Modern Myths that Destroy Humanity


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    Lithachne post=886 wrote:
    You see, I lived in a small village in northern sub-Saharan west Africa for two years, among subsistence farmers. And they *don’t* have clean water. And they *can’t* grow enough food. And it’s *not* big US agribusiness that makes them poor. And they *want* economic opportunities beyond their moribund millet fields–they would happily work in a sweat shop for $1 a day because that would be $1 that they wouldn’t get otherwise. They want indoor plumbing, or at least a toilet. They want refrigeration, lights that don’t produce smoke. They want a floor instead of dirt, roofs made out of at least tin. Most of all, they want their kids not to die of vaccine preventable disease, or at least, they don’t want their kids to die of something as easy to cure as diarrhea. These families want their kids to be able to go to school, but they still need to be able to plant and harvest the fields. How dare you speak for them?! How dare you suggest how wonderful their lives are?!
    If you admire their situation so much, any one of them would be delighted to switch places with you. I can get you some names and addresses–let’s make it happen.
    Our products’ cheapness is depressing the prices these subsistence farmers can get for their crops on the international market, yet our biofuels program is driving up prices of food (complaints about which have appeared on this page). So which is it? Do we want low food costs for poor people, or do we want poor people to be able to sell the food they grow for more money?
    Sachs has never lived in an African village, but at least he’s fracking been to Africa, and he’s been conducting *results-based, outcome-driven* projects that actually work to lift people out of poverty. You denigrate academics, but your essay is worse than any moldy academic treatise, because you don’t even deign to consider any data or experience, you just regurgitate and extend the unfounded opinion of someone with whom you already agree. What shall we call your type of ivory tower?

    Of course impoverished people “want” all the bennies that Industrialization brought to a few areas of the world! That is why farmers for years have migrated into Big Shities to earn pathetically low wages. Look at China. The Chinese are STILL trying to migrate from the Rice Paddies to factory towns in Gunazou Province, even while the factories are shutting down and the water and air are polluted beyond belief.

    I don’t think Ashvin is making the case that poor folks in sub Saharan Africa have life so great. If anything, he is demonstrating how the lives of these people have been systematically destroyed by industrialization, how the economics of food production via industrial agriculture made their produce near worthless here, while all the time their populations grew beyond the point the land they live on could ever possibly support them anymore in a sustainable manner.

    The thing here is, when the industrial ag model fails, and fail it will, just about all places will be in the same condition sub-Saharan Africa already is in. We are not going to be RAISING the stnadard of living of those folks, we will be LOWERING the standard we all live under now.

    The process is being ringfenced, and the greatest pain is being suffered in the 3rd World economies at the moment, but that pain will be shared by many more soon enough. Greece already is on the brink of falling off the economic cliff as a society. The rest of the PIIGS will not be far behind. The Krauts can only ringfence themselves for so long as the rest of these economies topple one by one here.

    Transitioning back to smaller economies that self support is not going to be an easy process, if it even can be accomplished at all. It most certainly will not be accomplished with anywhere near the 7B Homo Sapiens Sapiens currently walking the Earth. The poor folks in Sub-Saharan Africa never got the “bennies” of the Age of Oil, they only got the liabilities off-loaded onto their backs. They are the first Victims of the Overshoot, but they will not be the last.

    Its Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You also.


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