Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Another Urban Legend Bites the Dust

by DeAnander Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 02:32:07 AM EST

I -- OK, I and a small army of people far better informed than I, with hands-on experience -- have been saying this for YEARS.  Nay, DECADES.  Excuse the all-caps.  This is one of those pet peeves of mine, it makes me want to shout and throw things.  It is time we stopped allowing the boughten mouthpieces of the poison industry to go on reciting in public their reflex lie that "switching to organic agriculture would mean starvation for millions."  Every time I hear, "yeah, organic ag is warm-n-fuzzy but it won't feed the world," I want to slap somebody upside the head with a bunch of organic rainbow chard.

Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Front-paged by afew


They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming -- which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides -- is not as efficient as conventional techniques.

"My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that you can't produce enough food through organic agriculture," Ivette Perfecto, a professor at the University of Michigan's school of Natural Resources and Environment, said in a statement.

She and colleagues analyzed published studies on yields from organic farming. They looked at 293 different examples.

"Model estimates indicate that organic methods could produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base," they wrote in their report, published in the journal Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

"We were struck by how much food the organic farmers would produce," Perfecto said.

"Corporate interest in agriculture and the way agriculture research has been conducted in land grant institutions, with a lot of influence by the chemical companies and pesticide companies as well as fertilizer companies, all have been playing an important role in convincing the public that you need to have these inputs to produce food," she added.

Well surprise, surprise, it took Reuters only about 40 years to catch up with that "breaking news."

Cambridge University study results

My own University is a land-grant insitution and its ag research is about 95 percent devoted to "improving" the  futile arms race of fossil/chemical ag.  Sometimes it's enough not merely to try the patience of a saint, but to make a stone weep.

I'm having a little quiet fun imagining new Reuters headlines:  Recent Research Casts Doubts on AntiPhlogistone Theory?  Breaking News:  Eminent Scientists Announce Possibility of Generating Electricity from Sunlight via Silicon-Based Cells?  Wonder-Bread May Not Actually Build Stronger Bodies 12 Ways?  or perhaps just World Not Flat After All?

Display:
Wait, are you implying that growing rice in Australia maybe isn't the best idea humankind has ever come up with? [one of my all time favorites, personally - when a friend of mine from AU mentioned that this actually goes on I didn't believe him until I researched it a bit for myself.]

I've given this some thought lately, mostly through the lens of agriculture. In a world where energy has been nearly free for the past 100 years, the societies that have dominated in such a climate (ha) are the ones that have best managed the next largest bottleneck - mindpower (mental labor, not physical labor - whatever Migeru or Chris Cook refer to it as in economic terms). One aspect of managing this problem is (keep in mind I'm speaking of this in terms of world domination), of course, moving everyone from manual labor into office jobs while the machines do the physical work in order to take advantage of their mental capacity that wasn't (necessarily) being utilized. Another method, though, the one that really dominates how we live today, is copying or imitation - 10,000 of the same store with the exact same products inside, millions of acres of corn on many different types of land. Mass production. McDonalization. It's all part of the same process born out of the same environment. A small number of people directing the actions of many, many machines through the use of replication technologies.

In such a world the inefficiencies aren't - they're swept under the rug by the lubrication of the fantastic energy subsidy we've been riding for the past century, and thus almost everyone is completely blind to them. When the bottleneck moves back to energy, success will come through the opposite approach that you describe here - efficient energy use through the use (and cost) of more brainpower per acre as ALL farms will require local knowledge of the land rather than a few guys in an office building in Des Moines ordering 100,000kg of fertilizer and pesticides to be used on their company's million acres of land.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:34:17 PM EST
I think mass production and Mc Donaldisation is the only way things can be directed by a small group of people at the top of a hierarchy - after all, there's only so much a small group of people can wrap their collective heads around.

If you're forced to eke out a competitive advantage through local knowledge, you must have a much flatter decision structure and the size of your operation is limited. Unless, of course, you're a banker and you own people's ability to get things done in the first place - for in our economy, without credit there is no activity.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 03:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that bankers will dominate the decentralised world even more than they dominate today's world?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm saying that they have the potential to.

Where is the capital to start a small local unit going to come from? Either you are a wholly-owned subsidiary of a larger corporation, or you need to get credit from a bank.

