food and population

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John McCarthy

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Jan 16, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/16/99
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An article in Friday's _Science_ has

Despite a huge population increase since then, per capita
food production has grown by almost a quarter; the number of
people eating less than 2100 calories per day, a standard
index of malnutrition, has fallen by three-quarters. Driven
by soaring harvests of rice, wheat, and maize, the world's
most important crops, the global boom in agricultural
production is one of the century's greatest technological
achievements.

This actually from an article doubting that the increases in
yield can be continued much longer.

I posted it to suggest that the people who take for granted that
the number of malnourished is ever increasing should re-examine
how they came to think so. In fact, it would be informative if
they told us.

--
John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/
He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.


Bloody Viking

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Jan 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/17/99
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John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:

: An article in Friday's _Science_ has

: Despite a huge population increase since then, per capita
: food production has grown by almost a quarter; the number of
: people eating less than 2100 calories per day, a standard
: index of malnutrition, has fallen by three-quarters. Driven
: by soaring harvests of rice, wheat, and maize, the world's
: most important crops, the global boom in agricultural
: production is one of the century's greatest technological
: achievements.

But one minor problem. The large food increase is from the use of petrol
for farm impliments. When cheap oil runs out, we are in for some
major-league trouble. What will we do? We'll all find out after the Oil
Max-Out. (Hubbert Peak) That's to say nothing of petrochemical fertilisers
or the energy use in synthesising ammonia.

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John McCarthy

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Jan 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/17/99
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Bloody Viking <nos...@tekka.wwa.com> writes:

> John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
>
> : An article in Friday's _Science_ has
>
> : Despite a huge population increase since then, per capita
> : food production has grown by almost a quarter; the number of
> : people eating less than 2100 calories per day, a standard
> : index of malnutrition, has fallen by three-quarters. Driven
> : by soaring harvests of rice, wheat, and maize, the world's
> : most important crops, the global boom in agricultural
> : production is one of the century's greatest technological
> : achievements.
>
> But one minor problem. The large food increase is from the use of petrol
> for farm impliments. When cheap oil runs out, we are in for some
> major-league trouble. What will we do? We'll all find out after the Oil
> Max-Out. (Hubbert Peak) That's to say nothing of petrochemical fertilisers
> or the energy use in synthesising ammonia.

There you go again attaching your Hubbert hobby to everything. The
increase in production was mainly related to new varieties.

There is plenty of nuclear energy to be had, and even a Greenpeace
member would use it if the alternative were starvation. Besides that
there is plenty of shale oil, tar sands and oil from coal just waiting
for the price to rise to $35 per barrel. Since the cost to the Saudis
is $2 per barrel, they can undercut any other source of oil as long as
their supplies last. They have got the price down to $11 per barrel,
and this has wiped out American wildcatting for the time being, just
as the oil finding technology took a big jump up.

See http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/energy.html.

Anyway my target was the people who said that the number of
malnourished was increasing. This time it was not the (almost as
misguided) people who said it would increase in the future.

Irv115

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Jan 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/17/99
to
Interedting discussion. I have a question:

When the Asian economic flu is finally over, how much additional meat can the
Chinese eat before they devour the current agricultural surpluss?

I seem to remember that two years ago, before the Asian Flu, ever growing
capitalism was going to insure that our farmers would never again need
subsidies because the Chinese (et. al.) were going to consume all the
agricultural surpluss. Doesn't the existance of any surpluss depend on how
high on the hog we are able to eat?

John McCarthy stated:
<j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU>
>Date: Sun, Jan 17, 1999 11:49 EST
>Message-id: <x4h3e59...@Steam.Stanford.EDU>


Irv @ Webster
The only stupid question is the one you don't ask.
My e-mail address will work better if you un-despam it.
That is, remove "don'tspam".

Jay Hanson

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Jan 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/18/99
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John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote in message

>I posted it to suggest that the people who take for granted that
>the number of malnourished is ever increasing should re-examine
>how they came to think so. In fact, it would be informative if
>they told us.

"In 1950, 500 million people (20% of the world population) were considered
malnourished (Grigg 1993). Today more than 3 billion people (one-half of the
world population) suffer from malnutrition (WHO 1996e), the largest number
and the highest rate in history. Each year, between 6 and 14 million people
die from malnutrition (Murray and Lopez 1996). Malnutrition problems are
also on the increase in the United States, especially among the poor."

