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Gingerlaurie's avatar

World food shortage?

Asked by Gingerlaurie (364points) September 26th, 2011

There has been a lot in the media lately regarding the inevitable shortage of food in the world, be that environmental or otherwise. Lack of transport/import/export due to lack of fuel, etc. What do you say to those that are stocking up on the basics, or on the flip-side, those that don’t seem to be concerned?

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7 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I’m not very concerned. I wouldn’t trust the media when they report things like this due to their affinity of blowing things out of proportion. When the American obesity statistics go down, then I’ll worry.

poisonedantidote's avatar

If there are too many people and not enough food, people will start to die of starvaton. Once this happens, we just eat the dead. Problem solved.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Jokes aside… this video has something interesting to say at the beginning of the video.

Gingerlaurie's avatar

I’m concerned….I’m not racing out and buying truckloads of dried beans and rice, but I’m concerned. We see a noticeable increase in produce prices when there has been a drought or an early frost, and global warming does not seem to be improving, so I can only assume it will continue. Yes, the product may still be available, but at an inflated cost that I can personally cannot afford (as with others), so therefore it acts as a “shortage” to me. And poisonedantidote, you’re right. The beginning of that video is very interesting…makes things even more clear, actually.

jrpowell's avatar

My main concern is potable water. If you have water getting food is easy. In Oregon we will be OK. But, Arizona is fucked.

YoBob's avatar

There is a wonderful movement that seems to be gaining steam, at least around these parts. It is known as “Transfarming”. Basically, what transfarmers do is turn the outdoor part of their urban homes into little mini-farms that are, in many cases, totally self-sustaining.

One excellent technique that I am particularly excited about is Aquaponics . What I find so exciting about these systems is that not only do they produce organically grown vegatable matter, but also an abundance of fish as well, and do so in a very space efficient manner.

Check out what these guys did with a backyard swimming pool that was in complete disrepair. They have transformed their average urban lot (and old pool) into a completely self-sustaining farm that feeds a family of four and their rainwater catchment system supplies all the water they need.

CWOTUS's avatar

I’m not particularly worried about “food shortage” in places where food prices (including staples such as rice, corn, wheat and milk, for example) are not subsidized by a federal government. In places where relatively free markets operate, prices rise more or less gradually to inform consumers – and producers! – which items are in high demand / short supply. Producers use the information to determine when their marginally productive farms might become more profitable to improve in order to take advantage of higher prices. This tends to dampen huge spikes in price, because once the additional production occurs then price increases are mitigated.

Where the goods are subsidized and the shortage starts to occur while prices are kept artificially low and “stabilized for the masses”, then the first inklings of disaster occur when the government announces, seemingly out of the blue, that “prices for basic food items will be doubled” – or rationing occurs. In either case, shelves are stripped bare, production falls (since goods no longer make it to market, or a black market forms) and the crisis worsens.

Subsidies and other artificial mechanisms for “price stability” tend to corrupt the information channel that prices provide to market participants. It’s not magic; it’s basic communication.

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