Or we can change the system.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:17:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Retail banking may be a profitable activity, but it's not profitable for the bankers involved. The only way bankers become "masters of the universe" is when banks get fees on multibillion euro deals and the investment bankers that do these deals claim fractions of that income for having "originated", "structured" and "closed" the deal. Without that important factoid that investment banking income in big, discrete, relatively rare amounts and not from lots of small transactions, you don't get the whole phenomenon of income capture, income concentration and all the instruments built on top of it.

Retail banking may not be seen as a very nice industry, but it's not the one creating the Anglo Disease.

And landing to relatively small organic farming activities will be retail, almost by definition - given how important local conditions are meant to be.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you saying the banks don't profit from the interest of their small loans?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but not investment bankers.

What makes investment banking so unusual as an industry is that it is the "workers" (i.e. the investment bankers above a certain pay grade/ in certain jobs) that capture most of the income. A very small number of people get a massive benefit from a system whereby other companies are rules for financial profit and engage in large financial transactions (mergers and acquisitions, structured financing, securitization of future cahs flows, etc...) from which they can capture a big chunk of the income generated/captured.

This is the easiest way to get very rich very quickly (the other way is to be a high level manager of a big company, essentially the mirror image of the other - in effect the two sides collude to capture money from the company's future via financial engineering). And this is what drives the financiarisation of business - massive personal interest.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks do but not investment bankers

Yes, I figured that's what you meant.

Now, will these retail banks be retail operations themselves, or will the profit generated by the bank be captured by the high-level managers of big banks?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:25:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but if it's the only industry where that happens, it's a lot easier to deal with. Banking is a heavily regulated industry, as it should, and the example of the 30s (the Glass-Seagall Act) shows that you can limit the worst excesses.

The thing is to limit the influence of investment banking on other industries, and one way to do that is maybe to take a harder look at mergers and acquisitions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:43:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is the capital to start a small local unit going to come from?

Credit unions are an interesting alternative.

I can imagine a kind of social banking where loans are made by a local unit to individuals, and the ties they create as much personal as social.

Defaulting on a bank loan is much less traumatic when the bank is faceless and distant. When people know the other people they owe money to and everyone is in the same community, they're - usually - that much more likely to want to arrange pay back.

You could argue that the roots of the Anglo disease is a cult of impersonality and pseudo-objectivity. When economists, politicians, CEOs and bankers are personally isolated from the consequences of their actions, they have no incentive to consider social relationsships.

This kind of levitation would be much harder if pay-back was personal.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:33:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Credit Unions are a very poor alternative, because they are merely deposit taking and lending institutions moving around PRE EXISTING wealth or "money's worth".

Banks create new credit=Money on the back of their capital base, and it is this supply of "new" value (actually it's deficit-based "anti-value") that serves as the lifeblood of our economy and provides the building blocks of new businesses.

And for the reasons you give, people are not too bothered about defaulting - and that is without even understanding (not one person in 10,000 understands) the reality of deficit-based "fractional reserve" banking. If they truly understood that, people would be trashing the banks wholesale.

The real alternative is for the members of credit unions and local businesses to get together within a local (or functional) "Guarantee Society" legal protocol and to mutually guarantee bilateral credit granted "peer to peer" between Members. This would take place between people who know each other or have some sort of "common bond" (which is of course a requirement for credit unions)

No interest is charged within this GS model, but costs and defaults are shared through making provisions into a "Default Fund". The result is "banking without the bank" ie no credit intermediary but a requirement for either a bank,credit union, ratings agency, whatever, as a service-provider.

Great for a Bank, by the way: they no longer have to put capital at risk since they no longer create the credit but instead manage credit creation, system integrity and operation.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 07:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can find CUs operating in the manner you outline in so far as they can under the banking regulations.  A CU must charge "Interest" on loans or be shut down.  A CU must pay "Interest" on deposits or be shut down.  How a Credit Union goes about charging and paying "Interest" depends on the political, economic, and social stances of the Board of Directors and the sneakiness of their legal team.  ;-)

Of course, when I was the President of a Credit Union we strictly followed the banking regulations and the rules and restrictions of Proper Banking Practice.

