Peak Food ("worst crisis for 30 years")

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Peak Food ("worst crisis for 30 years")

Postby Bismillah » Mon Sep 04, 2006 5:19 pm

Yesterday's Independent carried yet another article about the ongoing collapse of essential life-support systems on this planet:<br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href="http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article1325467.ece">news.independent.co.uk/en...325467.ece</a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br><br>Apocalypse now, or next year. While the Western ruling class is busy selling its oxymoronic "War on Terror" (which is a war for dwindling natural resources, including food), the poor everywhere will of course be the first to suffer the consequences <br><br>I'll be curious to see how many people here will try to dismiss this as another "scam" like the alleged "Peak Oil scam". This food crisis is precisely what was predicted by Dale Allan Pfeiffer a couple of years ago in his essay "Eating Fossil Fuels" on the website of the much-maligned Michael Ruppert. If Geoffrey Lean gets the Ruppert Treatment, he will be accused of "calling for" mass starvation. Maybe he too is a CIA agent...? (Irony fails me.)<br><br>**************************************<br><br>The hungry planet <br><br>As stocks run out and harvests fail, the world faces its worst crisis for 30 years <br><br>By Geoffrey Lean <br><br>Published: 03 September 2006 <br><br>Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better times - but these have now fallen below the danger level. <br><br>Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more expensive.<br><br>The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain harvest will fall for the second successive year.<br><br>The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from 2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.<br><br>The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast, farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999 to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent this year.<br><br>The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation in Africa or Asia.<br><br>Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.<br><br>The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis, in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that "within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".<br><br>Yet, a generation later, more than 800 million people worldwide are still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below consumption only three times, compared to six now.<br><br>It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.<br><br>Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.<br><br>Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club - "the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who harvested that amount per acre.<br><br>Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30 tons of tomatoes per acre.<br><br>That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630 million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15 years, to around 2 billion tons.<br><br>"The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."<br><br>Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this, too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen by more than half.<br><br>There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.<br><br>It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly, cars.<br><br>The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference, partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce 2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.<br><br>Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol - strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.<br><br>Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown, uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor - countries.<br><br>From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.<br><br>This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers. Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they simply cannot afford to do so.<br><br>Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global warming cuts harvests.<br><br>Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows that this can double yields.<br><br>But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food security." <br><br>Food supplies are shrinking alarmingly around the globe, plunging the world into its greatest crisis for more than 30 years. New figures show that this year's harvest will fail to produce enough to feed everyone on Earth, for the sixth time in the past seven years. Humanity has so far managed by eating its way through stockpiles built up in better times - but these have now fallen below the danger level. <br><br>Food prices have already started to rise as a result, and threaten to soar out of reach of many of the 4.2 billion people who live in the world's most vulnerable countries. And the new "green" drive to get cars to run on biofuels threatens to make food even scarcer and more expensive.<br><br>The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which produce the world's two main forecasts of the global crop production, both estimate that this year's grain harvest will fall for the second successive year.<br><br>The FAO is still compiling its latest crop forecast - due to be published next month - but told The Independent on Sunday late last week that it looked like barely exceeding 2 billion tons, down from 2.38 billion last year, and 2.68 billion in 2004, although the world's appetite has continued to grow as its population rises.<br><br>The USDA estimates it will be even lower - 1.984 billion tons. This would mean that it would fall 58 million tons short of what the world's people are expected to consume this year: 10 years ago, by contrast, farmers grew 64 million tons more than was consumed. The world's food stocks have shrunk from enough to feed the world for 116 days in 1999 to a predicted 57 days at the end of this season, well below the official safety level. Prices have already risen by up to 20 per cent this year.<br><br>The gathering crisis has been largely unnoticed because, for once, the harvests have failed in rich countries such as the United States and Australia, which normally export food, rather than in the world's hungriest ones. So it has not immediately resulted in mass starvation in Africa or Asia.