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iamthemob's avatar

Is corn the root of all evil (and yes...this is serious)

Asked by iamthemob (17123 points ) September 4th, 2010

I’m not going to get into the facts of it all – but the U.S. production of corn coupled with its policies in other areas may be linked with nearly all of the ills of the world. Feel free to discuss any of them you would like, but I’m wondering if people realize just how pervasive the issue may be and whether they think that there are other things that should be addressed that would be better, either on one of the issues or to affect all of them.

In a broad context, our corn production can be linked to employment and labor violations in the U.S. and Canada, patent abuse all over the world, the increased potential of mass world famine, human rights violations in the developing world, the stagnation of the South American economy, obesity, corporate greed, and the drug problem.

I would appreciate anyone who would comment – but PLEASE, if you think this is a joke, I will direct you to look up anything on the carbon footprint associated with corn production and mass agriculture, the history of U.S. participation in cocaine production and specifically “the future of food,” “food inc.,” and “the omnivore’s dilemma.”

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70 Answers

Whitsoxdude's avatar

No. I do not believe that corn is the root of all evil.

iamthemob's avatar

@Whitsoxdude

Okay – why not? The way it’s being produced now, it may be that if we just changed this one thing, so much else would change.

Should it continue on as business as usual…and if so, why?

Whitsoxdude's avatar

Well, before I give my answer to that, could you point me towards some links? I am about to go to bed, so I won’t be able to read them for a bit.

Thanks :)

Winters's avatar

I wouldn’t say that corn is the root of all evil, rather man makes his own evil. But I would like to see some of those links to better understand where you are coming from with this question.

iamthemob's avatar

This stuff, scarily, is all from google. I know that you might have thought it would be hard to find, but plug in “corn subsidy” or “U.S. corn production” and see the variety of badness it’s linked to.

YARNLADY's avatar

Corn, by itself is neither good nor evil. The production and use of corn by people could be turned to evil, just as water, milk, or any other commodity.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Yes, but that’s semantics. :-) The question is a funny intro to a serious problem. Please let me know what you think of our production, whether it is evil, why not or why so, and what people should be doing (or anything in between).

You knew that I meant more than that…don’t hold out on me.

YARNLADY's avatar

What I think is of little consequence, but here it – There is no sense in picking on the use or misuse of corn when, in fact, the entire world resources are misused and mismanaged by short-sighted people.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Corn and its mass production has already existed long time ago,even before the presence of the issue that you stated there. I agree with @YARNLADY this just like the production other commodity. You need to know that the presence of mass meat production is far more destructive than mass production of agriculture product.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Yes there is though.

- the cattle raised on mega farms which are responsible for an increase in methane and the destruction of our environment are fed on subsidized corn because it’s cheap

- corn subsidies are used in the fast food industry to mass – market obesity to the world

- corn subsidies allow us to drink ourselves into obesity because in some places it makes soda cheaper than water

- the increase obesity causes on the global carbon footprint is enormous

- corn subsidies are used so that food can be cheaply made far away, frozen, and shipped using up oil reserves and spoiling the environment

- because corn is dumped on south america, the economy is shattered because farmers can’t sell anything from their farms on the market. Therefore, they must grow coca under the rifles of militias and away from the eyes of an open market.

- Americans consume so much more than the rest of the world because cheap corn allows us to purchase more than we need.

Those are some of the reasons a focus on a single resource can have a significant effect. This all seems very defeatist – if what you think doesn’t matter, and there’s no point in concentrating efforts to make change because it’s all bad…what’s the point of any of it?

YARNLADY's avatar

In the long run, we are each in control of our own self, and no one else. To emphasize one issue over others is short sighted and counterproductive.

iamthemob's avatar

@Doctor_D

As addressed above, mass meat production is a product of cheap corn. Mass produced meat is corn fed where cows are grazers – they need to eat grass. Because they can’t digest corn properly, bacteria develops which is why we have e coli scares in our meat.

This is why I address corn. And this is why I think it’s not just another mass production issue – it is THE mass production issue.

I indeed must know that meat is more destructive. But it can be because of corn subsidies. That’s why YOU have to know this…scary right?

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

If that one issue has sweeping effects on many interconnected industry, it’s not. Interactions are complex in a global economy, but if we focus on reducing corn subsidies and couple that with policies that help develop solutions to the various environmental, health, and market problems it’s caused, it’s a through line to a lot of different stuff.

