Thursday, April 29, 2010

Liberal Self-Esteem Junkies Wrong Again

No surprise there, but it is in the nature of a public service to publicize these errors in judgment whenever they occur.

Robert Paarlberg has written an article for Foreign Policy's online magazine that takes up the folly of "eco-foodies".
From Whole Foods recyclable cloth bags to Michelle Obama's organic White House garden, modern eco-foodies are full of good intentions. We want to save the planet. Help local farmers. Fight climate change -- and childhood obesity, too. But though it's certainly a good thing to be thinking about global welfare while chopping our certified organic onions, the hope that we can help others by changing our shopping and eating habits is being wildly oversold to Western consumers. Food has become an elite preoccupation in the West, ironically, just as the most effective ways to address hunger in poor countries have fallen out of fashion.
It turns out that the whole organic and slow-grow approach has been tried before.
In Europe and the United States, a new line of thinking has emerged in elite circles that opposes bringing improved seeds and fertilizers to traditional farmers and opposes linking those farmers more closely to international markets. Influential food writers, advocates, and celebrity restaurant owners are repeating the mantra that "sustainable food" in the future must be organic, local, and slow. But guess what: Rural Africa already has such a system, and it doesn't work. Few smallholder farmers in Africa use any synthetic chemicals, so their food is de facto organic. High transportation costs force them to purchase and sell almost all of their food locally. And food preparation is painfully slow. The result is nothing to celebrate: average income levels of only $1 a day and a one-in-three chance of being malnourished.
Yeah, by all means, let's replicate that system in the U.S. (and remember to go easy on the salt).


bruce said...

I happened to briefly meet and shake hands with M S Swaminathan last year in Chennai. The 'father of the Green Revolution',

It is obvious to me that India has somehow or other made enormous progress in food production corresponding to the Green Revolution.

I am old enough to remember 'starving millions in India', famine and reliance on US aid in the 1960's.

bruce said...

To save you clicking the link, the 'Green Revolution' in India involved used of genetically engineered crops and modern fertilizers and pesticides - modern farming, not 'organic'.

JeffS said...

"Organic" farming is a scam designed to separate fools from their money. Nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, it's been taken up by lefties who want to improve the world. That means millions of people are condemned to starvation.

Just like a famous leftie we all know and love. My, things never do change, do they?

RebeccaH said...

If these eco-idiots had their way, farming everywhere would be done with sticks and hoes, the way it was done in "the good old days", because, you know, modern agriculture is so icky.

Anonymous said...

I purpose that we create a Sodium Exchange (SEX) patterned after the Chicago Climate Exchange...except for the unions, communists, insiders, progressives, etc. Who wants in? RebeccaH? Paco? Wronwright? (BTW, where's Wron?)We'll make tons of money!

Deborah Leigh