ECOLOGY OF INCREASING DISEASE:
Population growth and environmental degradation
Bioscience Vol. 48 No. 10 October, 1998
David Pimentel, Maria Tort, Linda D'Anna, Anne Krawic, Joshua Berger,
Jessica Rossman, Fridah Mugo, Nancy Doon, Michael Shriberg, Erica Howard,
Susan Lee, and Jonathan Talbot http://dieoff.com/page165.htm

Jay

Harold

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Jan 19, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/19/99
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On 17 Jan 1999 19:49:29 GMT, irv...@aol.comdontspam (Irv115) wrote:

>Interedting discussion. I have a question:
>
>When the Asian economic flu is finally over, how much additional meat can the
>Chinese eat before they devour the current agricultural surpluss?

They will eat nough that the price of meat increases, and they will
eat a little less (along with other consumers) as the price steadily
increases, and so on.

Along the way, producers will note the increase in prices and will
respond by increasing production. Chickens reach eating size in a
matter of weeks, for example.

The failure of our public schools to teach the basic concepts of
calculus haunts us every day.

>I seem to remember that two years ago, before the Asian Flu, ever growing
>capitalism was going to insure that our farmers would never again need
>subsidies because the Chinese (et. al.) were going to consume all the
>agricultural surpluss.

Our farmers do not "need" subsidies. The federal government sees
political hay to be made by giving them one. Unfortunately.

When the farm program was changed to slowly eliminate subsidies and
crop restraints everyone recognized that this meant the least
efficient farmers would be squeezed out of the business as the more
efficient ones increased production.

>Doesn't the existance of any surpluss depend on how
>high on the hog we are able to eat?

Not unless you assume there is a zero sum game going on. I see no
evidence that is the case. The more people are willing to pay the
more effort will be devoted to satisfying the demand.

Regards, Harold
----
"If you give the government enough power to create "social
justice," you have given it enough power to create despotism".
--- Thomas Sowell, 1997

Irv115

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu (Harold) Wrote:
>Date: Tue, Jan 19, 1999 14:37 EST
>Message-id: <36a6dbfe...@nntp.st.usm.edu>

>
>On 17 Jan 1999 19:49:29 GMT, irv...@aol.comdontspam (Irv115) wrote:
>
>>Interedting discussion. I have a question:
>>
>>When the Asian economic flu is finally over, how much additional meat can
>the
>>Chinese eat before they devour the current agricultural surpluss?
>
>They will eat nough that the price of meat increases, and they will
>eat a little less (along with other consumers) as the price steadily
>increases, and so on.
>
>Along the way, producers will note the increase in prices and will
>respond by increasing production. Chickens reach eating size in a
>matter of weeks, for example.
>
>The failure of our public schools to teach the basic concepts of
>calculus haunts us every day.
>
>>I seem to remember that two years ago, before the Asian Flu, ever growing
>>capitalism was going to insure that our farmers would never again need
>>subsidies because the Chinese (et. al.) were going to consume all the
>>agricultural surpluss.
>
>Our farmers do not "need" subsidies. The federal government sees
>political hay to be made by giving them one. Unfortunately.
>
>When the farm program was changed to slowly eliminate subsidies and
>crop restraints everyone recognized that this meant the least
>efficient farmers would be squeezed out of the business as the more
>efficient ones increased production.
>
Well, I have been reading articles about Hog farms losing $15,000 a week
because the price of pork is down to 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of production. That
they can't hold off selling because it costs too much to feed the hogs.
Bankrupting a whole category of farmers is not going to help our economy as
much as you think

.
>>Doesn't the existance of any surpluss depend on how
>>high on the hog we are able to eat?
>
>Not unless you assume there is a zero sum game going on. I see no
>evidence that is the case. The more people are willing to pay the
>more effort will be devoted to satisfying the demand.
>
>Regards, Harold

I hope you never get caught in the juggernaut that is the downside of
capitalism.