8-9

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 11:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My CU in Colorado charged interest on loans, but paid "dividends" on savings.  We were legally considered "members" instead of depositors.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 02:39:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is necessary legal verbage for a CU.  

Legally when you put money into your account you were buying "shares" in the CU and you wrote a "share-draft" instead of a check.  

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 12:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To bring us full circle to the top of the thread, how about farming franchises?
In exchange for your investment and part of profits, you get help buying land, training, and a silly paper hat.
(Other people than I that don't just come here for the jokes could probably expand on that idea. More likely they will point us to a website that shows it's already being done, and done better.)

(If farmers could have actual holidays, I think it could be a lot more popular. But no, those spoiled cows want to be milked, like every day.)

(Here's another one: you invest in your local farm, in exchange for 5% off produce. Farmers get capital, and a guaranteed market. And you could help out plant the emus or whatever.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 10:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... you invest in your local farm, in exchange for 5% off produce. Farmers get capital, and a guaranteed market.

There is already a small movement among the alternative ag people doing exactly this.  The idea is to give the farmer a larger percentage of the consumer price while the consumer gets a 10-15% break.  And it works if the farm is close enough to a large enough population so the numbers all work out.  

The sad fact seems to be the vast majority of consumers are perfectly happy eating rubbery vegetables and fatty meats.

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

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 11:40:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I wouldn't do exactly what these guys are doing up here in Scotland

Cow Shares

but they're on the right lines...

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 12:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is neat [emphasis added]:

The idea originated in the celebrated case of Deli Dollars in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. When a local delicatessen owner was refused a bank loan to finance an extension, he turned to his clientele. He issued "deli dollars" - refundable over the course of the following year - to the value of $5,000. In this way, his customers pre-financed the extension. In return, he was guaranteed $5,000 worth of custom and his delicatessen grew even more in the affection and esteem of its local community. What is more, the deli dollars started doing the rounds as an alternative currency, even turning up in the collection plate of a local cleric who was known to have a taste for the deli's pizzas.

I really like the idea of asset-backed currencies.  

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

by ATinNM on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 12:37:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's neat!

I'd prefer interest paid in cheese if that's OK.


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 08:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sad fact seems to be the vast majority of consumers are perfectly happy eating rubbery vegetables and fatty meats.

"People are stupider than anybody."
-Tom Lehrer, Interview in The Onion AV Club.


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Jul 17th, 2007 at 08:17:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, are you implying that growing rice in Australia maybe isn't the best idea humankind has ever come up with?

:D [snork!]

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 07:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I said something along those lines in my diary on dKos, but in the opposite direction ... on the transition back to an energy efficient economy ... oddly enough, even though the diary was intended to promoted DoDo's series based on the local rail tome that he posted here recently (username Daneel on dKos) (here is the latest, which deserves a serious boost), it was my diary that was rescued. ... sometimes things just work out backwards.

Anyway, back to the story, I said:

...
More to the point is the idea that "public transport" is one category ... a single pigeon hole for everybody who does not want or cannot drive a car, plus those unusual cities that never agreed to destroy themselves with an entirely auto-dependent public transport system, and so retained a portion of a pre-existing system to build upon.

So in other word, the argument is a symptom of the core problem ... the absurd idea that a one-size-fits-all system is possible. In reality, one size fits all systems never actually fit all, and they never fit most very well.

...
And especially for all of us who took the 7/7/07 Live Earth pledge, equipping ourselves with information is one of the most important things we can do to meet the transport point in our pledge. Because while "one size fits all" works fine based on stereotypes of what "most" people iin "most" places "mostly" want to do "most" of the time, an energy efficient transport system requires a far more information intensive understanding of what particular people in particular places want to do in particular at particular times of day.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 06:41:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so true, millman, so true...

next they'll be discovering that if we recycled all plastic, we'd have less landfills, and that if we conserved water and used drip irrigation there'd be no depletion of the aquifers...and so on....

genius is hard work!!

'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 Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 12:35:07 AM EST
And if we used energy efficient development and transport, we'd use less energy.

But anyway, that's all just theory like, you know, the theory that the sun will rise tomorrow.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 06:43:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to hear somebodies spent the time, and money, to do the research.  We've had anecdotal evidence up the wazoo for decades.  Now we can point to some objective evidence.

