We have lived in a world of abundant food for our entire lives, but that happy condition is now approaching its Malthusian limits, as the population nears the food producing capacity of the Earth. We still have plenty of food potential as long as we have plenty of oil to power our economy and create fertilizers, and the only famines at present are caused by political manipulations of the food creation and distribution. From Yahoo News

The World Bank’s food price index rose by 15 percent between October and January alone. The increase has been driven by volatile global trading in wheat, corn and soybeans. Global corn futures more than doubled since this summer, from $3.50 to $7 a bushel, in part because of higher demand from developing countries and a growing biofuels industry.

As food prices go up there will be a trend toward planting more human food crops to the exclusion of creating fuel for cars and other chemicals, then there will be a reduction of cropland being used for animal feed. That will mean the price of hamburgers and milkshakes will go up faster than the price of vegetable-based meals. Our American meals will increasingly look more like traditional Chinese, Indian and Mexican ones with more basic grains. Perhaps more toward the modern California cuisine as seen in the salads from Trader Joe’s market, which are probably healthier than the fatty diet most people have become accustomed to. These changes will be encouraged by normal economic processes forcing the price of animal feed to go higher.

The present food price hikes are not the precursors to Doomsday which I have been writing about for a long time, but they are continuing examples of our moving inexorably toward that day. This summer, the commodity analyst Chris Nagel said, “We need to get good crops, all around the world, in all of these commodities,  You just don’t have much room for error.” That means we are getting close to levels where large shifts in production towards more human food production are getting near. The problem is that by the time next year’s crop comes along we will have seventy-five million more humans to feed, so if we are approaching a critical limit right now we will certainly exceed that limit in a few more years. Possibly there will be enough of a buffer in food production to produce double the amount of human food we presently do, but that will probably require lifestyle changes most people will be unwilling to make. Also, it simply may not be possible, but even if it is possible, if the human population doubles, in forty years that food will all be eaten up and we will be in far worse condition for preventing collapse than we are now.

This problem bothers me, but the politicians’ voluntary unwillingness to even talk about it annoys me even more emotionally because it is so profoundly irresponsible. Another problem is that when problems come along it brings out an ugly side of people. Many people, even in these good times, respond to other people’s problems with hostility, and when things get bad and the price of everything goes much higher they will become even uglier. From the comments on the Yahoo article we read:

  1. Oh great, among the hundreds of other things we all have to worry about, now we all have to worry about starving to death. And I’m not talking about just the poor either.
  2. Tell the world that the US is broke and don’t come to us. Our food prices are much higher, too. We are broke so don’t think we will bail you out,
  3. Not to worry, humans. Pretty soon you will be eating Soylent Red, and when the food riots begin, you’ll be eating Soylent Green.
  4. When OPEC cut their prices, maybe we’ll lower grain prices.
  5. We dont have a food shortage. We have a population surplus.
  6. Get used to it. Thanks to the lies from the UN’s IPCC and the global warming scam the world is now using food for fuel instead of drilling for oil.
  7. We really need to stop using corn to produce ethanol. Even if this were a real solution to ending our dependence on foregin oil (it’s not), it woudl still not trump the poor’s need to eat.
  8. This could be a good thing. Maybe if food costs more people will eat less and get in better shape. America is one of the most obese countries on the planet.
  9. As Scrooge said “I suggest they die and decrease the surplus population” Stop sending food to people that live in a f’n desert and keep breeding when they cant even feed themselves. It’s not cruelty. It’s Darwinism. Mother nature cant fix the population problem if we keep cheating.
  10. We really need to ask ourselves WHY we allow liberals to reproduce! It’s like encouraging a cancer to spread!
  11. This has been coming for a few years now, I am quite prepared for it as are many others. You lefties and welfare slime can starve or wait in line for your food rations, I will be laughing at you.
  12. I got plenty of money and food. Time for the third world which is responsible for the overpopulation to cull the herd. Take responsibility for your actions!!!!!
  13. Behind the scenes, they are probably celebrating. Population control though starvation.
  14. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is capable of fixing this mess as much as we’d like to think there is someone out there that will.
  15. While I agree that stable political systems are a part of the problem, simply having ‘arable land’ is no guarantee of plentiful food production.. Unless ‘arable land’ includes a consistent water supply then really how much good is it?
  16. Stop all exports of US produced Food.. Let the world starve.. it will make is easier to take over the world.. and once we are in control we can own the oil fields.. Bah ha ha…
  17. It’s global warming, not socialist, anti-productive governments that have caused this food crisis.

These comments at the bottom of the Yahoo article cover the basic problems, but I don’t see any easy political solution to them, certainly nothing we would be willing to live with with our current political world view. The big problem is that we are contending with Mother Nature and she always wins. You may hate Malthus’s ideas but think what you will, population is presently expanding toward the food supply the Earth will supply, and the fact that food prices are rising is what will happen as food supply becomes scarce. Even with our technical innovations, and they are many, the basic problem exists. When times permit it people will have more children. We have been living in an age of prosperity and continue to do so, but population can’t grow forever, not because I say it can’t but because the natural laws of nature, Mother Nature, say they can’t.

When Mother Nature speaks we obey or she kills us.