That, by definition, is not short sighted nor counterproductive.

YARNLADY's avatar

Try this on for size – even if your corn issue was resolved the way you want it to be, there is not enough fresh water in the world for the current population, much less the population the next generation will face. Solve that one, if you can.

Edit: source

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Reduction in megafarming and food transportation can be coupled with an increase in local sustainable agriculture, which will significantly reduce overall consumption as well as make consumption of water more efficient and will reduce pesticide contamination more than likely. The coupled reduction in oil production may allow us to work towards more sustainable energy consumption.

Those are some ways it can help. However, if you’re saying that the water’s just gone, then we’re all screwed anyway, and asking me to “Solve that one, if you can” in order to be argumentative. If you don’t think anything can be helped, your position is unassailable.

How’d I do?

Ben_Dover's avatar

Nope. The love of money is still the root of all evil.

However, corn syrup and corn starch are certainly quite problematic in regards to the health issue you have mentioned.

iamthemob's avatar

@Ben_Dover

Seriously though – look at the other issues. It is so much more problematic than that.

And sure. But this is a more actionable version of that. People will always love their money. We can stop them from making it in this destructive manner.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@iamthemob It is the love of money which is causing these people to mess us up with the corn.

Your_Majesty's avatar

@iamthemob No that is not exactly like that. Not every farm animals,lets say,cow,are fed with corn as their primary food,some of them are raised with ‘grazing system’ where grass is the only primary diet for them,most of them (especially in developing countries) are fed with artificial synthetic protein-sourced food. Yes,corn could be part of their diet,but it contribute less amount in the proportion of the nowadays cattle food.

And plus you said that mass corn production could cause “increased potential of mass world famine” That is not true at all. It’s the meat farm industry that contribute to our increasing world famine. More food that can be used to feed to famine people are used to feed farm animals,and those animals only produce less food if you compare the amount of food they’ve been eating to feed people in need. Farm animals also produce tons of waste each year and have been polluting our nature ecosystem from time to time. As long as corn can be used to sustain the life of many people I don’t think it’s really that cruel despite its production,like many other agricultural products,has its own outcome.

BarnacleBill's avatar

The corn lobby, Con Agra and Earl Butts began the reign of Evil Corn. It’s in your DNA.

Vincentt's avatar

If whatever issues corn has would be solved, not all other problems would be magically solved. Problems are solved and pop up all the time. A while ago, the plague was a problem, now it’s climate change. Tomorrow it will be something else.

This is not to say man should no longer solve problems, just to illustrate that nothing is the root of all evil.

Furthermore, being easy to find on Google is no argument at all to make something more dramatic to me.

Also, http://xkcd.com/552/

jca's avatar

a great book that talked extensively about this topic is The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Michael Pollan, the NY Times Food writer, has chapters devoted to corn production, corn subsidy, and how corn is virtually unavoidable in our diet because corn syrup and corn oil are in many things (especially corn syrup). You eat a hamburger on a bun with ketchup, the bun has corn syrup and so does the ketchup. great book, i highly recommend it for that topic and others about food, food production and food consumption in this country.

Cruiser's avatar

I might have to agree with you here! Corn is a crop that now involves high tech chemistry and innovation by big corporations. That corn is sold for money and ultimately to a very large corporate conglomerate. ADM comes to mind here. That big corporation utilizes a portion of those profits to support politicians who are then beholden to that “corporatocracy” and that is where the “evil” fun begins.

kevbo's avatar

“Totalitarian agriculture” is rootier by about 10,000 years. Look it up.

ETpro's avatar

I can see way too much evil flowing out of other world powers to heap all the blame on any one country.

I’m no Bible thumper, but I do agree with 1 Tim. 6:10 that, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Actually, the original word translated as money there was “mammon” which means wealth and worldly goods—the things of the flesh.

So money is not the root of evil and neither is corn. But the lust for the power and privledges it provides will take you straight to Hellish behavior in a heartbeat.

Whitsoxdude's avatar

@iamthemob Well, I can’t get the links to load, I will try again in a bit. However, what I can gather from other comments, is that it’s the United States corn production that seems to be causing this, rather than corn itself.
Also, E. coli is already present in animals.
I would like to read more into this, specifically what kind of regulations are placed on the corn industry. But information like that is hard to find unless you already know what you’re looking for. I think maybe my local library will help.. and my mom does have a copy of “the omnivore’s dilemma”.