And then there is, From the abstract [emphasis added]:

Evaluation and review of this paper have raised important issues about crop rotations under organic versus conventional agriculture and the reliability of grey-literature sources.

"Grey-literature" refers to publications issued by government, academia, business, and industry, in both print and electronic formats, but not controlled by commercial publishing interests, and where publishing is not the primary business activity of the organization.

Wow.

The authors of the paper just called the ag-industry, their paid hacks, and govermental ag-departments a bunch of liars.  

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

by ATinNM on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 03:36:30 AM EST
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's only one way to settle this.  The American way: violence.  I suggest pistols at dawn.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:31:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest a tomato fight:

You say tomato. I say tomato.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 09:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest a tomato fight:

You say tomato. I say tomato.

I'm sensing there is supposed to be a conflict here, but I can't tell what ever it might be. Is it my overstrained sense of humour giving out?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 06:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silly but perhaps appropriate for organic veg growers, one American, the other British.

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 03:52:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It reminded me of a story told to me by a Ozzie Business IT lecturer, who was a singer. There was an audition for the choir that he was in, and "Lets call the whole thing off" was the audition piece. One singer begins singing the audition piece "straight" ... "you say tomahto, I say tomahto, you say potahto, I say potahto, let's do it, let's call the whole thing off ..." and then stops ...

"Excuse me, it seems there is some conflict in this song, but I'm afraid I'm not getting it".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jul 19th, 2007 at 08:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the way agriculture research has been conducted in land grant institutions

When you think a little about it, this is obvious. this agricultural research is done in monoculture and with very little labour. Part of the reason why it's done in monoculture is because of methodological reductionism: the conditions of the study have to be as simple as possible in order to be able to isolate factors and run statistical analyis. In other words, in an organic patch the "experimental setup" is "messy".

Food for thought.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:05:51 AM EST
I'm really surprised this kind of institutional research is all behind subscription wall, unless I missed something the article full text is not available.

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html

DeAnander, any idea?

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:25:56 AM EST
How is Cambridge University Press going to extort money from Agricultural researchers worldwide if they make the text of the article available for free?

From the Instructions for Contributors at the Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems journal:

Cambridge University Press accepts papers on the understanding that the work has been submitted exclusively to the journal and has not been previously published.
There is no mention of "Transfer of Copyright" but that doesn't mean it's not necessary.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:35:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off hand I can't think of any academic publication that doesn't keep its articles behind a sub-wall.  


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess you're never heard about the Open Access movement :). Please go an read some of:

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html

There are scores of academic publication that are now free to read for everyone, definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access

There is a list of Open Access journals but the site seems to be down right now:

http://www.doaj.org/

There is even one set of Open Access journals going after Nature and the like: Public Library of Science

http://www.plos.org/journals/index.html

(with Nobel prizes winner, etc...)

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:47:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also...

John Baez: What We Can Do About Science Journals (January 8, 2006)

The problem of highly priced science journals is well-known. A wave of mergers in the publishing business has created giant firms with the power to extract ever higher journal prices from university libraries. As a result, libraries are continually being forced to cough up more money or cut their journal subscriptions. It's really become a crisis.

Luckily, there are also two counter-trends at work. In mathematics and physics, more and more papers are available from a free electronic database called the arXiv, and journals are beginning to let papers stay on this database even after they are published. In the life sciences, PubMed Central plays a similar role.

There are also a growing number of free electronic journals, especially in mathematics. Many of these are peer-reviewed, and most are run by academics instead of large corporations.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And some books are starting to appear, as well:

Online Books Page

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

by ATinNM on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know about the Open Access movement.  

I submit pigs will demonstrate aerodynamic capabilities before Elsevier joins it.  

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

by ATinNM on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:06:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Academics don't have to publish in Elsevier journals, or referee or edit them.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:10:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elsevier will not join it (obviously), it's the authors who will leave Elsevier.