Irv

Harold

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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On 20 Jan 1999 01:25:10 GMT, irv...@aol.comdontspam (Irv115) wrote:

>Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu (Harold) Wrote:

[deleted]

>>Our farmers do not "need" subsidies. The federal government sees
>>political hay to be made by giving them one. Unfortunately.
>>
>>When the farm program was changed to slowly eliminate subsidies and
>>crop restraints everyone recognized that this meant the least
>>efficient farmers would be squeezed out of the business as the more
>>efficient ones increased production.
>>
>Well, I have been reading articles about Hog farms losing $15,000 a week
>because the price of pork is down to 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of production. That
>they can't hold off selling because it costs too much to feed the hogs.
>Bankrupting a whole category of farmers is not going to help our economy as
>much as you think

Reading articl;es about hog farms losing $15,000 does not mean the
"whole category of farmers" is going bankrupt. It means some are
losing money, only the more efficient will stay in business without
federal subsidies, thus reducing the cost to consumers.


>>
>>Not unless you assume there is a zero sum game going on. I see no
>>evidence that is the case. The more people are willing to pay the
>>more effort will be devoted to satisfying the demand.
>>

>I hope you never get caught in the juggernaut that is the downside of
>capitalism.
>

Not sure what you mean. Capitalism creates the wealth of services and
products which allows you to sit back and criticize it. It is the
most humane method ever found for distributing societies resources.

I have been downsized once, it is sometimes referred to as a process
of creative destruction. The idea is that government should let
business downsize and restructure as required. It is the price we pay
for the efficiency which translates into more wealth for society. I
saved my money and got a reasonably good job anyway.

Private property derives from the concept that each person is free and
their body belongs to them. Since you are a free person, what you
produce is yours. We call what we produce our property. If you are
not a free person, then the resources you produce with your body are
not yours. They belong to someone who did not produce them.

John McCarthy

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Jan 20, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/20/99
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"Jay Hanson" <j...@qmail.com> writes:

The criterion for malnourishment the _Science_ article I posted used
was getting less than 2100 calories per day. According to that
article malnutrition is 1/4 what it was in 1950. What is the
criterion of this WHO document? Is it an official opinion of WHO or
just the opinion of someone who wrote in a WHO publication?

3 billion people is more than half the world's population. I wonder
if this study would consider me malnourished, because I'm still
burping from eating too much pizza at 930pm.
--

Harold

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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On 20 Jan 1999 22:34:45 -0800, John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU>
wrote:

Even if there were more malnourished people (which I believe is
incorrect), it is not because we do not have sufficient food for them
to eat. We have more now per person that ever in the past.

The fault would like in the political arena.

Regards, Harold
------
"By September 1979, all important life in the sea was extinct.
Large areas of coastline had to be evacuated... A pretty grim
scenario. Unfortunately were a long way into it already...based
on projections of trends already appearing..."
- Paul Ehrilich, Environmental Handbook, 1970, pp 174

John W. Herberg

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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On Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:44:01 GMT, Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu
(Harold) wrote:
>Reading articl;es about hog farms losing $15,000 does not mean the
>"whole category of farmers" is going bankrupt. It means some are
>losing money, only the more efficient will stay in business without
>federal subsidies, thus reducing the cost to consumers.

Not all farmers are losing money. The large corporate farms are doing
quite well. It's the family farms that are suffering. Not that I
support most farm subsidies - they end up going to the corporate farms
anyways.

The farms that are run like factories are the ones proving most
succussfull in todays market. However, the reason for this is that
not all costs are realized or accounted for (a major problem w/in our
society). They don't account for the environmental damage or even the
damage to the value of surrounding property.

If those things were accounted for, the factories would not be as
successfull (if at possible).

In my opinion, you will see 1 of 2 things happen: 1) opposition to
these farms will grow as people see the effects (several
anti-ag-factory bills have already been passed); 2) the environmental
effects of the farms will cause a breakdown in the ecosystem (i.e.
pfesteria (sp?)).

Either way, I don't think our current farming practices will last
forever. It may take some time, but eventually things will have to be
done in a more sustainable manner. That includes controlling
population.


>>>Not unless you assume there is a zero sum game going on. I see no
>>>evidence that is the case. The more people are willing to pay the
>>>more effort will be devoted to satisfying the demand.
>>>
>>I hope you never get caught in the juggernaut that is the downside of
>>capitalism.
>>
>Not sure what you mean. Capitalism creates the wealth of services and
>products which allows you to sit back and criticize it. It is the
>most humane method ever found for distributing societies resources.

