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In keeping with my efforts to alert this audience to sources that are not seen as often in diaries here I have an article by Fred Magdoff, professor emeritus at the University of Vermont and adjunct professor at Cornell University and Brian Tokar, a long-time activist and author, and current director of the Institute for Social Ecology, based in Plainfield, Vermont entitled Agriculture and Food in Crisis.  The article appears in the July-August issue of Monthly Review.  The article was sent to all the people in Charlie Sing's group. I have diaried about this group in the past.  Read below the break and I will discuss their article.

In previous attempts to raise this issue here I found that we are a very mixed group.  Some say these warnings are too mild and others are quick to dismiss them. If nothing else, this suggests the that the level of understanding of these issues in the general population must be even more divided.  If so, we have our work cut out for us.  Magdoff and Tokar start out by telling us this:

"Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?," asks the title of an article by Lester Brown in Scientific American (May 2009). Just a few years ago, such a question would have seemed almost laughable. Few will be surprised by it today.

In 2008 people woke up to a tsunami of hunger sweeping the world. Although the prospect of rising hunger has loomed on the horizon for years, the present crisis seemed to come out of the blue without warning. Food riots spread through many countries in the global South as people tried to obtain a portion of what appeared to be a rapidly shrinking supply of food, and many governments were destabilized.
The causes for the extraordinary spike in food prices in 2008, doubling over 2007 prices, brought together long-term trends, at work for decades, with a number of more recent realities.1 The most important long-term trends leading to current situation include:

   * increased diversion of corn grain and soybeans to produce meat as the world’s per capita meat consumption doubled in about forty years. As much as 95 percent of calories are lost in the conversion of grain and soybeans to meat.
   * decreased food production associated with poor countries adopting the neoliberal paradigm of letting the "free market" govern food production and distribution;
   * widespread "depeasantization," partially caused by neoliberal "reforms" and International Monetary Fund (IMF) mandated "structural adjustments," as conditions forced peasant farmers off the land and into urban slums, where one-sixth of humanity now lives; and
   * increasing concentration of corporate ownership and control over all aspects of food production, from seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers, to the grain elevators, processing facilities, and grocery stores.

 It is not possible to read those words without becoming alarmed unless you think they are making this up.   They are not newly discovering the problem:

Hungry for Profit

Many of the trends discussed ten years ago in the summer issue of Monthly Review, Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food, and the Environment (later issued in book form5) continue to this day:

   * the disruption of nutrient cycles with the spread of capitalist agriculture and the more recent move toward large-scale, factory-style animal production facilities;
   * the ecological damage caused by chemical- and fossil fuel-intensive agricultural practices;
   * the great extent of consolidation (both horizontal and vertical integration) in the input and processing sectors of the agrifood system;
   * farmers increasingly working as laborers for agribusiness, often under contract to large integrated meat-producing corporations;
   * the role of genetically modified (GM) seeds in consolidating corporate control over the input sector and farm practices overall;
   * the difficulties presented to the third world by the various provisions of the World Trade Organization;
   * the mass migration of peasants from the countryside of the third world (depeasantization), and into urban slums where there are few jobs available;
   * the extent of hunger amidst plenty in the United States, with many anti-hunger organizations focusing on the most immediate emergencies, thus leaving the deeper issue of poverty unaddressed;
   * the importance of land reform and the benefits of reducing or eliminating reliance on commercial fertilizers and pesticides;
   * and, the resulting emergence of organizations within the United States and worldwide that are not satisfied with the system and are working to develop new solutions to feed communities and protect the land.

Things have changed in the course of the last decade, of course. However, the basic trends continued and have become deeper and more ingrained in the system. For example, the many ecological disasters associated with conventional agricultural production have only gotten worse. These include pollution of groundwater and surface water with nitrates, phosphates, sediments, and pesticides; contamination of food; nutrient depletion on farms that raise crops, even while nutrient-rich wastes accumulate to dangerously polluting levels in large-scale animal production facilities; and increasing spread of antibiotic resistant microbes due to the routine use of antibiotics in factory-raised livestock. The main driving force of the agrifood system is, of course, the never ending goal of continual generation of profits. Little appears to stand in the way of a system that worships, as Rachel Carson put it, the "gods of profit and production."