<br><br>Instead, it will have a delayed effect as poor people become increasingly unable to afford expensive food and find that there is not enough in store to help them when their own crops fail.<br><br>The lack of world attention contrasts with the last great food crisis, in the mid-1970s. Then Henry Kissinger - at the height of his powers as Richard Nixon's Secretary of State - called a World Food Conference, in which governments solemnly resolved that never again would they allow humanity to run short of sustenance. The conference, in Rome, resolved to eradicate hunger by the mid-1980s. Kissinger himself pledged that "within a decade, no child should go hungry to bed".<br><br>Yet, a generation later, more than 800 million people worldwide are still constantly hungry. Every day, some 16,000 young children die, at least partly because they do not get enough food. And the new food crisis threatens to be even worse than the last one. In the seven years running up to the Rome conference grain production fell below consumption only three times, compared to six now.<br><br>It was at the conference that I first met Lester Brown, who has, ever since, been the principal prophet of the coming scarcity, repeatedly warning of the new crisis which is now upon us.<br><br>Brown - who now heads the Earth Policy Institute, a respected Washington-based think tank - gleaned his first insights into the world's predicament as a tomato tycoon when he was a teenager. Back in the early 1950s, when he was just 14, he and his brother bought an old tractor for $200 (£105), rented a couple of fields near their home in southern New Jersey and started growing the vegetables after school.<br><br>Soon the brothers were among the top 1 per cent of tomato growers in the United States. They easily qualified for the Ten-Ton Tomato Club - "the Phi Beta Kappa of tomato growers" - which is open to those who harvested that amount per acre.<br><br>Then Campbell's Soups, trying to lower costs, threw money into research to increase yields. Within a few years, the club had to change its name to the Twenty-Ton Tomato Club. But the pace of improvement could not be sustained. Despite decades of more research growth of yields slowed dramatically; by the mid- 1990s the best growers were getting about 30 tons of tomatoes per acre.<br>That, says Brown, is what has been happening to the world's harvests as a whole. Between 1950 and 1990 grain yields more than doubled, but they have grown much more slowly since. Production rose from around 630 million tons to 1.78 billion tons, but has only edged up in the past 15 years, to around 2 billion tons.<br><br>"The near-tripling of the harvest by the world's farmers was a remarkable performance," says Brown. "In a single generation they increased grain production by twice as much as had been achieved during the preceding 11,000 years, since agriculture began. But now the world has suffered a dramatic loss of momentum."<br><br>Apart from increasing yields, there has always been one other way of boosting production - putting more land under the plough. But this, too, has been running into the buffers. As population grows and farmland is used for building roads and cities - and becomes exhausted by overuse - the amount available for each person on Earth has fallen by more than half.<br><br>There are more than five people on Earth today for every two living in the middle of the last century. Yet enough is produced worldwide to feed everyone well, if it is evenly distributed.<br><br>It is not just that people in rich countries eat too much, and those in poor ones eat too little. Enormous quantities of the world's increasingly scarce grain now goes to feed cows - and, indirectly, cars.<br><br>The cows are longstanding targets of Brown's, who founded the prestigious Worldwatch Institute immediately after the 1974 conference, partly to draw attention to the precariousness of food supplies. As people become better-off, they eat more meat, the animals that are slaughtered often being fed on grain. It takes 14kg of grain to produce 2kg of beef, and 8kg of grain for 2kg of pork. More than a third of the world's harvest goes to fatten animals in this way.<br><br>Cars are a new concern, the worry arising from the present drive to produce green fuels to fight global warming. A "corn rush" has erupted in the United States, using the crop to produce the biofuel, ethanol - strongly supported by subsidies from the Bush administration to divert criticism of its failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.<br><br>Just a single fill of ethanol for a four-wheel drive SUV, says Brown, uses enough grain to feed one person for an entire year. This year the amount of US corn going to make the fuel will equal what it sells abroad; traditionally its exports have helped feed 100 - mostly poor - countries.<br><br>From next year, the amount used to run American cars will exceed exports, and soon it is likely to reduce what is available to help feed poor people overseas. The number of ethanol plants built or planned in the corn-belt state of Iowa will use virtually all the state's crop.<br><br>This will not only cut food supplies, but drive up the process of grain, making hungry people compete with the owners of gas-guzzlers. Already spending 70 per cent of their meagre incomes on food, they simply cannot afford to do so.<br><br>Brown expects the food crisis to get much worse as more and more land becomes exhausted, soil erodes, water becomes scarcer, and global warming cuts harvests.<br><br>Making cars more fuel-efficient, and eating less meat would help but the only long-term solution is to enable poor countries - and especially their poorest people - to grow more food. And the best way to do that, studies show, is to encourage small farmers to grow crops in environmentally friendly ways. Research at Essex University shows that this can double yields.<br><br>But the world needs a new sense of urgency. "We are living very close to the edge," says Brown. "History judges leaders by whether they respond to great issues. For our generation, the issue may well be food security." <br> <p></p><i></i>
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Peak food...