Thanks :)

Zag_grad2010's avatar

I just watched a documentary on obesity and corn production is positively correlated the rising average weight in the US. Corn syrup, and other similar products, are derived from corn, which makes a plethora of unhealthy foods. McDonalds and other fast food places use a lot of corn syrup. Obesity causes a huge strain on health care costs, even more so than smoking I believe since people with obesity live a lot longer than someone who has lung cancer.

iamthemob's avatar

@Doctor_D

You’re being FAR too literal. The mega farming industry couldn’t distribute cheap food without cheap feed. That’s what corn provides. If it was distributed to the hungry, great. However, it’s the “give a man a fish” solution. The mass famine issue is also associated with patented GMO corn, which is super-prevalent, and reduces diversity.

Really, I’m asking an amusingly phrased question to reveal that this is the source of real significant damage on many levels, and should be addressed.

Please look at the food inc. website. There’s a lot of what I’m talking about there.

iamthemob's avatar

@Vincentt

You said: __This is not to say man should no longer solve problems, just to illustrate that nothing is the root of all evil._

I TOTALLY agree. And I don’t think that this is a magic fix. But addressing it, after looking at all the info – doesn’t it seem like a big fix?

Asking if it is the root, though, seems to get people talking.

iamthemob's avatar

@jca

Didn’t I mention that in the question? ;-) (sorry, couldn’t resist…)

iamthemob's avatar

@Cruiser

The fact that nearly all food is produced by four corporations is super scary.

Vincentt's avatar

@iamthemob Depends. There are a lot of things that, when fixed, would be a really big fix. The main question is how easily it can be fixed, and how likely that fix is to be performed. I currently do not view corn production as a larger problem than the culture of overconsumption present in the west (which might in fact be the root of corn production problem, but I don’t really feel like researching that). And it’s really easy to look up a lot about this like it is easy to look up stuff about a lot of things (say, the presence of extraterrestial aliens in our daily lives).

iamthemob's avatar

@Vincentt

But our overconsumption is based so much on our ability to get cheap food. If you “really don’t feel like researching that” even though you have a starting point I gave you that’s awesome…and judge for yourself (this isn’t the only place of course), that’s fine. But if you’re saying that you want the how to fix and how likely, then you have to do research. If you’re not taking personal responsibility to see how that can happen, you aren’t offering anything. You can “feel like” doing anything you want – but if you don’t want to, then don’t stop people who do.

El_Cadejo's avatar

After watching Food Inc and King Corn I can say yes, a lot of issues arise from corn. root or all evil? nah. serious problem that needs to be looked at? hell yes.

iamthemob's avatar

@uberbatman

I don’t think it’s literally the root of course – just you gotta be provocative sometimes.

However, I’m beginning to think that there’s nothing that is as thoroughly dangerous, and in such a widespread manner, as the effect of the one, simple action of subsidizing corn production in this manner.

Do you think there’s anything else as bad? (reliance on oil is of course a huge problem…but that itself is meaningfully affected by the economy made possible by these subsidies).

El_Cadejo's avatar

@iamthemob human beings. :P

iamthemob's avatar

@uberbatman

So of the things that we can practically fix…unless I’m mistaken…corn IS the root of all evil!

YARNLADY's avatar

@iamthemob I guess my point is that this issue, like all other issues will be solved the same way they always are. When a product gets too expensive to use and produce, production will be reduced, or a ‘natural’ disaster will take care of it once and for all.

To say “root of all evil” is very confrontational, especially when you are only saying it to bait us.

iamthemob's avatar

@YARNLADY

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what ISN’T happening in this situation. Corn is kept at an artificially low price because of government subsidies. Take a look at some of the sources here – you’ll see that, and this is a fact, a farmer growing corn produces it at a loss, and would be bankrupting themselves if it was just an open market. So the subsidies pay for continued production, which adds to a surplus, which pushes down the price and makes it possible for other aspects of mass consumerism in the food industries push forward – that’s why it’s cheaper for people who are poor to buy a big mac than to feed their children the same amount of broccoli.

Therefore, it will never be too expensive as long as it’s subsidized. It already IS technically too expensive to produce. And production is doing nothing but INCREASING.

