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  1. #1

    Mutualism

    Commenting on BKM's sig
    It is a myth that Third World hunger results mainly from primitive farming techniques, or that the solution is a technocratic fix. Hunger results from the fact that land once used to grow staple foods for the people working it is now used to grow cash crops for urban elites or for the export markets, while the former peasant proprietors are without a livelihood. Kevin Carson, Mutualist Blog
    Subsistence farming by peasants is not a productive life and certainly cannot support the level of population the world has reached. Most Haitians are subsistence farmers on land that is not suitable to this kind of production at all. According to Carson that is their ideal place, while the cash crop laborers of the right side of the island are horribly oppressed and suffering. In reality, it is the other way around. Haiti is the absolute poorest country in the Americas. Dominicans are much better off. It is foolish to believe that subsistence farming in poor climates can compete against the capital-dense agriculture of supertropical nations.

    Carson is stuck in the 19th century. Land is no longer the source of wealth in this world and hasn't been for over a century. Industries and knowledge are the source of wealth. Expropriating and redistributing land is only going to make poor people even poorer. Eliminating poverty requires encouraging specialization under the division of labor, which means that only the most productive farmers must work in agriculture.

    Mutualism, I must conclude, is peasant-glorification and nothing more. A past-time for comfortable western intellectuals.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Subsistence farming by peasants is not a productive life
    I declare this to be the western-capitalist-worldview-total-rejection-of-other-cultural-possibilities phrase of the month.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb View post
    I declare this to be the western-capitalist-worldview-total-rejection-of-other-cultural-possibilities phrase of the month.
    Subsistance farming is not a culture, it is barely survival. Sleeping on the floor hungry at night isn't a lifestyle choice. If you think it is, I invite you to try it out for some time.

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    Darn it. I've just found a cool new sig line I was going to use, but I better not at this point, I guess

    I will only respond that dismissing 99% of human lives over history and prehistory as without value seems rather arrogant, particularly as industrial civilization may be far more fragile, as it is currently constituted, than we would like to think.

    I am not qualified to give a detailed defense of mutualism. I've invited Mr. Carson (if he has time and the inclination) to respond. We'll see.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by BKM View post
    Darn it. I've just found a cool new sig line I was going to use, but I better not at this point, I guess

    I will only respond that dismissing 99% of human lives over history and prehistory as without value seems rather arrogant, particularly as industrial civilization may be far more fragile, as it is currently constituted, than we would like to think.
    For 99% of human lives over history there were a lot fewer humans competing for a much greater amount of space. Inefficiency was mitigated by reducing the population, getting rid of the infirm and elderly to maximize the chances of survival. Forgive me for making a value judgement upon this beautiful primitive culture.

    You live as a single man in your own house, secure in the knowledge that you will never go hungry, because we long ago abandoned subsistence farming in favor of specialization and cash-crop farming.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    You have got to be F&^$(&# kidding me? Do you truly buy into any of the complete *#)@#$Y!Q&#%_#@$ craziness that you preach?
    OK that felt good.

    Since the rain and a storm canceled tonight’s Festival on the Grand activities, I thought I would see what's going on in here.
    Jaws, I actually agree with one part of something that you first posted. You said that Most Haitians are subsistence farmers. Everything else shows that you have absolutely no realistic clue.

    Look at the Native American/Eskimo tribes of northern Canada, Alaska, and parts of Siberia. They don’t even see the ground for a good part of the year. Do they live on caribou alone? No, they grow crops… in the exact same way that they have done on those lands (barely habitable by most standards) for over thousands of years. Do you know what is causing them the most problems, (I can’t believe I am going to say this and Regan is spinning in his grave right now), come on, say it with me… Corporations! Yep. Those pesky oil companies causing the caribou to freak out when trying to cross a pipe causing significant disruption in the migration patterns.

