Now We’re Running Out of Food

You can stop worrying so much about global warming as it turns our we’re all probably going to starve to death first. Wonkblog informs us that population growth is outstripping crop yields and by 2050 we cross the line. This alert comes with the usual nifty graphs which neatly extrapolate required crop yields with projected demand, and you will be shocked to learn that the farmers let us down, we fall short of producing the food we are going to need.

We’ve been down this road before. Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford professor, made quite a splash with his book The Population Bomb  published in 1968. He had a Malthusian vision of the world and predicated on a population explosion followed by mass starvation. It was published around the time that we were all assured we were going to freeze to death. Since the publication of his book, the number of humans has grown immensely, however, technology applied to farming produced a revolution in food production.

I don’t think it’s necessarily unwise to ponder things like future food requirements and the Wonkblog article does include some recommendations for remedial actions which are refreshing in their modesty, a virtue rarely glimpsed among the climate doomsayers. Nonetheless, experience would certainly seem to indicate that modern agriculture has been proven to be remarkably adept at staying ahead of the demand curve. This is one potential problem which probably doesn’t deserve a lot of hand wringing. Agriculture is a business with a pretty stellar record of modernization and I’m inclined to believe that continued improvements in crop yields, genetic modification, advanced irrigation and even new methods of mass producing crops are going to allow all of us to eat well.

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About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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