And unfortunately, because so much of it is GMO corn, we’ve seen evidence of Mexican crops cross-breeding with our GMO corn. Mexican corn is bred based on a concept of diversity in the strain, so that an individual strain is best to grow in the mountains, one in the valley, etc. U.S. GMO corn is bred for conformity – and is mostly for feed stock so it just tastes terrible. Also, strains of it have been developed and distributed which don’t grow unless it is sprayed with a Monsanto-patented pesticide. And a strain is being developed (or has been) with a suicide gene, meaning once it germinates it cannot produce seed and new seed has to be purchased. Additionally, when these patented strains cross-breed with wild strains or strains grown by farmers practicing seed-saving (using their own seed to grow the next years crop) Monsanto can SUE them for patent violation and stop them from growing. So, this reduces the diversity necessary for long-term survival. If it continues, and a natural disaster does occur in disease form, it might not simply reduce supply, but destroy it…and then we have mass famine.

This is an issue unlike most others, therefore, because all of the mechanisms which would naturally regulate it have been removed. Why should we not, therefore, focus on this?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@iamthemob PRECISELY MY GOOD CHAP :P

El_Cadejo's avatar

.Monsanto We will be fucked once pests/diseases grow resistance. Its all one species so everything will be wiped out.

iamthemob's avatar

@uberbatman

The only thing that stopped me from making this “Is Monsanto…?” rather than “Is corn…?” was the concern that they are just trigger-happy with the lawyers.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Ha. soooo true lol

Nially_Bob's avatar

Firstly, to discuss this matter one would need a definition and affirmation of the existence of “evil”. I myself have never been fond of the concepts of good and evil and less of the cliché of mankind a particularly apt illustration of evil as I feel that given the same neurological and physiological advantages we have any other entity on this planet would behave similarly to us. For the purposes of this discussion however I shall assume “good” and “evil” to be defined by conventional western morality.

Moving onto the question, is corn the root of all evil? I doubt it, should that be so then when corn initially began growing on Earth surely all that encountered it would become vicious and fuelled by hatred when, as far as I am aware, this is not so. The use and ownership of resources can be simply deemed a form of power and power shall always be sought after and protected leading to sometimes evil acts. This is so for corn, potatoes, maise, diamonds; anything that is finite and of some manner of value to the creatures involved. The greater the value and the more finite, the more likely one is to perform evil acts to seize or protect the resources in question. Supposing this to be true I am lead to conclude that power is the root of all evil.

“Reduction in megafarming and food transportation can be coupled with an increase in local sustainable agriculture, which will significantly reduce overall consumption as well as make consumption of water more efficient and will reduce pesticide contamination more than likely. The coupled reduction in oil production may allow us to work towards more sustainable energy consumption.”
You seem like an intelligent fellow my friend but I must admit with due respect that you seem to be underestimating these issues. There are far more variables to such matters than what you outline above. What effect would this have on the economy? How will major business tycoons be persuaded to agree with these plans? What if more local farming doesn’t occur as a result of mass production being reduced?

I assure you that I, as much as the next average Joe, want compassion to overrule greed but unfortunately it seems the world is not that simple.

OwlofHappiness's avatar

yes, it is. it is also the root of obesity. high fructose corn syrup is in everything

iamthemob's avatar

@Nially_Bob

ERG! You have taken the points I made in response to another comment out of context. That was stated as how dealing with corn subsidies could affect the fresh water supply.

But also, you respond by asking me to take into account other factors implying that I stated there was a causal relationship. I stated “can be” and “may allow us” to indicate that this was an initial step, not an answer to (however, that’s still about the roots of it all).

Don’t approach it so literally – the references I’ve cited and that have been introduced through the thread show how many damaging effects flow from this one, simple policy. If we stop this, it allows for a more direct handling of a lot of others. If feed is always cheap, farms can feed massive amounts of cows cheaply, and megafarms can be profitable. Remove that, and the industry is less sustainable.

Your points are well taken, but you’re looking at “evil” rather than what the corn subsidies are doing. THAT’s what is scary.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@iamthemob
I sincerely apologise for any mistake on my part as I meant no disrespect. I may simply be misunderstanding what it is you wish to understand via this question. You are inquiring as to why we do not make the alterations in the corn industry that you have previously described; my question is how would one realistically go about making these changes when they are counterintuitive to human nature?

iamthemob's avatar

@Nially_Bob

None taken! It’s just super scary. You’re points were good…and that’s my fault for bringing evil into the mix. It’s just that these subsidies seem to be traceable to nearly all the bad stuff, and as I kept seeing it, I wonder if this is perhaps what everyone should focus on, or if I was missing something else.

