Debunking the Pastoral Myth

pastoralmyth

Most of us are a few generations off the farm.  We are probably living in a metropolitain area.  We are probably earning decent incomes.  We have insulated homes, heat, electricity, running water.  We buy our organic groceries at a supermarket.  We don’t realize that most of the people who work on farms do so hoping that their children will get a good education and get a job living in the city.  This includes our forefathers. Why?  Because farming is a shitty way to make a living.  It is not a hobby you perform on your off time with a $60,000 a year salary to earn during the day or a pension check coming in each month.

Californians are living in a complete delusion.  They look at the pastoral pictures thinking that those people living in borderline poverty performing manual labor from dawn to dusk have the good life.  Agriculture for most people in the world is a second or third world existence.  They wish it on no one.

A majority of our food comes from industrial agriculture.  Our quality of life and our ability to feed ourselves is dependent on large scale agriculture and agricultural science.  And because of industrial agriculture only a few percent of the developed world’s population works on farms.  Even today most farmers in the developed world want their children to live and work in the city so they can enjoy a better quality of life.  When we ask farmers to produce “organic” products we are actually reducing yield and the farmers are making less money.  Our romantic notions about agriculture are actually imposing more work for less return upon the world’s farmers.  Organic agriculture is a formula for poverty.

For most of the world, growing and eating locally is not viable.  Many regions have short growing seasons that greatly reduce the number and type of crops that can be grown.  Yes, staples can often be grown locally during one season, but winter and the need for nutrition and variety of diet requires long distance transport of produce.  California is the exception, not the rule, and should not dictate agricultural policy for the rest of the world.  Fuck local.

The world does not want to be hungry.  In many cases scarcity in other countries is due to our food fetishes or our food phobias.  Let the people of the world coordinate the growing of crops to feed themselves using the latest techniques of agriculture and aquaculture.  Yes, one company owning all seed varieties is a crime against humanity.  However, there are good agriculturalists who can apply large scale agriculture for our benefit.

Think Global.  Let Us All Eat Bread, Meat, Poultry, Fish, Fruit and Vegetables Year Round.  Cake, too.

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Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

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more about “Jared Diamond: System Collapse“, posted with vodpod

If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

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Envronment: A New Level of Consciousness

I have been talking with Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates all afternoon and evening. All I got for it was insults and demands for deference from a juvenile academic with his head up his ass who ultimately resorted to tampering with my posts. I went for a cup of coffee and began thinking about what the prospects would be if AGW or Climate Change won in the opinion polls. Both sides suddenly looked like losing propositions. Will the solution factories produce the environmental equivalent of an Amazon, Ebay or Google? Or will we do the more likely thing? Treat the symptoms instead of improving the health of the planet.

The Great Wall of China didn’t meet performance requirements. Kafka had something to say about it.

The first thing I thought about was world agriculture and deforestation. It appears inevitable to me that virtually all arable land will be put under the till to produce food crops or feed for cattle, hogs and poultry. Second, I thought about the current hunt and gather practices of the fisheries. I expect that most large bodies of water will eventually be supporting some form of major aquaculture as wild stocks will be depleted. Third, forestry is unsustainable and will not be prevented in time.

Water desalination projects will become imperative world wide as water tables dry up and glaciers disappear.

There will be the need to create multipurpose corridors both East and West and North and South for pipelines, rail, highway, power and communications across continents as well as air hubs at the intersections.

I thought about global depopulation programs reducing the number of children a family could legally have to affect population decline. I also thought about global redistributions of population in the wake of population decline.

And then there was always war.

Finally, I took a break from the shrinking of the polar ice cap and I started thinking about artificial intelligence, robotics, cybernetics and genetics. Suddenly, they all merged together and I wondered if we would be able to preserve our species or we would eventually change all organisms including ourselves into a network of genetically altered cybernetic and artificial intelligences and robotic objects. Perhaps this will be the new level of non-Descartes consciousness we will need to save the planet. What do you think, Einstein?

Give it a century.