 As we watch the Obama miracle unfold, it becomes more and more evident that he inherited a very large set of nasty problems.  There is something else though.  He also is not superman and has to do whatever he is going to do with the same government structure that got us here.  In other words, these, among the many other problems he is confronting, have a live of their own and are interconnected within a very cumbersome but stable system.  That system by its nature is unable to offer the avenues by which it will be changed in anything but trivial ways.  The testimony of these authors concerning the fact that things only get worse is sobering if not downright frightening.

The article goes on describing the present situation and then ends with an apparently simple idea:

"Food for people, not for profit" must be the slogan of the new agrifood systems.

 Here we go again,  Whether it be health care reform, climate, energy, or now agriculture, we confront that same word "profit" over and over again.

It gives rise to the same comments every time because it is the most misunderstood word we read in these commentaries.  Profit is a word with the kind of lack of contextual definition that makes it almost impossible to discuss rationally.  Profit as a simple way of making sure that the sacrifice of what one owns to enable a goods or services outcome to happen is as value neutral as one could imagine.  But when used in the context we use it in discussing these and related problems it does not have a neutral meaning at all.  It is the one word that captures a value system that is both intricate and anti-human.  It describes an attitude that strips away the consequences of activities and justifies them solely on the illusion that all that is involved is a fair return on investment.  What is missed is that the return is only fair when it is measured against its cost in human terms.  This is not a merely financial issue.  It is an issue about immediate gratification.  It is an issue about hiding real costs that escape having anyone in the profit making position responsible for covering as part of the overall deal.  It is structural and deeply embedded in all we do.  This discussion needs to be totally re-framed and we had better do that quickly for we have squandered far too much time already.  "Profit" must never be allowed to prevent a just and humane system from existing.  So far it has.  This needs to be changed.  Yes we can!

Originally posted to don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:30 PM PDT.

Poll

Food is

15%11 votes
2%2 votes
5%4 votes
65%47 votes
11%8 votes
0%0 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:30:30 PM PDT

  •  I cover a corner of this (10+ / 0-)

    I studied global per capita end of season wheat stocks a while back. There is a tidy graph in this diary that would help one visualize what has happened. Executive summary: ethanol effects caused a drawdown of stocks from historic 70 lbs/person to just over half that. It's not evenly distributed and we have troubles because of that.

    "Not dead ... yet. Still have ... things to do." -Liet Kynes

    by Stranded Wind on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:33:46 PM PDT

    •  Didn't you also talk about the (7+ / 0-)

      lowered protein content of crops, or was that AAF or another food diarist?

      While a part of me agrees with the diarist, another part remembers experiments with petri dishes and bacterial colonies...

      There are finite limits to the ability of ecosystems to support life, and we CANNOT survive as a species if we keep breeding and breeding to outstrip the resources of our environment.  I think the opposite side of the coin is that IF foods is a basic human right, then we have to limit the number of humans to our ability to produce and deliver the food.

      We may temporarily be ahead of the curve now with production capacity, but we are rapidly degrading our environment in every way imaginable just to keep at this level.  I foresee widespread famine as we destroy the oceans and pollute the lands in the name of feeding ever more human beings.

      Bah. Typoed during acct creation. It's Ezekiel 23:20

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:44:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Peak oil is what will bring on the food crisis (6+ / 0-)

    It is pretty clear that the world relies on cheap oil to produce enough food to feed it 6 billion plus people.

    The experts all agree that we are at or nearing peak oil which also means  we are at or nearing a food crisis.

  •  I've been touching on this in my weekly (6+ / 0-)

    series Macca's Meatless Monday for some time. Consciousness is not where it needs to be at this time.

    Peace

  •  No, the sky is not falling. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger

    And short of rapid global climate catastrophe far beyond consensus projections, few scenarios present a survival threat to civilization.  Regional political instability and war are a serious danger, but to threaten civilization itself would require that the main food-exporting countries experience major simultaneous disruptions.  

    Short of that, price spikes would ensue with damaging short-term effects, but domestic supply would shift away from export markets to serve increased local prices and a stabilized condition would follow.  This shift can occur relatively rapidly (as compared to other industries) because food is commoditized, although the transition would take long enough for problems to be felt (as you note from 2008).  

