The World Food Outlook

Article excerpt

The authors of this well-researched book seem to be totally blind to the harmful effects of uncontrolled population expansion in the Third World and to the resultant environmental degredation. Like many of of the world's contemporary economists they seem to believe that there is no value that cannot be appropriately measured in money. Thus, concludinging that modern technology is capable of expanding food production to support the continued increase in human population, they delight in declaring Malthus to have been proven wrong. Without agreeing with that contention, this reviewer would suggest that they ought to be lamenting the fact that the human population has continued to expand at hitherto unsupportable rates. The present vast increase of human beings is destroying the biosphere and driving other advanced species of plants and animals into extinction. The world is already overpopulated by Homo sapiens not only to the detriment of future generations, but also to the detriment of all living things other than the parasites that live off humanity.

Thus we find the authors proclaiming that: modern-day Malthusians warn that Malthus will ultimately be right: the world will be less and less able to feed itself. They are anxious to apply their pessimism to developing countries - population keeps expanding, no new land is being created, crop yields have increased considerably and may have peaked, and the environment may not tolerate the pressure of more intensive agriculture. We read that China's demand for grain will exceed its own production capacity and take the rest of the world's surplus - Malthus is moving east! While these arguments seem persuasive, the evidence to the contrary is compelling: prices of agricultural commodities in real terms are at their lowest level in history, and crop output continues to rise faster than population.

The fact is that the world food situation has improved dramatically for most of the world's consumers. Output of cereals, the world's main food source, has increased 2. …