Postby stoneonstone » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:19 pm

Interesting reading as it confirms some of the more unnerving parts of James Kunstler's The Long Emergency.<br><br>The next revolution will be in agrarian small-holdings.<br><br>Or we'll starve and war at increasinly horrible levels. <p></p><i></i>
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Peak Bullshit.

Postby slimmouse » Mon Sep 04, 2006 7:53 pm

<br> Peak Oil, Peak food - Peak bullshit.<br><br> This planet is capable of sustaining all life <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>within reason</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--></em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> The problem is caused by a few greedy idiots who force their own greed (desires) down <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>our</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> throats.<br><br> How to overcome all of this madness is the problem.<br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Peak Bullshit.

Postby bkkexile » Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:37 pm

Two interpretable agendas for this article:<br><br>Anti-ethanol<br><br>Pro-GM foods? <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Peak Bullshit.

Postby erosoplier » Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:23 pm

Or anti-ethanol<br><br>and<br><br>Vegetarianism? <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Peak Bullshit.

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:19 am

GMO's are just shit.<br><br>I won't hold my breath waiting for them to solve the worlds food crisis.<br><br>But while we are on the subject, anyone want some avo's?<br><br>I have got too many at the moment.<br><br>Maybe we should cut the fat off obese people and feed that to the starving.<br><br>Or perhaps even give their food to the starving, and make them eat their own fat till they loose weight.<br><br>peak food is artificially manufactured and made worse by the end of fish stocks, periodic drought, inorganic farming, overdevelopment and the destruction of farming land to mine it or to convert the fars to growing drugs like pot, coke, smack, ciggies and coffee. (Tho the last 2 are food). <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Avo bounty

Postby erosoplier » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:07 am

Not wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth Joe, but, are they <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>nice</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END--> avocadoes? <p></p><i></i>
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Anyone ever looked into SonicBloom?

Postby cortez » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:37 am

<!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://sonicbloom.com/images/lemons.jpg" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br>seems like allot nicer technology than GM foods.<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://sonicbloom.com/">sonicbloom.com/</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br>Video produced by the<br>Indonesian Department of Agriculture <br><br>"Sonic Bloom<br>The Solution"<br>29 min 01 secs<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://clearcomet.com/flashstreamindo.htm">Link to Video</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br>1. Strawberry yield increases 300%.<br><br>2. 5 ft. alfalfa with 100% increase in tonnage, 29% protein gives 30% increase in milk production.<br><br>3. Over 600 ft. Purple Passion Plant (Guinness World Record)<br><br>4. Sonic Bloom doubles the Active ingredient in Ginseng.<br><br>5. Apple yields increase 50%<br><br>6. Soybean harvest doubles.<br><br>7. Hot peppers mature 30 days sooner and produce twice as many peppers.<br><br>8. Sonic Bloom apples have 5-month shelf life.<br><br>9. Zinc content of apples increase 1750%...<br><br>etc..<br> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=cortez@rigorousintuition>cortez</A> at: 9/5/06 11:55 pm<br></i>
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Re: Anyone ever loked into SonicBloom?

Postby bkkexile » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:40 am

Looking at that pic, I wouldn't mind trying some sonic bloom myself. <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Anyone ever loked into SonicBloom?

Postby JerkyLeBoeuf » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:44 am

What will peak next, do you suppose?<br><br>Peak Wood? Peak Water? Peak Oxygen? Peak Time?<br><br>The mind boggles! <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Anyone ever loked into SonicBloom?

Postby FourthBase » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:04 am

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Vegetarianism?<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--> <br><br>The cow thing is for real. A total waste of resources.<br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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Re: Anyone ever loked into SonicBloom?

Postby chiggerbit » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:11 am

My money, if I had any, would be on peak water. It's been on the list for two or three decades, before there ever was a "peak". Watch, California is going to try to force the Great Lakes states to pipe water to them, the same way Nevada is going to be forced to eat the nuclear waste from the rest of the country. <p></p><i></i>
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Peak Caviar

Postby Bismillah » Wed Sep 06, 2006 10:14 am

A year ago, there was a report on German TV about the Russian sturgeon, which was on the verge of extinction because of over-exploitation, including uncontrollable poaching. (I don't know what the current state of things is.) Those poachers, of course, are simply responding to increased demand with increased supply. The invisible hand of the market will make everything work out for the best, in the end...<br><br>The world's population has increased SEVENFOLD in the last 150 years, and we all want the best. But forget the possible disappearance of Beluga caviar - it's just one striking example of the strain placed on the biosphere by an increasingly voracious (and increasingly <!--EZCODE ITALIC START--><em>huge</em><!--EZCODE ITALIC END-->) human population. If everyone in the world who's earning a decent wage or salary continues demanding regular beefsteaks, then we can certainly say goodbye to the Amazon by 2030. No doubt the Invisible Hand will also have a solution to the 20-foot rise in sea levels that will follow. And no doubt the poor will fare nearly as well as they did after Hurricane Katrina. <br><br> <p></p><i></i>
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A modest proposal...