    We lose a lot of potential in failing to address the issue, but civilization is robust on a global scale.  Even if it collapses entirely in one country, the net economic effects are distributed among the others, making a regional "domino effect" unlikely unless the collapse occurs in a major economic power.  A global domino effect is thus even less likely.

    "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

    by Troubadour on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:03:22 PM PDT

    •  It is the prevalence of this type of thinking (7+ / 0-)

      that convinces me that we are not going to do anything about our energy problem and our population problem until these problem become very painfully obvious.

      Even squirrels save nuts for the winter but people apparently are not as smart as squirrels.

      •  That's just not the case. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, ilex, don mikulecky

        Massive resources are being mobilized for clean, sustainable energy and efficient technologies.  And as for population it's been clear for decades that prosperity and security lead to lower birth rates - something that is itself economically dangerous over the long-term.  

        I am not knowledgeable about global food reserves, but I don't doubt they're inadequate: Enough should be kept to support a third of global population for three years, or most of the population for a shorter interval - more than adequate time to reestablish food production if major disruptions did occur.

        Contingency planning is always a good idea no matter what the subject is.

        "Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend." -Bruce Lee

        by Troubadour on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:32:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I recently watched a movie entitled (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ilex, don mikulecky

          A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

          This movie contradicts everyone of your statements.

          I would like to see a well reasoned refutation of the case presented in this movie but I doubt there is one.

        •  Managing a downward slope (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky

          is what we are facing.  Sadly it is much more likely to be a drop off a cliff because advance planning appears to be practically nil.  I was only vaguely award of peak oil awhile back.  I really thought that those doomer people were much too pessimistic.  Then I did some reading and while the exact time line may be in doubt the outcome appears assured.

          In an ideal world we would find a way to stair step the entire process - old wealthy industrial nations with declining populations would embrace the 3 Rs,  developing countries would be helped to ramp up more quickly minus as many of the old guards' missteps as possible, all would adopt conservation and efficiency measures.  And it would still be hard going managing the reduction of population to sustainable levels.

          As it is the oligarchs will be perfectly happy if a few billion perish from famine as long as they do it quietly without too much fuss.

      •  and irreversible n/t (0+ / 0-)

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 07:01:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  HUH? We are concerned about human suffering here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      what are you talking about?

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:22:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I suggest a thought experiment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      Instead of thinking of reasons why we're in fine shape, try doing the opposite. See if you can defeat your own assumption that 'civilization is robust on the global scale'.

      This is what I've been doing for several years now, albeit coming from the other direction. To me, the combination of booming population, declining resources, and declining ability of the natural world to absorb human wastes leads to only one possible outcome. And that's without factoring in feedback loops like global warming, desertification, etc. But the logical conclusion seems so radical that I feel I must try to defeat the doom-n-gloom outlook.

      Can't do it. That is, I can't convince myself that we can go on living pretty much like we do today.

      Now I'm going to get a little nasty. Your concern seems to be for "civilization", and I suppose that "civilization" can survive considerable disruption, since it is not a living thing or even a population, it is only a mode of social organization. The continuance of "civilization" means only that somewhere, agriculture continues with sufficient productive output that there can be at least one city; artisan, merchant, and professional classes; a warrior class; a priesthood; and a king or near equivalent. This may seem valuable to you, but it looks like a poor goal to me.

      You use phrases like "regional political instability and war are a serious danger", and "price spikes would ensue with damaging short-term effects", and "the transition would take long enough for problems to be felt", and "even if it collapses entirely in one country", and "a regional "domino effect" [is] unlikely unless the collapse occurs in a major economic power" as though they couldn't possibly apply to you or anyone you care about. You also seem to have a secure belief that economic firewalls will somehow save us (assuming that we're on the right side of the firewall)-- "to threaten civilization itself would require that the main food-exporting countries experience major simultaneous disruptions". I'll leave aside the absurdity of thinking that the world economy is an integrated system when that view would favor us, but not when it doesn't, and just go to these questions: Do you seriously think that economic collapse in one country, that is caused by ecological collapse, will stop at national borders? Do you not see that desertification in Africa eventually affects the corn harvest in Iowa? Where do the petro-inputs needed for that corn harvest come from, once Saudi Arabia is pumped dry?

