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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 208)...

    It seems to me that the only way we can feed 6 billion people is by totalitarian agriculture. Sustainable agriculture will do the job for aboriginal peoples, but it won't do the job for 6 billion.

    ...and the response:

    If 6 billion people can be fed by totalitarian agriculture, then the same 6 billion can be fed by sustainable agriculture. The difference between totalitarian agriculture and sustainable agriculture is not technique or output (since a turnip is a turnip however it's produced) but rather program. The program of totalitarian agriculture is to increase food production in order to outpace population growth that is fueled by the very increases it produces, and this is what makes it unsustainable. To put it even more plainly: It's the program, not the agriculture, that is unsustainable. This is why I can be certain that we don't need totalitarian agriculture to feed us. It isn't the program that's feeding us today, it's the agriculture, and the agriculture can feed us just as easily tomorrow-without the program.


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