-Caveat Lector-

>From the NewAustralian

> US
>     Report
>            Telling it like it is<Picture>The New Australian
> Pesky potted plants
> By *Dr Arthur Robinson
> No. 125,   28 June - 4 July 1999
> During a visit to Iowa this past month, I learned more about enviro efforts in
> that state to shut down farming. They want to return a large part of the land to
> wilderness — and have elected a governor who is taking the first steps toward
> this pseudoenvironmentalist nirvana. It is argued that farming is becoming a
> less important part of Iowa's economy and that they need to emphasise "more
> important" things like tourism. Tourism? Iowa is the heartland of the world-wide
> agricultural revolution. Its rich land is black gold, and the knowledge, skills
> and heritage of its farmers are derived from ten generations of the most
> productive farm families in the world.
> Yet Iowa farmers are under siege. This is seen in various ways. Driving through
> the state, for example, one passes many farms with buildings badly in need of
> paint and other maintenance. When I visited my grandparents there as a boy, such
> neglect was rarely evident. First, Iowa farmers are being unrelentingly attacked
> by their government. That government confiscates, by force or threat of force,
> approximately half of everything they earn. High local and state taxes, voted in
> when they were more prosperous, exacerbate the onerous and unconscionable burden
> of federal taxation. To this is added the increasingly crushing burden of
> government regulation that has come so familiar to most of America's really
> productive people.
> The real price of Iowa farm land has (when correction is made for cyclical
> variations) decreased two-fold during the past two generations. The Amount of
> land under cultivation world-wide has diminished steadily for the past twenty
> years.. Meanwhile, the real prices of farm commodities has dropped five-fold
> during the past two generations — and, by some measures, as much as ten-fold.
> This wonderful blessing of abundant food for the world (as opposed to the
> Malthusian nonsense predicted by the likes of Paul Ehrlich — never right, but
> always richly rewarded for his anti-technology views by the tax-exempt socialist
> community) is the result of the revolution in farm technology produced by Iowa
> farmers and their colleagues in other states and then exported throughout the
> world.
> Consider one example of this as described by Matt Moffett and Peter Fritsch in
> their article Remote Brazilian Area Becomes Breadbasket, Thanks to the Amazon,
> (Wall Street Journal, 18 May 1999, p A1). A small region in Western Brazilian
> has been developed, over the past 20 years into a center for soy bean
> production. Crop yields per acre are equal to those of Iowa. Moreover, thee
> climate allows year-around farming. Production in this region is already
> measurably reducing world soybean prices. Now, the farmers who began this
> project have built a road north to the Amazon River. This reduces the truck
> route to market by about four-fold and allows their produce to be shipped down
> the Amazon. It is estimated that this new road alone will permit soybean
> plantings in this one region to be increased by 75 million acres — which equals
> the entire area of land in the United States now planted to soybeans.
> Iowa is paved with corn and soybeans. Envirofascists have declared that it would
> be better for the environment if it were paved with concrete instead. (The same
> amount of land is 'lost', but no food for the noxious human race is produced.]
> Iowa technologists have taught the world how to produce these commodities
> efficiently, and the American chemical and machinery industries have produced
> the chemicals and tools necessary to apply these methods.
> Given the trends in progress during the height of Iowa's prosperity, a sort of
> Moore's Law for agriculture was in place. Just as the personal c9mputer is well
> on the way to almost zero effective cost (it is predicted that internet
> connections will eventually be offered with a free computer just for signing
> up), the trend in agriculture is on a path toward abundant and virtually free
> food for the entire world.
> Using the diet that we developed for civil defense in the 1980s (then adopted
> and publicised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consisting of 160
> pounds of corn, 160 pounds of wheat, 80 pounds of soybeans, 36 grams of vitamin
> C, and salt annually), the farm price cost of feeding and ordinary adult for one
> year is now about $22. (For a very large adult, it is about 50 per cent more or
> $33 per year.) Most of the cost of food is now government regulation and taxes,
> the extra cost of producing foods that people eat by preference rather than by
> necessity, and food distribution. These latter costs are dropping rapidly, too,
> except for the burden of government thievery — which threatens to become almost
> the entire cost.
> While the trend toward essentially negligible food cost has been slowed by
> avaricious and unprincipled government interference, it has not been stopped —
> as evidenced by the events in Brazil. in the United States, however, farm states
> like Iowa have been devastated by government plundering — to the point that many
> farmers are clamoring for laws to force the burning of their corn as inefficient
> fuel (ethanol) in automobiles and for the continuation of farm subsidies (which
> only keep the inefficient in business and make their situation worse) in a
> futile effort to save themselves.
> We shall never know what the next step in the agricultural revolution wrought by
> Iowa Farmers would have been — had their capital not been seized by government
> and their initiative sapped by bureaucratic planners. Eventually, farm
> communities in some other parts of the world may become sophisticated enough too
> take that step. Meanwhile, people who sit at desk (or vegetate on welfare) —
> people who cannot feed, clothe, house, or even bathe themselves without the
> efforts of these farmers and their productive counterparts in other industries —
> attack them. These people are like potted plants — sitting in their potting
> sheds — waiting to be fed and watered each day.
> Of course, being a potted plant is not dishonourable per se. Most great
> fundamental scientists have been such potted plants —- taken care of by others
> while they carried out their own uniquely valuable work. Productive division of
> labour produces this situation. Now, however, there are two differences — a
> large per centage of the potted plants have become unproductive or even
> counterproductive in their own activities and — a situation that is bizarre
> indeed — the potted plants are actually attacking those who feed and water them.
> By all means, shut down Iowa, open up Brazil, and hold your breath until the
> Brazilian farmers decide that their desire for printing press dollars and the
> paper shuffled by American lawyers is not great enough incentive to keep
> shipping their soybeans north.
> *Dr Arthur B. Robinson is President of the Oregon Institute of Science and
> Medicine
> The New Australian



> Overview
> Research and Development
> The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine is a small research institute in
> southern Oregon. It was founded in 1980 to conduct basic and applied research in
> subjects immediately applicable to improvements in human life - especially in
> biochemistry, diagnostic medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine, and the
> molecular biology of aging.
> The Institute is entirely supported by donations and the independent earnings of
> its faculty and volunteers. It does not solicit or accept government funds.

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