      Still reading? Despite the above, I call myself an optimist. I think we can preserve civilization (without the scare quotes), including civilized values like democracy and treatin' people decent, if we decide that's what we want to do. I think we can make this world work for all the people that are here now and their decendants, if we want to. Of course, that would mean changing some things about how we live, that are based on an assumption of perpetual growth. Or we could not change those things, and just see what happens. My guess, the warriors and priests will do OK (for a while), the peasants and workers not so much.

      On this we agree-- the sky is not falling. It'll be fine, because it doesn't give a shit whether we humans live or die. I, however, do give a shit, and I'd like to be able to think that you do too.

  •  We have enough food to feed everyone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wide eyed lib

    We just don't distribute it properly.

    We have a distribution problem, not a food one.

    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

    by Whimsical on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:05:27 PM PDT

    •  Any thing to back this up? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      I know that you haven't since you are not evern reading the diary article.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:21:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You lose. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        badger, wide eyed lib

        Go argue with these folks:

        http://www.worldhunger.org/...

        Key graph:

        The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9).  The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

        by Whimsical on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:28:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no the people lose if you believe this n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:48:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, THAT's a credible rebuttal (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            badger, wide eyed lib
            * rolls eyes *

            Gee, who to believe? A well known, well respected organization working to end global hunger,who provided a heavily sourced article to back up their claims,  or some random dipweed on the internet whose response basically boils down to "Nuh-uh."

            Such a tough choice [/snark]...

            Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

            by Whimsical on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 08:05:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why is Magdoff a "dip weed" to you? (0+ / 0-)

              What criteria are you using to make your off-the-wall judgement?  Or is it that your source backs your own bias?

              An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 08:12:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Magdoff's article says nothing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wide eyed lib

                That counters my (again, heavily sourced) claim.

                The world is capable of feeding everybody on it.  It's the distribution system that's the problem.

                Not that that makes him a dipweed. On the contrary- when faced with the actual problem your response of "Is not!" makes you one.

                You got challenged, you lost.  Either admit it or disprove my link.

                Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                by Whimsical on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 08:21:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  First disprove mine dipweed n/t (0+ / 0-)

                  An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                  by don mikulecky on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 05:35:37 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Already done. (0+ / 0-)

                    My article disproves your mistaken claims about Magdoff's article.

                    See, cause Magdoff's article doesn't actually support your claim that we can't make enough food for everyone.

                    Your claim has been demolished by my link.  And what little credibility you had has been destroyed by the immaturity of your responses.  Like a child who has been proven wrong, your sole response is to throw a temper tantrum, pounding your fists and wailing "Has not, has NOT, HAS NOT!"

                    When you're ready to admit your error and speak like an adult, I may see if you have anything worthwhile to say, though I doubt it.

                    Till then, neither you nor your arguments are worth my time.

                    Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                    by Whimsical on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 06:06:15 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  no not done (0+ / 0-)

                      you seem to think posting what you did is equivalent to a point by point discussion of what this diary has put forth.  That is the ploy of a propagandist.  read the diary and show us with EVIDENCE that you have other information.  Otherwise I discount you as another right wing troll.

                      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                      by don mikulecky on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 06:10:44 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  *pats you on the head* (0+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hidden by:
                        don mikulecky

                        There you go again: "Did not, Did NOT,DID NOT!".

                        Not my fault if you're not smart enough to comprehend the mountain of heavily sourced information and evidence that link provides.

                        You've got nothing to counter my evidence, and you're too childish to admit when you've lost.

                        Until you can grow up enough to do that, we're done.

                        Freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to lie without consequence; unless, apparently if you're a right wing talk-radio host.

                        by Whimsical on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 06:20:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You have provided nothing and make all these (0+ / 0-)

                          claims.  Insults and other troll behavior get what they desrve.  Meanwhile we have a diary here with work of two prominent scholars.  your attempts to use BS to try to berate what they wrote are troll behavior.

                          No where in any of this is the issue of food supply vs food distribution discussed.  You dig up a link and then demand that we pay attention to you?

                          When you learn to discuss and argue you will also stop your name calling and other abusive behavior.

