March 24, 2005

You are on the invidual archive page of Food for both your stomach and mind. Click Simon World weblog for the main page.
Food for both your stomach and mind

Lester Brown panicked the Chinese Government with his "Who will feed China?" book of 1994. It predicted a typically Malthusian scenario that an emerging China will gobble all the world's food resources and cause famine. Lester has now been officially rehabilitated by the China Academy of Sciences. It's 11 years after Lester's book. While hunger is a problem in the world, it is a matter of distribution, not supply. The world has enough food to feed everyone and better technology and techniques plus slowing population growth means the future of food is secure. If anything growing obesity rates points to an excess of food in more parts of the world, including China.

In other words, Lester was and is wrong.

Lester is head of the Worldwatch Institute, which turned over US$2.5 million last year. Each year they publish the alarmist State of the World series. Yes, they are part of the environment industry. In fact the Worldwatch Institute is less a serious policy think tank than a millennial cult. The excellent and highly recommended book by Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist, debunks Lester Brown and his consistently wrong approach.

So bully for Mr. Brown for being embraced by China. It is doing so because he was wrong. That's not something to be proud of. If you are truly interested in better methods and priorities for global development, try the Copenhagen Consensus project. They went to the trouble of weighing both the costs and benefits of various development projects and prioritised them. The answers may surprise you. It's far more interesting reading than anything Lester Brown has written.

posted by Simon on 03.24.05 at 10:02 AM in the


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Send a manual trackback ping to this post.


Post a Comment:


Email Address:



Remember your info?