    Then we have some islands on the northwest cost of Ireland… same way for thousands years… parts of Africa… since humans started walking upright… maybe sooner. Parts of South America…

    Fact is if you had to put your faith in substance farming, you would be worm food in less than a year. Why, because while BKM and I may be single guys in nice plush life styles as we sip our micro brews and reach for our cell phones to order a pizza (which we put on our debt card) and have them deliver, we realize that there is also a family who have been growing crops in the exact same manor (maybe even the same crops) for thousands of years who are far better at it than you, me, BKM, or anyone else… (other than Maister, I swear that man can grow a potato in a file cabinet)

    I wonder what would happen if you walked up to some farmer on a small island of the cost of Ireland, and told him that his way of life was “Not Productive”. Let’s face it, they have been doing it this way for thousands of years, I think that they have production (and quality) down far better than some agra-grow-company in Kansas.

    Off-topic:
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    For 99% of human lives over history there were a lot fewer humans competing for a much greater amount of space. Inefficiency was mitigated by reducing the population, getting rid of the infirm and elderly to maximize the chances of survival. Forgive me for making a value judgement upon this beautiful primitive culture.........
    Incorect. You are so off base with this statement I am even on Michaelski's side of the fence!

    No society or culture that has lasted any length of time, has ever intentionally made an effort to "get rid of" the infirm or elderly, for very long. Those that have tried have basically succeded in getting rid of thier history and storehouse of knowledge. This is NOT conducive to passing on your society or culture.

    The Old and infirm, would not have done as well as a healthy young adult in any harsh situations, but that is a byproduct, not an actual culling. When you are under stress with few resources, you use methods and tools at hand to do what you need to.

    World hunger is more an issue of transportation cost, distribution effort, and political disruption than any real lack of resources.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    You have got to be F&^$(&# kidding me? Do you truly buy into any of the complete *#)@#$Y!Q&#%_#@$ craziness that you preach?
    OK that felt good.

    Since the rain and a storm canceled tonight’s Festival on the Grand activities, I thought I would see what's going on in here.
    Jaws, I actually agree with one part of something that you first posted. You said that Most Haitians are subsistence farmers. Everything else shows that you have absolutely no realistic clue.

    Look at the Native American/Eskimo tribes of northern Canada, Alaska, and parts of Siberia. They don’t even see the ground for a good part of the year. Do they live on caribou alone? No, they grow crops… in the exact same way that they have done on those lands (barely habitable by most standards) for over thousands of years. Do you know what is causing them the most problems, (I can’t believe I am going to say this and Regan is spinning in his grave right now), come on, say it with me… Corporations! Yep. Those pesky oil companies causing the caribou to freak out when trying to cross a pipe causing significant disruption in the migration patterns.
    The Inuit tribes have a tiny population spread over a huge territory. The reason for that is they can't support any more people the way they live. They live such a hard life that they have become famous for senilicide, exactly what Duke claims above never happened. They did it not because they have an evil culture, but because there wasn't enough food. Regardless of whether or not the oil companies are violating their property rights, the fact remains that it is much better for the inuits' material security to work in the oil companies of the global economic cooperation than to continue scraping a bare existence suited only to a tiny fraction of people the way they previously did.

    Subsistence farming isn't a culture, it's what society collapses into when bad rulers make it impossible to trade. People live of subsistence farming in North Korea, Haiti and, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba. Europeans were forced back into subsistence farming when the Roman Empire imploded. When the market collapses you have to survive, and the only way to survive is to grow your own food. The first thing Afghan farmers did when they got rid of their bad rulers was to grow a cash crop. The logic is obvious. Cash buys more food than you can grow yourself. That extra food allows people not suited to farming to find better employment more suited to themselves. That's how material security is improved.

    Hunger is not caused by transportation costs. You have to be able to buy something before you get it transported to you. That's what Afghan farmers are doing with their cash crop. You buy it with your productive labor, and your labor is most productive when fully integrated into the biggest possible market, the global economic cooperation.


    Now I want you to explain something to me. I can understand that you entertain some mistaken ideas on this subject, after all we all went through the same indoctrination in school and I know what it is they told you. What I don't understand is why you get so angry when I point out obvious facts and basic logic.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    For 99% of human lives over history there were a lot fewer humans competing for a much greater amount of space. Inefficiency was mitigated by reducing the population, getting rid of the infirm and elderly to maximize the chances of survival. Forgive me for making a value judgement upon this beautiful primitive culture.

