: Someone must have mistakenly mentioned China and TSM's ideolog radar must have gone off
     
  11. Aug 26, 2005 #10

    Pengwuino

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    If we do start running into food problems, then yes.

    Sanctions have rarely been designed to target civilian populations alone. This argument is rediculous. Look at any UN sanction currently in place. Its target is the leadership, not the people, this is a very elementary fact.


    Search the forum. People have already shown how that logic is inconsistent with reality. Grains and soy cannot feed a population as well as meat can and has been fully discussed.
     
  12. Aug 26, 2005 #11
    The example presented was not a UN sanction. It was a US sanction and does deliberately target the poor.

    Even tourism is banned for Americans and money remittances to families of the escapees has been limited.

    There was a statistic posted in the last year or so that there are more US government accountants tracking the funds flowing into Cuba than there are flowing around the world relative to Al Qaeda.

    There are extremes that are being addressed here and while, yes, grains don't completely feed a population, how does the production of grains vs. meat in the USA follow the FDA food and nutrition chart for instance? (Remembering of course that much of th grain is used to fatten cattle)
     
  13. Aug 26, 2005 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Incorrect. They do not deliberately target the poor, they target the government. Just like I said, everyones sanctions, US, UN, UK, French, Chinese, Rome, Greece, every nation in all of history, uses sanctions to mainly punish the ruling party. If you want to punish the people... war is a better option for countries. But then again who knows, this is an entirely subjective opinion debate. Unless anyone has any documents that specifically say "We shall impose these sanctions to hurt the poor people in Cuba", its pretty useless.


    What information do you have? Also, of course, since we do not face a food shortage at the moment, why does it matter? You only normally set up efficiency procedures when you see a crisis near. When you simply have to go based on what people desire to eat, you go with what they want and people obviously want meat. Supply and Demand in a normal economy.
     
  14. Aug 26, 2005 #13
    Then why the outcry from the Cuban population in the USA regarding the limitation of remittances to their relatives back home?

    And are you saying the dropping of sanctions in favour of invading Iraq was an attack on the people?


    But weren't we discussing environmental effects of excess meat production to satisfy 'wants' in favour of cutting down forests for grazing land?

    The desire for beef ... producing methane and consuming forests (The wood isn't even being used but BURNED) is something the governments of the world have to address since the average punter in the gorcery store looks at a slab of beef and gets hungry. He doesn't look at it and say 'am I finding it hard to breathe' or 'this is what cause Uncle George's melanoma'.

    Excess is causing health issues far beyond what is healthy for the population and what you seem to be advocating is a hedonistic atitude associated with 'free markets' that must be allowed no matter what the reprocussions in the future.

    It's an attitude that sounds like watching a homeless person in an ally covered in his own faesces, urine and vomit and saying 'well he wanted it that way so we must respect his wishes.'

    Also, the 'us and them' attitude is a tad offensive. The artificial construct of a border does nothing to redress the issue that if execess crops are produced by error or poor planning, should these food mountains be allowed to rot or be poured down drains when Bob Geldoff is leading campaigns to truck food to the starving of the world?

    To me, that just sounds plain criminal and for lack of a better word, mean spirited.
     
  15. Aug 26, 2005 #14

    Hurkyl

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    No, I don't think so. It looks more like this particular aspect of your hijacking has been ignored.


    And it's rather insulting to our intelligence that you would act as if all you need to do to feed the starving of the world is to have surplus food, and a method of transporting it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2005
  16. Aug 26, 2005 #15
    You have low readin comprehension!?
     
  17. Aug 26, 2005 #16

    Hurkyl

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    I'm sorry, what I meant to say is that it's terribly rude to ignore the discussion going on in a thread, and start posting your own agenda.
     
  18. Aug 26, 2005 #17
    Funny, that's exactly what got Geldof a Knighthood.

    I'll even insult your intelligence even further (If that's possible) and state that the UN has come out and said it can do away with world huinger with $49 billion.

    Care to call the bluff or would that much satisfaction ruin your oil and arms industries?

    After all, that is about the bill for the Afghan invasion.
     
  19. Aug 26, 2005 #18
    OK, OK, everybody calm down.

    Yes, we can solve all of the current hunger problems with a fraction of what the U.S. is wasting in Iraq.

    However, in the long term that still won't solve the problem, as per the Dismal Theorem and Utterly Dismal Theorem. Providing food for a famine likely just delays an inevitable crash.
     
  20. Aug 27, 2005 #19
    Just because it was discussed does not mean that your conclusion is correct.

    Could you explain to me how, when it takes a minimum of three times the rescources to produce the same amount of animal calories as it does plant calories?

    You are so deluded it is laughable, but it makes me want to cry.

    We can end world hunger as soon as we have the will to do so. Unfortunately the world has far to many small minded, full bellied, selfish idiots who think that because they are born into the first world that they are entitled to all the luxuries and excess that come with it!

    They will latch onto any half witted argument to support their position so that they don't have to concern themselves with the plight of others less fortunate. People like that are disgusting.

    And you wonder why there are those who are willing to blow themselves up to lash out at the injustice that is all to REAL!
     
  21. Aug 27, 2005 #20
    You're trying too hard Hurkyl.

    You missed is when the Penguin wrote this, I assume?: Combine this with global warming and the possibility of tree-shortages.... you have a rather ironic situation. A lot of the solutions to the problems involve making at least another oen of the problems worse.

    So far Hurkyl you have not shown disrespect to me but to the other posters on this board who wrote the compositions that I responded to.

    So when are you going to actually post something about ANY topic other than me?
     
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