The changes are actually not counterintuitive. It’s counterintuitive that farmer’s can’t make money on corn because there are mountains of it already. Yet, they do because the government pays them too. It seems like we could easily shut it down, and it’s almost like, “Why don’t we?”

mrrich724's avatar

I HIGHLY recommend anyone here who hasn’t seen it to rush out and rent “Food Inc.” a great documentary that discusses this topic and shares a lot of previously little known facts.

However, corn makes my favorite types of Whisky’s, so I’m ok with it.

Oh yea . . . last time I checked, Food Inc. was a “watch now” option on Netflix.

Nially_Bob's avatar

@iamthemob
It’s always odd to analyse in detail the intricacies of an industry as more often than not you’ll “dig up the soil before the gold” in so much as there tends to be alot of seeming injustice before discovering the reasoning behind it. One need only turn to the major financial powers such as the oil and wood tycoons to note this.

I would assume that the government is subsidising corn farmers as they wish to encourage them to continue farming corn as it’s evidently in high demand and relatively cheap due to the high stock, should that stock lessen the price could increase substantially leading to public irritation. This is a reasonably satisfying scenario as it means that both the public and farmers are generally content at fairly little cost to the government. Please correct me if i’m wrong in any of these accusations.

There are issues with the matter as you’ve thoroughly outlined above but when offered a rare resolution in which everyone gets their due one must tread carefully if considering options on how to alter it to accommodate the needs of others such as people complaining of obesity and the struggles of foreign societies.

iamthemob's avatar

@Nially_Bob

If there were really such a thing as the small american farm instead of agrocorps, I think that would be a solid assumption…but small farmers are mostly employees at this point. That was probably the original intent…but it can’t really be the reason now.

Please check out the following: King Corn, Food, Inc., The Future of Food, The Omnivore’s Dilemma‘s_Dilemma, food dumping, american obesity and corn, and an explanation of corn subsidies and their general effects. Let me know. Again, I’m more than willing to change on this point – but it feels like the intimate connection between corn and so many other seemingly insurmountable problems just…well…wow?

Neutral's avatar

@iamthemob,

So, how much are you getting paid to advocate?

You think if one who gets sick from X, you can now sue the industries? This applies to everything. It’s near impossible to prove that you got sick from X. Therefore, what every is being said about X, is conspiracy theory propaganda.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

I will TOTALLY admit that I’m biased about the craziness that I perceive coming from this simple instance of government subsidy. But no, I’m not getting paid anything.

It does seem to have a pretty severe set of consequences, though. As I said above, I would like suggestions as to where might be a more broad-based issue to focus on which could have practical impact.

And sure, I think that if someone gets sick and can allege facts sufficient to state a claim against X, then that person can sue the industries. If we’re assuming that it’s nearly impossible to prove that you got sick from X, that has nothing to do with a person’s ability to sue – we have, legally, an equal right of access to the courts. Of course, a lot of other issues are implicated.

But product liability and medical malpractice suits are a different issue – why do you bring them up?

Neutral's avatar

That’s what I was trying to say, that it’s near impossible to allege sufficient facts to state a claim against X. Such was also attempted with exposure to EMF from high tension towers, and other such items, but to prove that EMF is making one sick, is next to impossible due the X amount of other reasons that could of caused you to get sick. Therefore, any claims that corn or X other products are ill advised, is just spewing propaganda and can be debunked with ease. If it was that clear cut, your question would be unnecessary.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

I believe that there were successful claims against big tobacco, asbestos companies, certain pharmaceuticals, and several suits against car companies for manufacturing or design defects that were successful. I read a few of them, and am pretty sure that that’s why there actually IS a market for products liability and medical malpractice attorneys all over the country.

I think that your sentence “Therefore, any claims that corn or X other products are ill advised, is just spewing propaganda and can be debunked with ease” is meant to mean that a claim against corn, because a claim against EMF based on it as a cause of illness, can be easily debunked as propaganda because the EMF claim was.