    You live as a single man in your own house, secure in the knowledge that you will never go hungry, because we long ago abandoned subsistence farming in favor of specialization and cash-crop farming.
    You can't eat tobacco or opium.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    The Inuit tribes have a tiny population spread over a huge territory. The reaso

    Subsistence farming isn't a culture, it's what society collapses into when bad rulers make it impossible to trade. People live of subsistence farming in North Korea, Haiti and, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba. Europeans were forced back into subsistence farming when the Roman Empire imploded. When the market collapses you have to survive, and the only way to survive is to grow your own food. The first thing Afghan farmers did when they got rid of their bad rulers was to grow a cash crop. The logic is obvious. Cash buys more food than you can grow yourself. That extra food allows people not suited to farming to find better employment more suited to themselves. That's how material security is improved.

    Hunger is not caused by transportation costs. You have to be able to buy something before you get it transported to you. That's what Afghan farmers are doing with their cash crop. You buy it with your productive labor, and your labor is most productive when fully integrated into the biggest possible market, the global economic cooperation.


    Now I want you to explain something to me. I can understand that you entertain some mistaken ideas on this subject, after all we all went through the same indoctrination in school and I know what it is they told you. What I don't understand is why you get so angry when I point out obvious facts and basic logic.
    OK. the city of Havana, Cuba, grows 50 percent of it's own food supply (there are 2 million people in Havana) WITHIN CITY LIMITS!!! Among Apartment buildings!!! It's cheap, fresh, and organic. In my own city, if people spent less time watching television, they could easily grow 1/4 of their food. Why?

    Because growing food takes VERY LITTLE WORK. just a little planning, and a small plot of land. You don't have to force plants to grow! They do it themselves!

    The Inuits live in a place where their way of life made sense. Please spare me the "poor hungry savage" stuff.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Subsistance farming is not a culture, it is barely survival. Sleeping on the floor hungry at night isn't a lifestyle choice. If you think it is, I invite you to try it out for some time.
    Here's what Subsistence Farming is:

    It's when a native population is forced off productive land by an invading, colonizing population onto poor land, while the invaders use the productive land to feed themselves.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 09 Sep 2006 at 9:39 PM. Reason: triple reply

  10. #10
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    My in-laws in Israel grow much of their own food. They have two pieces of property that they grow olive trees, figs, grapes, melons, and many kinds of vegetables on. The property has been in the family at least 200 years. Most of the food produced is eaten fresh or preserved. The olives are harvested and pressed for oil and depending on the yield some might be sold. Now that everyone except my MIL works outside the house they don't keep any animals and they purchase meat, flour, sugar, and dairy, but if they all were to stop working they could still survive just like they have for the last 200 years.

    My own grandparents on my father's side were much the same. The owned a small farm where they raised, harvested or hunted what was eaten. About the only thing food wise they every purchased was flour, sugar, salt, oil, and cloth. I never knew them but living that way impacted all of their children and when I visited my aunts and uncles they lived much in the same manner. All are experienced hunters and fishers, superb cooks, experts in canning and preserving food. One of my uncle's sons owns a vineyard in Washington state now.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    My in-laws in Israel grow much of their own food. They have two pieces of property that they grow olive trees, figs, grapes, melons, and many kinds of vegetables on. The property has been in the family at least 200 years. Most of the food produced is eaten fresh or preserved. The olives are harvested and pressed for oil and depending on the yield some might be sold. Now that everyone except my MIL works outside the house they don't keep any animals and they purchase meat, flour, sugar, and dairy, but if they all were to stop working they could still survive just like they have for the last 200 years.
    They are specialist farmers, not subsistence farmers. They can do that because all the people unsuited to this life live in Tel Aviv and buy their food.

  12. #12
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    I think this thread frames the question wrongly. Cash crops alone are not enough to cause starvation, nor are they the answer to poverty and hunger. There is much to criticise in an economic development strategy that imposes a totally different system than an area has had historically. Hunger happens for all kinds of reasons, war and climate not insignificant among them.

