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Can we produce enough food?

I like this question because at least I believe there is a real possibility that the answer is positive. My logic is based on the fact that we are currently surviving and that large sections of the advanced nations are not just eating far too much, but happily wasting probably half of the food that is produced. Therefore, with better motivation, a fitter and thinner world population, and increased efficiency in avoiding waste, we should be able to sustain a slightly larger world population than at present. In the short term of one generation, world starvation can be avoided. This gives us a breathing space to educate and rethink how to reduce future world populations, not just to the current level, but to actually reduce it. If we can do this, the quality of life in the underdeveloped nations will improve. This is essential, not least as commercial enterprises want to continuously expand and currently can only achieve this if the population is increasing. New markets would help in this respect whilst we try to change our behaviour. It is clearly contrary to past human behaviour of expansionism and wealth generation by exploiting mass markets. But the current approach is unsustainable in terms of world resources, not just food. So curtailment of production levels is needed. This is a radical change in attitude, but for our survival it is needed.

Historically, we have generally ignored the social factors, and instead focussed on further forward progress, enabled by yet more technological innovations. In our enthusiasm, we have looked for short-term gains for ourselves (especially in the more ‘advanced’ societies), without worrying about the large sections of the world that are living in poverty and conditions that may be worse than for our Stone Age ancestors. The view is blinkered, but widespread.

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