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The answer is patently obvious.  We must help our leaders build more large stone statues with red stone caps on their heads

so they can acquire the manna to restore the island .. I mean planet.

As food prices increase and as the food available per person decreases the poor will starve to death.  And there ain't no way to increase food production.  In fact, total food production in the US and the world has reached maximum and has started to fall:  rice production in the Sacramento Valley, the salting of fields in the California Central Valley, the areas dependent on the depleting Ogallala Aquifer, the loss of topsoil in the US Midwest, the prospects of a fertilizer shortage,the collapse of the cod fisheries, and the threatened collapse of the tuna  and salmon fisheries as well.  This is a crises in food production such that many countries (pdf!) can no longer afford to purchase food, and they can't grow enough on their own to feed their population.

We live on an island in space

and just like the Eastern Islanders the human race is dependent on what the island can provide.  We can, like the Eastern Islanders, continue to build our little statues with the red top hats until the whole thing crashes or we can start doing what needs to be done to bring the population under control and move to a sustainable lifestyle.

Make no mistake, the population WILL fall over the rest of this century.  The question is the means and procedures by and through which it happens.

If NBBooks is correct, and the Ruling Class attempts to inflate their way out of the financial crises, the Third World will explode.  Inflating the currency means an increase in the price of food costed in that currency.  The Third World is already having difficulty buying the food they need.  Increasing the costs means pricing it out of their reach. People don't quietly sit down and starve to death.  They riot, revolt, migrate, take whatever they can to raise food or raise the money to buy the food they need.  

We're not immune to this crises.  One of the things they can steal are the mines, oil fields, and the other natural resources the First World depends upon for our industrial civilization.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 12:51:54 AM EST
It's actually already been going on, via unfair trade deals (unfair both to workers in the so-called north and free-holders in the so-called south), under the auspices of the WTO, for the past two decades. The western elite attempting to inflate their way out of this crisis they themselves have created, is just the next step.

I'm on the other hand not sure the population has to fall, there's plenty of fallow land to till and plenty of space to house people. The important thing to my mind is striving towards equality; this is the way we make the transition to a sustainable planet, one which manages resources on a global scale, and with respect for all citizens of this globe without regard to passport, without the sorts of wars Michel Houellebecq intimates.

In any event, if certain folks would think propoerly about their carbon footprint, maybe we wouldn't be talking so much about using that land to fuel Tom Friedman's Lexus, eh?
 

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 01:02:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure it has.  The plutocrats have been stealing everything that isn't nailed down from both the North and the South for centuries.  (And if it is nailed down they go home to grab a crowbar.)  The only difference, this time, is they are using the crowbar on themselves too.

As to the second, actually there isn't.  There's plenty of land lying around but most of it (New Mexico, for one) is worthless for sustaining agriculture over time.  That's what is happening in the Central Valley and the Ogallala Aquifer regions; it worked for a while but now that while is up.  In theory some of the land (New Mexico, for one) lying around could be used in an energy-intensive kind of way, e.g., hydroponics, but that would require a complete turn-over in the agricultural work-force since the current - heh - crop of farmers don't know how to do it.  Problem: do you want to work your ass off for 10 to 14 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year for about $20,000 a year after investing about a half a million bucks?  

I didn't think so.  I don't.  Nobody else does either.  And why few people are getting into high-tech agriculture.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 02:17:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you would be interesting in following the thread of this discussion on the DailyKos diary I linked to. Here's my original comment: http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2008/4/8/201936/8218/137#c137
by NBBooks on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 12:29:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm on the other hand not sure the population has to fall, there's plenty of fallow land to till...

It's not just land. Growing food does use up a lot of resources, such as fertilizers (which are energy), machinery (energy again); and it requires very well organized lines of supplies and deliveries, which again use up resources.

It appears more and more clearly that, yes, there is land to till, but the resources needed just won't be there - unless of course we go back to tilling by hand and accept low yields (no fertilizers), which mean high prices.

High price food is here, it will stay here as long as high priced energy is here, and the next step is peak food.

by balbuz on Wed Apr 9th, 2008 at 12:29:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great comment, and images.

watching un peacekeepers, apparently earning $60-80 pd., firing rubber bullets at the starving haitians as they tried to batter down the gates of the presidential palace was horrible....that's not what they're for, thought i naively.

those mudcookie-eating folks hate the un, they accuse the un of ripping off their country.

then, watching the english, french and american police protecting the olympic flame, it occurred to me these might as well be paid by china, who owns the us economy, and has europe lining up to swap our birthrights for plastic geegaw landfiller too.

the same horror as watching italian police wailing on old ladies, just out to block an incinerator being opened next door to their families, and this under a lefty government.

same old...

new world order, no fries with that.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 10th, 2008 at 10:27:00 AM EST
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