Updated 26 Apr 2009


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Malthus coming true?

You might be interested in an article called

"Could Food shortages bring down civilization?"
Scientific American, May 2009, page 38.

"The biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse. Those crises are brought on by ever worsening environmental degradation"

They give a list of 20 countries in the world that are closest to collapse already (in 2007). Here ranked from worst to better on social, economic, political and military indicators of national well-being are:

DR Congo
Ivory Coast
Pakistan (nuclear!!)
Central African Republic
North Korea (nuclear!!)
Sri Lanka

Two of these countries have the bomb. The Taleban would hand components to their Islamic friends to remove Western Christian countries.

It looks like Malthus has come true:
"a forced return to subsistence-level conditions once population growth had outpaced agricultural production. "

Some quotations from the above Scientific American article

...civilization itself could disintegrate.

...breakdown of governments and societies.

In the 20th century the main threat to international security was superpower conflict; today it is failing states.

A fourth of this year's US grain harvest - enough to feed 125 million Americans or half a billion Indians at current consumption levels - will go to fuel cars.

The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV tank with ethanol could feed one person for a year.

...leading to an epic competition between cars and people for the grain supply...

The world's most populous nation may soon be importing massive quantities of grain.

....for every one degree Celsius above the norm, wheat, rice and corn yields fall by 10 percent.

Similar in scale and urgency to the US mobilization for World War II, Plan B has four components: a massive effort to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent from their 2006 levels by 2020;the stabilization of the world's population at eight billion by 2040; the eradication of poverty; and the restoration of forests, soils and aquifers.

....meeting these goals may be necessary to prevent the collapse of our civilization.

Can we stabilize population before countries such as India, Pakistan and Yemen are overwhelmed by shortages of the water they need to irigate crops?

Compiled, hand coded and copyright © 2008, John Palmer, All Rights Reserved.