                          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                          by don mikulecky on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 02:27:10 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  And finally for the link war: A 13 page National (0+ / 0-)

                          Geographic article that makes the emergency nature of the situation quite clear:The Global Food Crisis: The end of plenty

                          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                          by don mikulecky on Sat Jul 04, 2009 at 03:00:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  A 'time bomb' for world wheat crop (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Margfh, ilex, don mikulecky, Larsstephens

    The Ug99 fungus, called stem rust, could wipe out more than 80% of the world's wheat as it spreads from Africa, scientists fear. The race is on to breed resistant plants before it reaches the U.S - LA Times

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 06:40:40 PM PDT

  •  Sitting on a white plate on my kitchen counter (4+ / 0-)

    are several seeds.  I've got sour cherry pits, peach pits, lemon seeds and strawberry seeds.

    I have a nice large planter on my back patio and thought I might toss a few seeds in there and see what will grow.

    I spent quite a while on line today only to learn that most of my seeds are probably worthless.  It seems that I need to purchase actual plants or heirloom seeds in order to grow fruit.

    Is this normal?  I purchased my fruits from the grocery store and thought I'd have a little fun planting the seeds.  I currently have a few small lemon trees growing in the planter but based on my reading I'm not sure that they would ever produce edible lemons.

    I wish my grandfather was still around.  He was a good old fashioned Georgia farm boy and grew or raised most of what he ate.  It saddens me when I think of all the lost opportunities to learn all that he knew.

    He would be quite disappointed in me.  Of course, I'm not giving up.  I have every intention of learning to grow several edible plants.  

    I have to do this.  I've already started a compost pile out back and I have to do something with all that compost. :)

    •  Hmmm... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, blueocean

      Well that would depend on your seeds...I think chances are your seeds will grow into fruit trees but being hybrids they most likely won't breed true.  The modified seeds that won't reproduce are usually for crops that are planted annually.  Most orchards take many years to reach full production so I'm thinking with fruit seeds you have better odds of success.

  •  Frito-Lay Angrily Introduces (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    Line of Healthy Snacks

    PLANO, TX—With the recent trend of wholesome snack foods reaching "truly ridiculous proportions," Frito-Lay announced Monday that it would, against its better judgment, roll out a new line of healthy fruit-and-vegetable-based chips next February.

    "Here," said Frito-Lay CEO Al Carey as he disgustedly tossed a bag of the company's new Flat Earth-brand snack crisps onto the lectern during a meeting with shareholders and members of the press. "Here's some shit that's made from beets. I hope you're all happy now that you have your precious beet chips with the recommended daily serving of fruit, or vegetables, or whatever the hell a 'beet' is."

    "Mmm, dehydrated bulb things," Carey added. "Sounds delicious."

    (Good diary - I just got a chuckle out of this ;-)

    This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around!

    by Snud on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 07:18:58 PM PDT

  •  Potato fungus like Irish famine (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ilex, don mikulecky

    A report in today's paper warns that potatoes and tomatoes throughout the East Coast are being hit by the same type of fungus that devastated Ireland in the 1840s-50s. (A solid month of cool rainy weather hasn't helped any.)

    The decreasing diversity of species and varieties of food crops makes them much more vulnerable to this type of infestation.

    Not a happy picture. . . .

  •  Mooseburgers Out Now? (0+ / 0-)

    In no other area of economic activity is ideology so dominant that a few voices of sanity - like those of Stranded Wind - are lost in the noise.

    Here we go again,  Whether it be health care reform, climate, energy, or now agriculture, we confront that same word "profit" over and over again.

    And then it was avoided like poison near as I can tell.

    "Food for Peace" has been a most efficient device to native agriculture.  Intentions can be charitable or monopolistic or imperialistic but the effect is equally destructive.

    The current organic farming doctrine is no better than the agrarian reformers that sometimes destroy productivity and leave starvation in their wake.

    What is the answer?

    Sanity rather than ideology would be a good starting point.

    A profit motive can work wonders for productivity but naturally must be reined in.  Israeli kibbutzes were apparently quite successful in difficult circumstances but there seems to have been an element of capitalism, not to mention "patriotism," in their development of a most pure form of socialism.  Communist communes were disastrous.

    Ideological claptrap from the wingers or back-to-mature idealists is not notably productive IMO.  Manure should be digested before it is spread.

    Best,  Terry

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