Humane? Only for those that benefit from it. I doubt the American
Indians felt resources were being distributed in a humane manner; or
the African slaves. And the same type of treatment continues w/the
rainforest indenginous peoples who are losing thier land (their
ability to survive). For that matter, I don't think the animals that
are caged up all day in those farms we were talking about are treated
humanely either.

The problem w/our capitalistic society is that it forces too high a
priority on money. Money is above all else. In my opinion, people
and the environment must be placed at a higher priority (or at least
even keel).

John W. Herberg

Harold

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
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On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 16:24:38 GMT, her...@ibm.net (John W. Herberg)
wrote:

>On Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:44:01 GMT, Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu
>(Harold) wrote:
>>Reading articl;es about hog farms losing $15,000 does not mean the
>>"whole category of farmers" is going bankrupt. It means some are
>>losing money, only the more efficient will stay in business without
>>federal subsidies, thus reducing the cost to consumers.
>
>Not all farmers are losing money.

Good lord, can no one here READ? Do you see the sentence above, I
used the word "some". I can assure you that was not an error.

>The large corporate farms are doing
>quite well.

Some are, some are not.

>It's the family farms that are suffering.

Again, some are, some are not. Smaller family farms are tough,
because they cannot afford the labor saving machinery that would make
them able to compete with the bigger farms.

>Not that I
>support most farm subsidies - they end up going to the corporate farms
>anyways.

Not entirely, but it is hard to direct them to the less efficient
farmers. I recall a story of a federal program supposedly targeted to
farmers who have farms under a certain size. The owner divided his
substantial holdings among his 5 children and each applied separately.


>
>The farms that are run like factories are the ones proving most
>succussfull in todays market. However, the reason for this is that
>not all costs are realized or accounted for (a major problem w/in our
>society). They don't account for the environmental damage or even the
>damage to the value of surrounding property.

In that case, they should be sued by the ones they have damaged on the
surrounding property.

I am curious why these surrounding land owners are giving these
operations a pass when they could be compensated for any damage caused
to their property. Do you know what is their motivation for such
charity?


>
>If those things were accounted for, the factories would not be as
>successfull (if at possible).
>
>In my opinion, you will see 1 of 2 things happen: 1) opposition to
>these farms will grow as people see the effects (several
>anti-ag-factory bills have already been passed); 2) the environmental
>effects of the farms will cause a breakdown in the ecosystem (i.e.
>pfesteria (sp?)).

Well, the government has long been in the business of deciding what is
the right thing to do economically and socially. After all, don't we
elect them to get enforced the standards we think everyone else should
conform to?

[deleted]

Regards, Harold (Capitalist Pig)
-----
"To be controlled in our economic pursuits is to be controlled
in everything."
---F. A. Hayek

John W. Herberg

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Jan 21, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/21/99
to
On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 22:37:28 GMT, Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu
(Harold) wrote:

>On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 16:24:38 GMT, her...@ibm.net (John W. Herberg)
>wrote:

>>Not all farmers are losing money.
>
>Good lord, can no one here READ? Do you see the sentence above, I
>used the word "some". I can assure you that was not an error.

I can read and I was actually agreeing w/you. Blame it on loss of
translation through e-mail.

>>The farms that are run like factories are the ones proving most
>>succussfull in todays market. However, the reason for this is that
>>not all costs are realized or accounted for (a major problem w/in our
>>society). They don't account for the environmental damage or even the
>>damage to the value of surrounding property.
>
>In that case, they should be sued by the ones they have damaged on the
>surrounding property.

Easier said than done. Especially when you're in a low income
bracket. Since most of these corporate ag-farms are in rural areas,
I'd wager most people affected by them have a limited income.
Compound that with the fact that the defendant is usually quite
wealthy and has many political ties. In some situations (N. Carolina
I think), they are the politicians.

>I am curious why these surrounding land owners are giving these
>operations a pass when they could be compensated for any damage caused
>to their property. Do you know what is their motivation for such
>charity?

I wouldn't call it charity. I think it's lack of knowledge and power.
Since the ag-farms are relatively new and placed in rural areas, most
people looked at them as they do any corporation/factory - more jobs.
Once the farms are in place, people start realizing the costs. By
then it's too late.

Like I said though, people are starting to wise up.

>>If those things were accounted for, the factories would not be as
>>successfull (if at possible).
>>
>>In my opinion, you will see 1 of 2 things happen: 1) opposition to
>>these farms will grow as people see the effects (several
>>anti-ag-factory bills have already been passed); 2) the environmental
>>effects of the farms will cause a breakdown in the ecosystem (i.e.
>>pfesteria (sp?)).
>
>Well, the government has long been in the business of deciding what is
>the right thing to do economically and socially. After all, don't we
>elect them to get enforced the standards we think everyone else should
>conform to?

I guess that's part of their job. Besides enforcing standards though,
they should be convincing people to want to follow them.

Regardless, I think the main goal for most politicians is to stay in
office. Rarely does it mean doing the "right" thing.


John W. Herberg

Bloody Viking

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:

: There is plenty of nuclear energy to be had, and even a Greenpeace


: member would use it if the alternative were starvation. Besides that

Nice point. But then again, Greenpeacers could end up being served for
dinner at Hannibal Lecter's home. :) "I think I'll have an old friend for
dinner"

: there is plenty of shale oil, tar sands and oil from coal just waiting

: for the price to rise to $35 per barrel. Since the cost to the Saudis
: is $2 per barrel, they can undercut any other source of oil as long as
: their supplies last. They have got the price down to $11 per barrel,
: and this has wiped out American wildcatting for the time being, just
: as the oil finding technology took a big jump up.

OK, but part of the problem is that there's not much oil to be found here
anymore. American oil production peaked in 1970 just before OPEC pulled
off the embargo. Time to wean ourselves of oil in favour of breeders and
coal-breeders. And let the Greenpeacers be the Glowpeacers.

: Anyway my target was the people who said that the number of
: malnourished was increasing. This time it was not the (almost as


: misguided) people who said it would increase in the future.

One thing you could say is that in America, malnourishment is increasing.
The number is fairly small, but growing due not to food shortage, but due
to wealth being redistributed to Bill Gates!

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Bloody Viking

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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Jay Hanson <j...@qmail.com> wrote:

: die from malnutrition (Murray and Lopez 1996). Malnutrition problems are


: also on the increase in the United States, especially among the poor."

American malnourishment is due to money being redistributed to Bill Gates,
not a food shortage here. Our economy is merely hosed.

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Harold

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
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On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 23:46:42 GMT, her...@ibm.net (John W. Herberg)
wrote:

>On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 22:37:28 GMT, Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu
>(Harold) wrote:
>
>>On Thu, 21 Jan 1999 16:24:38 GMT, her...@ibm.net (John W. Herberg)
>>wrote:
>>>Not all farmers are losing money.
>>
>>Good lord, can no one here READ? Do you see the sentence above, I
>>used the word "some". I can assure you that was not an error.
>
>I can read and I was actually agreeing w/you. Blame it on loss of
>translation through e-mail.

Sorry then, you certainly have my apologies. Sometimes I read too
quickly, and may miss some content.

>>>The farms that are run like factories are the ones proving most
>>>succussfull in todays market. However, the reason for this is that
>>>not all costs are realized or accounted for (a major problem w/in our
>>>society). They don't account for the environmental damage or even the
>>>damage to the value of surrounding property.
>>
>>In that case, they should be sued by the ones they have damaged on the
>>surrounding property.
>
>Easier said than done. Especially when you're in a low income
>bracket.

I will grant you that too, it is not easy, but it should be entirely
possible, especially with the favoring of litigants now the norm in
environmental law.

>Since most of these corporate ag-farms are in rural areas,
>I'd wager most people affected by them have a limited income.
>Compound that with the fact that the defendant is usually quite
>wealthy and has many political ties. In some situations (N. Carolina
>I think), they are the politicians.
>
>>I am curious why these surrounding land owners are giving these
>>operations a pass when they could be compensated for any damage caused
>>to their property. Do you know what is their motivation for such
>>charity?
>
>I wouldn't call it charity. I think it's lack of knowledge and power.
>Since the ag-farms are relatively new and placed in rural areas, most
>people looked at them as they do any corporation/factory - more jobs.
>Once the farms are in place, people start realizing the costs. By
>then it's too late.

No, they have no basis for litigation before the farm corporate farm
does anything wrong.

I am not going to argue with you about this, since I do not want to be
forced, as you appear to be intent on, defending all corporate
farmers. It is too easy to find examples of ignorance or abuse in any
group.

Likewise, you should note, it is also very easy to find examples of
small farmers who are abusive of their neighbors (with inappropriate
use of pesticides, for example). No group is swimming in the favor of
angels.

Having lived for a long period on a family farm, I can assure you that
it is not heaven. Frankly, I would prefer to work on the corporate
farms, since I can always quit that job, if nothing else.

[deleted]

Regards, Harold (Capitalist Pig!)
-----
"What's *just* has been debated for centuries but let me offer
you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you
keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much
of what I earn *belongs* to you -- and why?"
---Walter Williams, All It Takes Is Guts

Dewey Burbank

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
to
Bloody Viking <nos...@tekka.wwa.com> wrote:

>John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:

>: there is plenty of shale oil, tar sands and oil from coal just waiting
>: for the price to rise to $35 per barrel. Since the cost to the Saudis
>: is $2 per barrel, they can undercut any other source of oil as long as
>: their supplies last. They have got the price down to $11 per barrel,
>: and this has wiped out American wildcatting for the time being, just
>: as the oil finding technology took a big jump up.
>
>OK, but part of the problem is that there's not much oil to be found here
>anymore. American oil production peaked in 1970 just before OPEC pulled
>off the embargo. Time to wean ourselves of oil in favour of breeders and
>coal-breeders. And let the Greenpeacers be the Glowpeacers.

There's plenty of oil to be found. Even here.
American oil PRODUCTION may have peaked in the
'70s, but that has nothing to do with the AMOUNT
of oil in the ground. Let the price rise (even
just a little bit) and the USA will be pumpung
millions of barrels out of our own land.

We're Capitalists, remember? If we can buy it
from somewhere else for cheaper, why bother
producing it ourselves?

Smart guys we are, eh?

BTW, I agree that uranium is a better energy
source than petroleum.


Dewey Burbank
Director
Washington Tri-Cities Bowling Association
dewey @ televar.com

Harold Lindaberry

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Jan 22, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/22/99
to

Dewey Burbank wrote:

Not for running cars, tractors, transportation equipment etc.

“ Nature limits what we can do, Science limits what we understand,
Theory what we can think, and Religion what we can hope “ Lindaberry 1998

Harold Lindaberry reply E - mail har...@epix.net
visit OXGORE website at http://www.epix.net/~harlind
RESEARCH GOES WHERE RESEARCH LEADS

Bloody Viking

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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Harold Lindaberry <har...@epix.net> wrote:

:> BTW, I agree that uranium is a better energy
:> source than petroleum.

: Not for running cars, tractors, transportation equipment etc.

Therein lies the problem. Coal breeder technology will not work well for
transportation use. For better or worse, the fact that petrol is nearly
ideal for transportation is the crux of Jay Hanson's argument. The next
best thing is a coal gasifier for the cars where you recycle the ash to
extract the nuke stuff.

A major problem we have is that we are so dependant on transportation. The
end of Cheap Oil is sure to disrupt things. Electricity is a good form of
energy and can be made from coal breeders but it's hard to make portable.
A battery that can hold one kilowatt-hour is pretty heavy. A typical car
battery holds less than a KWh but is heavy as shit. The sheer mass of lead
batteries is why EVs don't work well. Also, an EV you plug in can't be
used by apartment dwellers. Even worse, semis used to haul food can't be
driven by batteries.

The energy density of petrol is way better than even the best of the NASA
sulfur batteries. This is why petrol is hard to replace for transportation
use. (Note I'm using "petrol" for all transportation fuels derived from
oil.) Batteries don't really cut it. And aeroplanes need a high energy
density fuel. For that, liquid hydrogen could be used like the Space
Shuttle. For cars, liquid hydrogen would be a pain to impliment. Even
liquid methane is real cold, and LH2 is second only to helium for a cold
liquid.

As far as we know, the easiest fuel to make with coal breeder electricity
is liquid hydrogen. Any attempt to make it more like petrol wastes energy.
Coal can not be used in a car easally except for a coal gasifier. Even
then, to make it useful in a car engine, you must waste coal to boil water
to make the coal gas to burn.

