Poverty

A Biblical Perspective on Environmentalism: What World Food Shortage? (1)

Reprinted with permission from As I See It, which is available free by writing to the editor at dkutilek@juno.com. Read the series so far.

With the human species now numbering more than seven billion souls—and growing—we periodically hear claims that we are about to exhaust the earth’s food-producing resources and are on the precipice of widespread famine. Of course, we have been hearing such assured claims from professional alarmists for two centuries (at least since Thomas Malthus [1766-1834]), all backed up with “science” and facts and figures, and yet somehow the apocalyptic predictions have always failed of fulfillment. No, we humans aren’t even close to a food shortage and are currently producing nowhere near the earth’s maximum sustainable quantity of food. In truth, the primary factor limiting present production is insufficient demand.

On what basis do I assert that there is no world food shortage?

First, the two most populous nations, China and India, are food self-sufficient, that is, they currently grow enough food within their borders to feed all their billion-plus souls, and this in spite of the fact that in India, the dominant Hindu religion’s belief in reincarnation leads to the diversion of large quantities of grain to feed rodents and pigeons and other animals which will never end up as part of the human food supply (cattle in India at least provide milk products). In the case of China, they produce enough food to actually export some to other countries (just check a can of smoked oysters next time you shop for groceries, or a bag of pine-nuts, or dozens of other items—“product of China”—which, by the way, I refuse to buy due to grossly inadequate quality control practices there).

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