    It has been years since my last third world development class, but all kinds of things are springing to mind. I'm just going to throw them out there without claiming I have the answer to this difficult problem.

    a) Cash crops don't work well as a wealth builder for communities when global markets are manupulated by agricultural tarrifs and subsidies. (I suspect Jaws will agree with me on this one).

    b) International shipping of foods favors development of products chosen for sturdiness above flavor, nutrition, and diversity. Pesticide and herbicide producers take this to an extreme by developing plants that are resistant to their products to encourage overuse and dependence. Some people are willing to pay more for organic, locally produced food, but since we don't pay the true environmental cost of the factory-farm methods, the price gap can be large and many families just always buy the cheapest.

    c) As above, there is an environmental cost to many large-scale agricultural techniques. Pollution of waterways with excess nitrogen, mono-culture that reduces biodiversity, heavy and unscrupules(sp?) pesticide use, the petroleum that is used to produce agricultural chemicals, and of course the fuel for machinery and shipping/trucking. Also, the infamous slashing and burning of vast forest areas to produce more land for agriculture (it's poor farmland, often as not, leading to more slash and burn).

    d) If wages are high enough, and if families can retain enough land and labor time, food-growing for local consumption can co-exist with production of cash crops. I am curious about the Havana example. My husband visited Cuba a few years ago and had the impression that food was less than plentiful, though people weren't starving.

    I, personally, am happy not to be a subsistence farmer. 10 minutes in the garden is enough to make me itchy and irritable. But boy, do I prefer a real garden tomato to the cardboard mush that my local grocery carries, even in high summer (otherwise known as tomato season).

    All over the world, people are moving from rural areas to cities. This doesn't have to be a disaster, but it often is, as the cities lack both the infrastructure and economic opportunities to absorb these people well.

  13. #13

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    I might point out that "mutualism" does not really mean that everyone (or most people) have to be subsistence farmers. Nor does it mean rejection of any technological development, specialization of labor, or change. There is indeed more of an emphasis on the local, on cooperatives, on small group organization. I thinbk these are all good things, frankly. Unlike Mr. carson, I'm not sure I believe that large scale organizations (like corporations) are NEVER valuable. And, a completely local centric life might be pretty unpleasant for many of us. Heck, no more Italian wines or French cheeses .

    jaws, like many economic determinists, assumes that 150 years of industrial civillization automatically trumps millenia. I'm not so sure.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    My in-laws in Israel grow much of their own food. They have two pieces of property that they grow olive trees, figs, grapes, melons, and many kinds of vegetables on. The property has been in the family at least 200 years. Most of the food produced is eaten fresh or preserved. The olives are harvested and pressed for oil and depending on the yield some might be sold. Now that everyone except my MIL works outside the house they don't keep any animals and they purchase meat, flour, sugar, and dairy, but if they all were to stop working they could still survive just like they have for the last 200 years.

    My own grandparents on my father's side were much the same. The owned a small farm where they raised, harvested or hunted what was eaten. About the only thing food wise they every purchased was flour, sugar, salt, oil, and cloth. I never knew them but living that way impacted all of their children and when I visited my aunts and uncles they lived much in the same manner. All are experienced hunters and fishers, superb cooks, experts in canning and preserving food.
    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    They are specialist farmers, not subsistence farmers. They can do that because all the people unsuited to this life live in Tel Aviv and buy their food.
    Wikipedia's definition: Subsistence farming, by definition, produces enough food to sustain the farmers through their normal daily activities, and often enough of a surplus to take to market or store for later. It is a harsh way of living, if one wishes to have large amounts of modern conveniences. Because large surpluses are rare, subsistence farming does not promote the accumulation of capital. However, the personal freedom that it provides from the capitalist economy offers some families considerable value. Some also choose subsistence agriculture to work fewer hours and provide themselves with the necessities to live a healthy, comfortable life outside of modern society.

    I'd say that is pretty accurate of my grandparents and of my in-laws before they worked outside.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by BKM View post
    I might point out that "mutualism" does not really mean that everyone (or most people) have to be subsistence farmers. Nor does it mean rejection of any technological development, specialization of labor, or change. There is indeed more of an emphasis on the local, on cooperatives, on small group organization. I thinbk these are all good things, frankly. Unlike Mr. carson, I'm not sure I believe that large scale organizations (like corporations) are NEVER valuable. And, a completely local centric life might be pretty unpleasant for many of us. Heck, no more Italian wines or French cheeses .

    jaws, like many economic determinists, assumes that 150 years of industrial civillization automatically trumps millenia. I'm not so sure.
    Localism is just another form of subsistence. The ideal end is the same: to tear down global economic specialization and replace it with autarky. That means, in practice, to reduce the level of individual specialization and to reduce our material wellbeing. We can only achieve as much specialization as there are people that can specialize themselves. That's why countries that practice protectionism never catch up to the civilized world. The civilized world is always more specialized.

    Civilization comes from cultivating our differences. The more people there are, the more differences we can cultivate. Industrial civilization did not come about because the steam engine was invented. That technology had popped up in some shape or other in many countries for a very long time (going back to ancient Greece). Industrial civilization came about when we learned that more people cooperating on a greater scale made everyone better off. Then we found some useful things to do with steam engines.

    Increasing our differences improves our lives. Leveling down to equality destroys civilization. Mutualism, or whatever finds agrarian subsistence preferable to industrial civilization, will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. They will cause the collapse of industrial civilization and a race back to subsistence, then they will proclaim "we told you industrial civilization wasn't sustainable!"


    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    Wikipedia's definition: Subsistence farming, by definition, produces enough food to sustain the farmers through their normal daily activities, and often enough of a surplus to take to market or store for later. It is a harsh way of living, if one wishes to have large amounts of modern conveniences. Because large surpluses are rare, subsistence farming does not promote the accumulation of capital. However, the personal freedom that it provides from the capitalist economy offers some families considerable value. Some also choose subsistence agriculture to work fewer hours and provide themselves with the necessities to live a healthy, comfortable life outside of modern society.

    I'd say that is pretty accurate of my grandparents and of my in-laws before they worked outside.
    They still chose this lifestyle out of all those that were available to them in civilization. That means that they believed they were more suited to living this way than to any other way. They specialized themselves in this form of production, out of all the specialties they could choose from. The vast majority of people in civilization make some other choice. People in countries that practice subsistence agriculture cannot make such a choice, subsistence farming is the only way of life available to them from birth to death.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Whooo! Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

    I think the root of much of this discussion is what is meant by "subsistence farming." In reality, most of what the agricultural world practiced between, say, 10,000 years ago and very recently would probably not be called "subsistence," but the pattern that DID (and does in many places) exist is also not "commercial" in the sense that we think of it today.

    My expertise is mainly in African history, but I think the pattern is generally the same the world over. Prior to colonization (which had a deep impact on boundaries and economies, shifting things toward serving a centralized metropole), Africa had markets, long range trade (East Africa's trade with the Indian Ocean goes back a long, long way, for example), and specialization in terms of agriculture and other areas (there were merchants and artisans and judges and healers, etc.) was certainly prevalent. What had not occurred was industrialization.

    What I think many people mean when they use the term "subsistence" is that most in a community grow their own food. But this does not mean they don't also grow for trade or develop cash crops, etc. When I lived in Uganda, I stayed with a family in a village about 100 miles west of Kampala. The family owned one cow and about 100 acres of banana plantation. Bananas are the staple crop in that region, but certainly this is far more than they could eat themselves. Much of it was taken to market and even made its way to Kampala (this type of banana, called matoke, even makes its way to Great Britain where many Ugandans live). The cow was a milking cow and the family sold fresh milk locally to village residents. They also grew coffee (an old plant brought to the region by migrants from what is now Ethiopia as early as 1100AD) which, along with other local growers, ended up in Arabica blends roasted and packaged in the Middle East.

    I don't remember who posted it, but the degree to which these trade relations are ineffective has much more to do with regional conflict, international trade agreements and poor infrastructure than the fact that it is not a sustainable approach (since agriculture has sustained us for at least 10,000 years).

