“Food is the new oil; land is the new gold”

October 2, 2012

So says Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute and author of  “Full Planet, Empty Plates:  The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity.”   As Brown’s book hits market, we see evidence of agricultural landgrabbing across the Global South – in Africa, in Myanmar, and in Brazil.  There is push back against this trend in South America, where Argentina and Uruguay have passed laws putting limits on foreign ownership of farmland, and in Brazil, where concern is growing.

As with all things, I believe that technology will continue to resolve food shortages so long as the proper regulatory environment is in place.  The original Green Revolution fostered by Norman Borlaug accomplished something similar a few decades ago.  Borlaug’s work probably saved more lives than any one individual in history.  Sadly, today his work is often castigated as “food imperialism” while contemporary Greens often see Borlaug as an emblem of failure.

Resource nationalism and neo-Luddism are problematic enough on their own.  Combined together in the contemporary Food/Fear nexus which at once decries genetic modification and agricultural investment while warning of an impending food system collapse, and it is potentially disastrous.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: