Sunday, September 13, 2015
NYT says Hitler was right!
Predicts disastrous food shortages
There is here an article in the NYT under the heading "The Next Genocide" by Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University -- who knows nothing about economics or anything much modern. So he is a Warmist. It's such an easily summarized load of old cobblers that I am not going to reproduce any of it for once.
What he says -- correctly -- is that Hitler's Drang nach Osten was motivated by a fear of running out of resources, food resources, in particular. Hitler wanted Eastern European farms to produce the food needed to feed Germany's growing population.
And I acknowledge that I did learn one thing from our historian about that. He says that concern about food supplies was motivated by the food shortages that occurred in Germany during WWI. I had never made that connection but it is obviously right.
All the rest is amazingly uninsightful and ill-informed, however. He misses the obvious point that Hitler's modern successors in having panic fits over things running out are the Greenies. A reasonable person might have concluded that since Hitler was wrong about things running out, one should also question the Greenie fear of things running out. That is too obvious for our one-eyed historian, however. Greenies as Hitler's successors? Perish the thought!
Instead he basically argues that Hitler was right! He says that food shortages are a real possibility if we do not do something about it. He asserts without proof that various wars in Africa were caused by competition for resources and that resources everywhere are in danger of running out because of global warming. That tribalism in Africa causes a lot of conflict he acknowledges but he thinks he can see more deeply than that.
So what will happen when global warming creates worldwide food shortages? China! The millions of troops of the People's Liberation Army will descend on us all and take our land.
So what is wrong with that argument? Just about everything. To take the searingly obvious, global warming would be GOOD for crops. Crops thrive in warmth. I come from the tropics and I can assure you that vegetation there almost leaps out and grabs you, it is so lush and vigorous. Leave your car outside untended for 6 months and at the end of six months you could find it covered with creepers. I have seen it happen.
It's true that many pest species also thrive in warm weather but now that DDT has decisively been shown to be harmless to humans and birds, a widespread revival of DDT use would cope with that problem very easily.
And warming would be greeted with frabjous joy in both Canada and Siberia. And note what a big place Siberia is. It is 5 million sq. miles versus 3 million sq. miles for CONUS. The cropland that would be produced by a warmer South in Siberia boggles the imagination.
And clever Canadian farmers already produce a great bounty of grains from the chilly North. How much more they would produce if the land just beyond present useability warmed up! They would start cropping there very rapidly.
And already in the world as we have it, the characteristic problem of agricultural productivity is glut, not shortage. Governments all over the developed world do various things to discourage their farmers from farming. In the USA, the Agriculture Department pays farmers to leave part of their land fallow. Why? Because, left to their own devices, farmers would produce so much that food prices would fall greatly and thus trap farmers in a sort of Malthusian trap. They would get poorer by producing more. French farmers right at this moment are mounting big anti-government protests over the fact that they get so little money for what they produce.
So the whole basis of Prof. Snyder's scare is total crap. Food has never before been so plentiful and hence cheaper -- and there is no end to that in sight. The French government would fervently hope that it were but they are not going to get so lucky.
And Snyder's portrayal of China's present food situation would appear not to have been updated since Mao. Under capitalism, those incredibly productive Chinese farmers have turned China from a net food importer to a net food exporter -- to the considerable grief of Australian wheat farmers. Under Mao, Australian wheat put bread on the table for a lot of China. That is no more. China now has a surplus of grains -- among many other farm products. Look at the origin of bargain cans of almost any food in your local supermarket and you will find that it mostly comes from China these days. As well as making most of the world's electrical goods, China now to a significant extent also feeds the world. It's an amazing example of what capitalism can do.
One small thing that Snyder gets right is that there has been a distressing corn shortage in poorer countries in recent years -- thus bumping up the price and tending to make poor people go hungry. He shows no knowledge that it is precisely his Greenie friends who are behind that, however. Mandates to add ethanol to gasoline supplies in the USA have diverted much of the huge U.S. corn crop from export and into distilleries producing alcohol. It's an inefficient way of producing alcohol but that's another story. So Greenie meddling with the market can produce food shortages but even amid some shackles the market still produces plenty.
Snyder is a complete ignoramus -- JR.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).