Postby Gouda » Wed Sep 06, 2006 11:05 am

<!--EZCODE IMAGE START--><img src="http://www.affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/swift_modest_proposal.jpg" style="border:0;"/><!--EZCODE IMAGE END--><br><br><!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick </strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END-->(1729)<br><br>Jonathan Swift<br><br>It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.<br><br>I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.<br><br>But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand our charity in the streets.<br><br>As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their computation. It is true, a child just dropt from its dam, may be supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly to the cloathing of many thousands.<br><br>There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us, sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expence than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage and inhuman breast.<br><br>The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old; except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier; during which time they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers: As I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me, that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.<br><br>I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this age, they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half a crown at most, on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriments and rags having been at least four times that value.<br><br>I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.<br><br>I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust.<br><br>I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.<br><br>I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.<br><br>I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.<br><br>Infant's flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolifick dyet, there are more children born in Roman Catholick countries about nine months after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual, because the number of Popish infants, is at least three to one in this kingdom, and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by lessening the number of Papists among us.<br><br>I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar's child (in which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend, or his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants, the mother will have eight shillings neat profit, and be fit for work till she produces another child.<br><br>Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require) may flea the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.<br><br>As to our City of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this purpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.<br><br>A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues I highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing on this matter, to offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many gentlemen of this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the want of venison might be well supply'd by the bodies of young lads and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve; so great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to starve for want of work and service: And these to be disposed of by their parents if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with due deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my American acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, that their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our school-boys, by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think, with humble submission, be a loss to the publick, because they soon would become breeders themselves: And besides, it is not improbable that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice, (although indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty, which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection against any project, how well soever intended.<br><br>But in order to justify my friend, he confessed, that this expedient was put into his head by the famous Salmanaazor, a native of the island Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago, and in conversation told my friend, that in his country, when any young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the carcass to persons of quality, as a prime dainty; and that, in his time, the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to poison the Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty's prime minister of state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a chair, and appear at a play-house and assemblies in foreign fineries which they never will pay for; the kingdom would not be the worse.<br><br>Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that vast number of poor people, who are aged, diseased, or maimed; and I have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken, to ease the nation of so grievous an incumbrance. But I am not in the least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known, that they are every day dying, and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth, and vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young labourers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot get work, and consequently pine away from want of nourishment, to a degree, that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common labour, they have not strength to perform it, and thus the country and themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.<br><br>I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.<br><br>For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience to an episcopal curate.<br><br>Secondly, The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, and help to pay their landlord's rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.<br><br>Thirdly, Whereas the maintainance of an hundred thousand children, from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten shillings a piece per annum, the nation's stock will be thereby encreased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the kingdom, who have any refinement in taste. And the money will circulate among our selves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture.<br><br>Fourthly, The constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the first year.<br><br>Fifthly, This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns, where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook, who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as expensive as they please.<br><br>Sixthly, This would be a great inducement to marriage, which all wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws and penalties. It would encrease the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babes, provided in some sort by the publick, to their annual profit instead of expence. We should soon see an honest emulation among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, or sow when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.<br><br>Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barrel'd beef: the propagation of swine's flesh, and improvement in the art of making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fat yearly child, which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a Lord Mayor's feast, or any other publick entertainment. But this, and many others, I omit, being studious of brevity.<br><br>Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.<br><br>I can think of no one objection, that will possibly be raised against this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and 'twas indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the reader will observe, that I calculate my remedy for this one individual Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever can be upon Earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients: Of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: Of using neither cloaths, nor houshold furniture, except what is of our own growth and manufacture: Of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that promote foreign luxury: Of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity, idleness, and gaming in our women: Of introducing a vein of parsimony, prudence and temperance: Of learning to love our country, wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of Topinamboo: Of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very moment their city was taken: Of being a little cautious not to sell our country and consciences for nothing: Of teaching landlords to have at least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers, who, if a resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure, and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.<br><br>Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like expedients, 'till he hath at least some glympse of hope, that there will ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.<br><br>But, as to my self, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expence and little trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country, which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.<br><br>After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to reject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better, I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two points. First, As things now stand, how they will be able to find food and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And secondly, There being a round million of creatures in humane figure throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common stock, would leave them in debt two million of pounds sterling, adding those who are beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers, cottagers and labourers, with their wives and children, who are beggars in effect; I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor cloaths to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of intailing the like, or greater miseries, upon their breed for ever.<br><br>I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work, having no other motive than the publick good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and my wife past child-bearing.<br><br>Source of text: Project Gutenberg.<br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html">www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=gouda@rigorousintuition>Gouda</A> at: 9/6/06 9:39 am<br></i>
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Eating the poor

Postby Bismillah » Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:09 pm

As the world's population has increased about NINEFOLD since Swift's day, his modest proposal is no doubt being seriously considered in government think-tanks right now. ("Let's think outside the box here, guys...") Not that there was anything new about the idea even then. The rich have been eating the poor for centuries, and still are. <p></p><i></i>
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