I wholeheartedly disagree. (1) I’m not talking about a legal claim, or bringing such a claim in court, and therefore there aren’t the standards of proof associated with a legal claim, (2) the solutions are all extrajudicial possibilities anyway, (3) your assertion doesn’t logically work, as you have proposed an anecdotal piece of evidence as the rule when there are multiple counter-examples to it, and a long history of very wealthy claimants to prove it.

So no. It’s not near impossible, or even really hard. It’s kind of what the Surgeon General of the U.S. already told us a few years ago.

Vincentt's avatar

@iamthemob First of all, I’m not stopping anybody from doing anything. I try to do my part in bettering the world, e.g. by taking into account the environmental effects when I buy or use something, or by trying to move politics into a direction that respects the world more. There is just simply no way I can thoroughly research everything that might be wrong with the world to accurately judge it and find out what I personally can do (which, often, is really limited anyway – most often, a top-down approach is needed).

Which leads me to (genuinly) wonder what you are doing personally? Do you view this Fluther topic as helping? If so, in what way?

Neutral's avatar

@iamthemob,

You didn’t seem to get the message I was saying. I wasn’t talking about legal terms either. I’ll try and be clearer then. Take one your sources, the documentary “King Corn” for example.

The hair test that the Dr. uses to estimate the percentage of corn in the diet, while useful for what it was intended, gives somewhat misleading results in this application. What this film does not disclose, is that livestock consume a number of other C4 plants in their rations other than corn. Sorghum is also a C4 plant. It is grown extensively throughout the West in dryer states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Colorado. In areas where it is grown it is used almost exclusively for livestock feeding. Thus, the test in the film would be incapable of differentiating an atom of carbon as coming from livestock fed corn or sorghum. This same rationale would also apply to millet, which is also a C4 plant used for livestock feeding, grown in the northern central states, chiefly the Dakotas and Nebraska. Sugar cane is also a C4 plant, and thus the sugar derived from it would be indistinguishable from corn in whatever form consumed as far as the hair test described. These factors thus makes this test somewhat unreliable as a measure of exactly how much corn is in our diet, either directly or in the diets of the livestock we consume.

Their reference for their claim that feeding corn causes death within 120 days appears to be a random passer-by they met during filming. It’s complete falsehood. The grain or energy component of the ration is balanced with whatever grain happens to be available and most cost effective locally. In the Mid-west that would be corn. In other parts of the western US, sorghum, millet or barley would be the energy component of choice, and in the eastern US soft wheat would often be the feed of choice.

Dairy cows are also fed a high concentrate ration required for high milk production. They are feed high rates of grain over many milking cycles with obviously no early death, as a high value dairy cow obviously would not be fed such high grain diets if it would lead to early death.

The Harvard professor, who repeatedly made statements to the effect that corn is a non-food, is nutritionally empty, and has been deliberately bred to be so. This is quite misleading. This Harvard professor should know quite well (or maybe he doesn’t ?!) that corn, along with all plants domesticated by humanity over many millennia have been extensively selected for different varieties used for different purposes.

In the case of corn, our North American native grain, it consists of a number of varieties hand selected both during prehistoric times and by many generations of traditional farmers. We currently have 4 major types; sweet corn, used for eating fresh and canning, flour corn, used for milling into corn meal for human consumption, the well known popcorn, and dent corn, also know as field or feed corn. Field corn has been selected specifically to produce the energy source or carbohydrate portion of animal feeds.

Corn is one of the handful of staple grains producing the main food source for human beings. These grain staples, including corn, wheat, rice, barley and sorghum, produce collectively 90% of the calories required by human beings worldwide. World civilization as we know it could not exist without these staple grains. To say that carbohydrates, by far the greatest requirement in the human and animal diet and which are used for energy production, are “empty” calories is certainly a misstatement. There are no “empty” calories or “bad” foods. There are only good and bad diets. To expect that one food would have all the components of a healthy diet is naive. This is the reason all responsible nutritionists continually speak of eating a variety of foods.

I can keep going on this one and the rest of your sources in the same manner. The sources clearly show propaganda at it’s finest and how misinformed and uninformed they really are.

iamthemob's avatar

@Vincentt

It’s something that has come up in my research – looking into various issues. I wanted to know if other people saw the same thing, knew the far-reaching connections, and thought that it might be an area where a concentration of effort might be well spent.