    I suspect BKMs by-line quote was more concerned with the kind of scenarios described above, and not one in which people are only growing food for themselves. In fact, I expect this type of arrangement is very rare around the world. Everyone trades. Surplus food is traded for soap, or milk, or some other product that people need but don't produce themselves. Some people don't produce much food, but perform other services or skills which they perform in exchange for food. Nonetheless, places like the one I describe in Uganda are more directly connected to local food security than in, say, the San Joaquin Valley in CA where every single crop is produced for export to other markets, not as an extension of a family farm. This is the type of scenario I lament as it relies so heavily on other systems of distribution and that tenuous menace, petroleum.

    After WWII, all cities in the US were supposed to have a local food supply and, as I understand it, this was the purpose of food subsidies - to pay farmers to keep land producing and undeveloped to ensure future local food security for our population centers. This is why farms are often called "quasi-public" even when they are privately owned.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  17. #17
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    The Inuit tribes have a tiny population spread over a huge territory. The reason for that is they can't support any more people the way they live. They live such a hard life that they have become famous for senilicide, exactly what Duke claims above never happened. They did it not because they have an evil culture, but because there wasn't enough food. Regardless of whether or not the oil companies are violating their property rights, the fact remains that it is much better for the inuits' material security to work in the oil companies of the global economic cooperation than to continue scraping a bare existence suited only to a tiny fraction of people the way they previously did.
    In your link it even mentions that senilicide rarely occurs and when it does, it is during times of famine. In fact they can support their lifestyle without over exhausting the natural resources available to them, which is something that major agri-business do often so they need to bring in a wide array of fertilizers and pesticides to keep production up.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Subsistence farming isn't a culture, it's what society collapses into when bad rulers make it impossible to trade. People live of subsistence farming in North Korea, Haiti and, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba. Europeans were forced back into subsistence farming when the Roman Empire imploded. When the market collapses you have to survive, and the only way to survive is to grow your own food. The first thing Afghan farmers did when they got rid of their bad rulers was to grow a cash crop. The logic is obvious. Cash buys more food than you can grow yourself. That extra food allows people not suited to farming to find better employment more suited to themselves. That's how material security is improved.
    Subsistence farming does not only exist when a society collapses but instead it is a proven opportunity to stabilize personal food needs. Its like the barter system, it is a method that works when all other factors have failed.

    The fact that this method has been able to sustain various populations since the beginning of civilization without much change or outside influence from the modern world is proof that itís not a failed system, but a reliable base system that has proven over time to work.
    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Hunger is not caused by transportation costs. You have to be able to buy something before you get it transported to you. That's what Afghan farmers are doing with their cash crop. You buy it with your productive labor, and your labor is most productive when fully integrated into the biggest possible market, the global economic cooperation.
    I have to buy before it arrives? So you buy all your food directly at the agri-business? Personally, I get some from a grocery store, others from a farmers market, both very close to where I live, so yes, it does get shipped to me, and those around me, before I buy it. As for the hunger and transportation costs... if your talking about the displacement of caribou herds, yes the transportation has caused hunger.

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Now I want you to explain something to me. I can understand that you entertain some mistaken ideas on this subject, after all we all went through the same indoctrination in school and I know what it is they told you. What I don't understand is why you get so angry when I point out obvious facts and basic logic.
    A professor from Michigan State University published a paper where he used quantitative methods to prove a direct correlation between Ice Cream sales and Murders. More Ice Cream that is sold, the more people die! You do the same thing. Trends in factor A and factor B may be similar, but that does not mean that they are related other than possibly influenced by an unknown factor C.

    The reason that I get so frustrated is because I can see real generous in some of your ideas. I think that you have the potential to be a phenomenal success. However you also have so many other ideas that you preach at full volume that history has proven donít work. Additionally the information that you do present as a proof that your theories can work are so generalized, most people could take the exact same information to make an argument in opposition to your theories. You said it very well, they are basic facts. How ever if I show you a red pen, yes the pen is red, but it does not mean that all pens are red.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    In your link it even mentions that senilicide rarely occurs and when it does, it is during times of famine. In fact they can support their lifestyle without over exhausting the natural resources available to them, which is something that major agri-business do often so they need to bring in a wide array of fertilizers and pesticides to keep production up.
    Famine doesn't bother you at all? Who needs grandma when we need to not over exhaust our land?

