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Posted on 2002.07.09 at 03:58


betternewthings at 2002-07-09 16:26 (UTC) (Link)

ah. more decontextualized european america-hating!

It takes 12.2 hectares of land to support each American citizen and 6.29 for each Briton, while the figure for Burundi is just half a hectare.

Let's see.

US land area = 10m km^2. population = 300m
UK land area = 250k sq km^2, population = 60m

So the US has eight times the land per person that the UK has. Even if we use twice the land per person, we're still at a four to one advantage - and that's why the US *exports* food, while the UK *imports* it.

By and large, western agriculture is rather efficient. The market has forced it so. The main inefficiencies can be traced back to government farm/water/road subsidies, which encourage people to burn extra gas to build roads that no one drives on to bring water where it evaporates to grow crops no one's gonna eat.

One also might note that the average third world country (such as Brazil is relying on non-renewable agricultural technologies, such as slash-and-burn. they may only use an acre per person, but it's got to be a different acre every five years.

Which is why I think that instead of sniffling about what Americans are doing, people should start shipping combine harvesters and fertilizer plant plans down to Brazil. Trying to do things right beats whining about other people doing things imperfectly.
Generation Y's Howard Beale
dk at 2002-07-09 20:09 (UTC) (Link)

Re: ah. more decontextualized european america-hating!

*nod* the article seemed slanted when i read it- no arguments.
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