06 January 2016

Who Controls the Food Controls the People

Somethings never seem to grow organically in the brain. Some times it has to be read to be understood. Among all the recent assaults on community and freedom, a Borg-fascist future, this post is truly chilling. As most folks, I have been aware of the mechanization and corporatization of farming, Monsanto's efforts in particular, but not being a farmer or agronomist by training, a cursory effort at best.
At a congressional hearing on big data in agriculture last October, the President of the Missouri Farm Bureau said that "farmers should understand what will become of the data collected from their operation", including who has access to it and for what purposes it can be used. From the farmer's perspective, they "must do everything we can to ensure producers own and control their data, can transparently ascertain what happens to the data, and have the ability to store the data in a safe and secure location." It will certainly be interesting to see how this plays out, particularly between developed and developing nations.

One aspect of change in farming over the last few decades was what has been called The Green Revolution
The Green Revolution spread technologies that already existed, but had not been widely implemented outside industrialized nations. These technologies included modern irrigation projects, pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and improved crop varieties developed through the conventional, science-based methods available at the time.

Somehow or another, Green has been morphed into meaning sustainable, which makes sense. Unfortunately, the earlier Green Revolution is the furthest thing from sustainable. In other words, turning the rest of the planet's farm land into what we have now, and (no cite that I can recall) one wag called it: "dead dirt, used only to hold up the plants". Stripped of its nutrients, and dependent on manufactured fertilizers, largely derived from petro. Eat or drive your car.

The folly of Wall Street to drive the US (and Western economies generally) into FIRE and other non-producing activities (I blame Maslow in the final analysis, but that's another episode) leads to the ultimate question, "how many tweets for that bag of carrots". Just as those who snipe at the Arab oil states with the pithy, "you can't eat oil", so to video game code. Speaking of which, there's been a series of GE TeeVee commercials in which a 20-something coder announces to family and friends that he'll (not a girl, alas) be programming for GE, doing machine control and such. All the while pestered by another 20-something kiddie koder showing off his latest website/game/toy. It only took 20 years for corporate America to realize the issue.

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