In my field, here is what happened to one of the leading journals published by Elsevier:

http://theoryofcomputing.org/crisis.html


Crisis in the cost of journals

Publishers of scientific journals today actually impede the flow of information rather than enable it.   -- Jeff Ullman

... I strongly commend you on your courage... ToC will give many more researchers a reason to mount a boycott against for-profit journals. -- Don Knuth, greeting the launch of the Theory of Computing

On October 25, 2003, Don Knuth sent a 14-page letter to the Board of Editors of the Journal of Algorithms. Pointing out the "turmoil in the world of scholarly publishing,"Knuth analysed the economics of periodicals in theoretical computer science. Knuth's letter precipitated the dramatic resignation of the entire editorial board of the Journal of Algorithms over the pricing policies of its publisher, Elsevier, and created a new, society-owned journal, ACM Transactions on Algorithms. (See  here for more on this). [...]

It will take some time, but there's a longer list of Open Access journals every day so more choice for authors.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 05:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Statistics on OAI in french social sciences show spectacular growth in the past three years:

http://www.homo-numericus.net/blog/spip.php?article131


[...]
- Cairn http://www.cairn.info/accueil.php?PG=START

2006 : 16 251 enregistrements

2007 : 27 580 enregistrements

- Persée http://www.persee.fr/index.do

2005 : 12 262 enregistrements

2006 : 55 881 enregistrements

2007 : 84 313 enregistrements

- Revues.org http://www.revues.org/

2005 : 10 005 enregistrements

2006 : 16 228 enregistrements

2007 : 22 361 enregistrements

Il s'agit là d'une formidable croissance de l'ensemble des portails, dont on ne peut que se féliciter. Les particularités disciplinaires et techniques de chacun pourraient être commentées, pour affiner l'analyse. Mais, en l'état, les valeurs brutes présentent une information de base.

[... (more stats for smaller repositories follow and see comments too)]


by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 07:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
De, when you say Cambridge University study results you should say "University of Michigan at Ann Arbor study abstract in the Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems journal published by Cambridge University Press".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:29:55 AM EST
thanks M

you know what they say: "Type in haste, publish errata and retractions at leisure."

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 04:21:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Via: http://www.fao.org/organicag/

http://www.fao.org/organicag/ofs/index_en.htm


International Conference on Organic Agriculture and Food Security
Rome, 03 - 05 May 2007

* Organic Agriculture and Food Security

ftp://ftp.fao.org/paia/organicag/ofs/OFS-2007-5.pdf

* Organic Agriculture and Stability of Food Supply

ftp://ftp.fao.org/paia/organicag/ofs/OFS-2007-3-rev.pdf

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 04:40:23 AM EST
What do they say about the amount of labour required to produce those yields on an organic basis?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 06:53:06 AM EST
See page five of the first PDF I mentionned above:


19. [...] Higher labour input decreases expenses on purchased inputs by some 40% but labour costs increase by 10 to 15 precent. The main benefit of organic systems is energy efficiency [...]

Yield increase is seen in subsistence agriculture, decrease elsewhere but on average estimate is "132% more than current food production levels"

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 07:54:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the study De refers to seems to indicate that the yield in non-developing world is only a little less than conventional. A 15% increase in labour isn't too bad, and there's the issue of smarter, non-monoculture agriculture for the fruit trees and perennials, though I suspect that'll increase the labour requirements more.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 at 12:47:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that will keep more people employed, though given the decreasing fraction of people employed in agriculture, increasing that by 15% is probably not going to make the unemployment rate look much better.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 02:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the real question, isn't it?

This from an actual farmer in the UK:
While touring a (small) organic farm the question came up what they did about certain rather nasty weeds. Once these  get into the ground they are very hard to get rid of - for a family operation it's just not possible to put in the amount of work required.
The answer is that you use a lot of pesticides, then go organic the next year. Problem solved.

I'm sure "organic" appeals to us armchair intellectuals with our nice desk jobs, but someone will have to do the work.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 04:04:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm of the view that we're going to have dedicate more labour and a greater proportion of our incomes to food in the future, which isn't a bad thing and makes organic farming more practical.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 05:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds about right.

I wonder weather this will make smaller farms finally viable, or be the thing that kills them off? (With EU rules my money is on the latter.)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 06:08:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What kinds of EU rules are we talking about?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 06:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just regurgitating the standard anti-CAP stuff.

(Hey, Andy CAP ... that would be a neat cartoon character.  Uh-oh, here comes Maggie with the rolling pin!)

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 06:37:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in so far as the CAP subsidises large farms over small farms, it will tend to encourage "organic agribusiness".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jul 16th, 2007 at 06:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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