Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Agricultural paradoxes

Agriculture presents some unexpected paradoxes
  1. Shortage of food and famines mostly occur in countries that specialize in producing foodstuffs. The smaller the percentage of agriculture as a percentage of gross domestic product, the smaller the odds are of famine. In fact, the risk in countries with practically no agriculture is dying of eating too much.
  2. The most effective agriculture in the world, in the USA and Europe, is unable to survive without subsidies and protection.
  3. In 1970 Norman Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize for the 'green revolution in agriculture, for having produced new species that increased harvests and productivity immensely. This enormoous explosion of agricultural productivity has not drastically changed the number of poor and hungry in the world.
-- "How Rich Countries Got Rich" by Erik S. Reinert p. 149 - 150

Only industrialization can create an effective agricultural sector. In fact, all the world's failed states share the fact that they experience frequent problems of food supply and have weak industrial sectors. 

-- "How Rich Countries Got Rich" by Erik S. Reinert p. 158
"Since demand does not move in sync with production, agricultural commodities often experience huge price fluctuations. At times fluctuations can be so large that the total value of the crop in a year with bad harvests can be higher than the total value in a good year." 
"Agriculture is usually the first sector to enter into a downward business cycle and the last to come out of it."
-- "How Rich Countries Got Rich" by Erik S. Reinert p. 160


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