    That's what fertilizers are for, preventing famine.
    Subsistence farming does not only exist when a society collapses but instead it is a proven opportunity to stabilize personal food needs. Its like the barter system, it is a method that works when all other factors have failed.
    The fact that this method has been able to sustain various populations since the beginning of civilization without much change or outside influence from the modern world is proof that itís not a failed system, but a reliable base system that has proven over time to work.
    There is no way in hell that it is a reliable system, otherwise we wouldn't be speaking about famine. It is not even a sustainable system. It continues only by placing strict limits on population that can be supported. The unsustainable population dies off in the famine.
    I have to buy before it arrives? So you buy all your food directly at the agri-business? Personally, I get some from a grocery store, others from a farmers market, both very close to where I live, so yes, it does get shipped to me, and those around me, before I buy it.
    The grocery store had to buy it to deliver it to you. They bought it knowing that they could sell it back to you because you had the money to buy it from them. They bought it in advance for you, but if you could not afford the food they would not do so.
    A professor from Michigan State University published a paper where he used quantitative methods to prove a direct correlation between Ice Cream sales and Murders. More Ice Cream that is sold, the more people die! You do the same thing. Trends in factor A and factor B may be similar, but that does not mean that they are related other than possibly influenced by an unknown factor C.
    The reason that I get so frustrated is because I can see real generous in some of your ideas. I think that you have the potential to be a phenomenal success. However you also have so many other ideas that you preach at full volume that history has proven donít work. Additionally the information that you do present as a proof that your theories can work are so generalized, most people could take the exact same information to make an argument in opposition to your theories. You said it very well, they are basic facts. How ever if I show you a red pen, yes the pen is red, but it does not mean that all pens are red.
    I base all of my arguments on logic. The historical facts I provide serve only as an illustration of the logic. You cannot, with empirical evidence alone, claim that ice cream causes murders or the other way around. However, you can, using logic, point out that both are correlated with periods of intense atmospheric heat that could be the cause of the increase in both murders and ice cream sales.

    You cannot refute the logic that subsistence farming severely limits the population that can be supported and that a forced return to subsistence farming will cause the starvation of the weakest segment of population. No matter how much you complain about how general the statement is, it is still true.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Notice how this thread started out comparing agragarian sustenance society against globalized industrial society and has now become one comparing the latter against a society of hunter-gatherers clinging to survival in the harshest environment on earth?

    That's why jaws is a good arguer.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  20. #20
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    A professor from Michigan State University published a paper where he used quantitative methods to prove a direct correlation between Ice Cream sales and Murders. More Ice Cream that is sold, the more people die! You do the same thing. Trends in factor A and factor B may be similar, but that does not mean that they are related other than possibly influenced by an unknown factor C.
    Generally known as "hot weather"

    I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. I run into this sort of spurious correlation every day at work.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb View post
    Notice how this thread started out comparing agragarian sustenance society against globalized industrial society and has now become one comparing the latter against a society of hunter-gatherers clinging to survival in the harshest environment on earth?

    That's why jaws is a good arguer.
    Personally I think Jaws is a hopeless debater (sorry man!), but are you or anyone else here seriously suggesting that small-scale, low-output, "low-impact", non-specialized farming is a viable economic model superior to anything but hunting and gathering?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  22. #22
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    Personally I think Jaws is a hopeless debater (sorry man!), but are you or anyone else here seriously suggesting that small-scale, low-output, "low-impact", non-specialized farming is a viable economic model superior to anything but hunting and gathering?
    Take away the subsidies for industrial agriculture in developed countries and then we can compare apples and oranges.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb View post
    That's why jaws is a good arguer.
    And a damn good baiterer.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas? View post
    And a damn good baiterer.
    He's so good, we should call him master.

    Was that over the line? Sorry.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michiganplanner View post
    Was that over the line?
    Ha ha ha! Perfect! The Master Baiterer! Well done! Take a bow!

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