In a lot of ways, the world can just seem “too messed up.” I don’t know what to look at first if I ever think of social action. I wondered if there was something that I should be looking at instead, etc.

I didn’t want to link out to the information at first because I wanted to point to resources that were super-biased (although I might be). Of course – I did when asked :-).

But of course I think it would help. I keep hearing people saying “why worry about this when x…or y…it’s all pointless.” And it gets me thinking about this. And as to what I’m doing – mostly I am seeing what I can do in terms of consumer action, supporting sustainable farming, looking towards more responsible investing, and seeing about what might be done with the legislation as an attorney.

If there is community action you know about, that would be awesome.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

Okay – but I provided those resources as quick examples of that I was talking about, admitting my bias and (later) their bias (which is why I didn’t want to link out then).

And your counter is much clearer now (sorry – it was characterized in terms of proof of causing illness or other direct harm). But my question is about how corn subsidies work as a major contributing factor to a lot of the issues discussed. Of course, I don’t think that all feed is one hundred percent corn, but you have added a lot of depth with that comment. I would like to see where this information comes from – if you could provide it – and if it shows whether there would be any difference in how the market worked if we didn’t have the subsidies due to these other contributers. That would be greatly appreciated.

Neutral's avatar

I don’t know how easy that will be since I learned all this at my university. Try searching the key words, like c4 plant, and see what you come up with.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Neutral very well done

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

This report was mentioned in several of the sites I found, which seems to clarify what we’re talking about. The concern is, of course, cattle raised on industrial farms and CAFOs, which are for the most part grain fed. Although there are benefits to corn, when the benefit is mentioned it is still mentioned as the most prevalent grain in feed-stock., and according to the Congressional Research Service, corn accounts for 90% of feed grains used for feed. This type of farming is call for concern on th international level. The U.S. produces half of the world’s corn supply, and half of that is used for feed.. What I read that’s quite disturbing is that 85% of U.S. corn, so nearly half the world supply, is the genetically modified corn (GMO) that is under patent.

This is the research that I’ve been able to gather, and what seems to be current. So it seems that, regardless of the feed breakdown, the feed influence on the mass production farms as well as the reduction in corn biodiversity is massive and worldwide.

Neutral's avatar

iamthemob,

Nice finds. You’re quite persistent. Unfortunately, I’ve accustomed myself to laziness. I didn’t know that GMO were at such a high percent either.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

Okay. Thanks.

Nially_Bob's avatar

I apologise for my retreating from this thread as it is genuinely interesting but while committing to the articles you offered @iamthemob it seems yourself and Neutral have covered more ground than I had even tread. I would like to sincerely thank you for bringing this subject to my attention as I feel it will prove to be stimulating research, and in due time I shall offer you my full perspective on the matter.

bendonahower's avatar

Corn may be the root of all heart disease and diabetes but I think evil goes too far.

The US Ag industry is completely artificial. It would be a really positive move to stop the corn subsidies and see what that does to peoples’ diets, the health care system, the strength of family farms, and otherwise.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Answering this really old question! Yay!

Looking at the past, monocrop agriculture can be linked to, if not indirectly blamed for, all of the ills of civilization (that is, causing civilization itself, to be contrast by ways of life centered around villages and towns, and hunting,gathering, and gardening rather than monocropping). That it causes so much strife and trouble now that it has been intensified through the use of machines is no surprise.

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t disagree, at least to the degree of it being linked. The more settled and dense our population centers become, the more they rely on resources being brought in to them, and the more regularly the people producing those resources have to be sure of their yield, etc. It seems almost inevitable that this would lead to an increase attempt to control the land and a decrease in crop and plant diversity.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Except that traditional societies, i.e. those with working relationships with the land more complex than agriculture, had ways of keeping their population levels sustainable. This was primarily done through various forms of birth control. In North America alone there are over 250 plants that were used traditionally for family planning. The argument that it was an inevitable outcome of human population levels has been thoroughly shot down in most anthropological circles because of this. Secondly, hunting, gathering, and gardening produce more food per acre and per amount of time spent, and do so sustainably. Rather, many postulate that it was a parasitic managing class, understanding how they could use this sort of production system, pushed their people to adopt this way of life in order to consolidate power. It takes a very particular set of circumstances for this to develop historically, rather than just being spread as it has in most of the world.

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