Saturday, 5 January 2013

The seeds of growth

Colin Tudge believes that with low-intensity, labour-intensive mixed farming, as opposed to today's input-heavy, non-resilient monocultures, 'everyone who is ever liable to be born could be well fed, forever, not simply on basic provender but to the highest standards of nutrition and gastronomy.' Right or wrong, he comes up with some thought-provoking background:
Worst of all, though—at least in the immediate term—cut-price monocultural farming puts people out of work. That is what it is designed to do. Countries with the fewest farmers are deemed to be the most “advanced”. Britain and the US are the world’s brand leaders, with about one per cent of their workforce full time on the land. Both eke out their rural workforce with immigrant labour of conveniently dubious legal status who can be seriously underpaid—but we don’t talk about that, and in any case that’s the market, and the market must rule. In the US, there are more people in jail than fulltime on the land. In both countries, prisons are a major growth industry.
We're already enjoying the benefits of a totally sustainable economy driven by the needs of innovative debt farmers, so why not celebrate this diversification into convict farming? After all, crime - like massive levels of inequality and crippling levels of personal debt - can't be a bad thing, so long as it provides a reliable income stream for our wealth creators. Who says crime doesn't pay?