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I see calls for humans to give up chemical aids to food production, to return to “natural” and “balanced” treatment of the Earth.
Admirable as these calls may be, they are ignoring the reality. This planet is over populated and getting more so.
If humans wish to return to natural food provision, to escape the grip of mega multinational corporations and their subservience to profit growth; if we are to reduce pollution, cope with the consequences of changing weather patterns, escape from an over industrialized and over regimented mode of life, then we have to have less people.
No amount of legislation, no amount of protest action, no changes in political ideology, no individual self-sacrifice, will make any overall difference. We have to have a world population that is sustainable without artificial support.
As the population in every country exceeds its ability to sustain it, whether that be sustaining the food supply, the water supply, the energy supply, or just simply social containment, it will inevitably move towards more control by authority and become more and more reliant on supplies from global mega corporations.
We are drifting towards the Brave New World of George Orwell's imagination.
To keep order in overcrowded cities, the authorities, whether democratic, fascist or socialist, will rely on enforcement of an “orthodoxy” of social behavior. Take an analogy with a river and a dam. While the river runs at its natural level of water, a dam can be used to control the flow and allow equal inputs and outputs from the dam lake. If the amount of water coming towards the dam increases then the dam has to be strengthened, the lake more controlled and constrained, the restriction must be more powerfully enforced to prevent the dam being burst.
When a nation can not feed all of its people, there is unrest and social disorder, the government of the time will be blamed, even if the problem has been caused by social and political policies for the last fifty years. The government of the time will seek to bring in food. The mega companies have the resources to supply at a price. That price is that they end up even more powerful and wealthy. The short term becomes the only consideration; medium and long term problems do not get considered. Inevitably the short term solutions offered by an “exterior” force is bad for the medium and long term welfare of the nation concerned. In these situations, be it food, water, energy, or any other of the perceived necessities of social cohesion, the quality is sacrificed and quality is all that is measured.
Mass production requires mass consumerism, and ever increasing potential customer numbers are a prerequisite of multinational mega production. Greater centralization of production leads to greater profit and so to greater control. The meg multinational corporations wield more power than most governments, even within an industrialized nation the threat to take its employment providing production facilities away gives it power. The trend is always towards increasing consumption, increasing output, increasing the size of the “market,” increasing numbers of customers and obviously; increasing pollutants produced, increasing the need for resources, increasing the reliance on a controlled and regimented social order.
The planet earth is a finite entity. In the end, it will run out. This may take a long time, but it will end up exhausted of its finite elements.
What can we do? As with all solutions to any social problem, if you aim for short term and total change, there will be pain, distress, and dissent. Gradual change is needed. Over the next 100 years, the growth of world population needs to be stabilized, then over the following 100 years it will have to be slowly reduced. The aim should be a sustainable population in every nation within the next 200 years. The mass producing companies will hate this, it will destroy their power and their wealth and so they will fight against it.
Britain will have particular problems as the whole basis of society will have to be reversed. Ever since the industrial revolution, Britain has moved away from being able to produce its own food supply. Some governments have actively encouraged immigration of people while also depleting the land used for agriculture; this has continued year after year until we now have a situation where it is physically impossible to be self-sufficient in food. There are many other nations in the same position, the gradual erosion of national identity and independence, all in the name of progress, has left these nations totally dependent on the very thing that has the long term potential to destroy them.
In 200 years time, the aim must be:
Each nation should be able to feed its own people from the food grown within its own borders. Each nation should be self-sufficient in water, food, shelter, defense, and purpose.
Only when every nation can support its own stable population will we start to reduce conflict and disease, only then will peace have a chance; only then will cooperation in arts, science, and medicine be able to produce advances that benefit all the people not just the few. Only then will nations turn from competition to cooperation.