All in all, the end of the cheap oil will cause prices to rise to
compensate for the harder to use energy. Increasing poverty is a sure-fire
recipe for social problems.

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John McCarthy

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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Bloody Viking <nos...@tako.wwa.com> writes:

Liquid hydrogen produced by using nuclear energy to split water will
probably give cars of present performance. Of course, the transition
will be expensive, but I'll bet there won't be any substantial change
in the use of cars. See

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/hydrogen.html.

Electric cars can also be made to work well if the batteries can be
swapped efficently. See

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/batteryswap.html.

Again you must produce the electricity. See

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/energy.html

and

http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html.

Harold Lindaberry

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Jan 23, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/23/99
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Bloody Viking wrote:

> Harold Lindaberry <har...@epix.net> wrote:
>
> :> BTW, I agree that uranium is a better energy
> :> source than petroleum.
>
> : Not for running cars, tractors, transportation equipment etc.
>
> Therein lies the problem. Coal breeder technology will not work well for
> transportation use.

The Germans in WW II did a pretty good job converting coal to a gasoline
substitute.

“ Nature limits what we can do, Science limits what we understand,
Theory what we can think, and Religion what we can hope “ Lindaberry 1998

Harold Lindaberry reply E - mail har...@epix.net
visit OXGORE website at http://www.epix.net/~harlind
RESEARCH GOES WHERE RESEARCH LEADS

> For better or worse, the fact that petrol is nearly

Bloody Viking

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
to
John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:

: Liquid hydrogen produced by using nuclear energy to split water will


: probably give cars of present performance. Of course, the transition
: will be expensive, but I'll bet there won't be any substantial change
: in the use of cars. See

That's the problem. The cost of retooling to use the LH2. Becuse it's such
a cold liquid, you need to swap out all the underground tanks, use
insulated tank trucks, and have thermos fuel tanks in the cars, etc.

The costs will cause poverty to increase as a result. Given the
pre-existing incivility in a booming economy now, imagine how incivility
will increase when most people are made poorer from the costs.

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Don Libby

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Jan 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/25/99
to
Bloody Viking wrote:
>
> John McCarthy <j...@Steam.Stanford.EDU> wrote:
>
> : Liquid hydrogen produced by using nuclear energy to split water will
> : probably give cars of present performance. Of course, the transition
> : will be expensive, but I'll bet there won't be any substantial change
> : in the use of cars. See
>
> That's the problem. The cost of retooling to use the LH2. Becuse it's such
> a cold liquid, you need to swap out all the underground tanks, use
> insulated tank trucks, and have thermos fuel tanks in the cars, etc.
>
> The costs will cause poverty to increase as a result. Given the
> pre-existing incivility in a booming economy now, imagine how incivility
> will increase when most people are made poorer from the costs.

Interesting hypothesis, however, I suppose it is also possible that the
rate of incivility will remain constant, although the issues over which
people are uncivil will change, for example, from the age-old conflict
between true believers and infidels, to the age-old conflict between
haves and have-nots.

But aside from any supposed changes in the magnitude or direction of
incivility rates, or lack thereof, you raise a good point about the
increase in costs imposing real harm by lowering living standards.
There is probably better evidence for more direct effects than
"incivility", such as higher morbidity and mortality rates among the
poor. Incidentally, this is one of the arguments advanced by the
pro-growth crowd: restraining economic growth may lower over-all
welfare, rather than raise over-all welfare, as the anti-growth crowd
might suggest.

Of course, for those whose welfare depends on genuine wilderness
experiences, it is doubtful that a weekend at Disneyland would be a
fungible substitute for a weekend in Yosemite Natl Park, as some
pro-growth advocates might suggest (though as time goes by, the two seem
to become closer substitutes as they both involve spending lots of time
waiting in long queues).

Yet for those whose welfare depends on having affordable food and
housing and productive employment, sacrificing wilderness for human
welfare might seem like a pretty good deal. For the most part it has
seemed that way at least since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years
ago.
This concern for wilderness preservation exhibited today by the rather
large privileged leisure class used to be the privilege of a rather
small aristocracy. For example, in jolly old England it once was a
capital offense to steal firewood from private hunting preserves.
That's progress for ya.

-dl
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Scott Nudds

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
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Harold (Harold.B...@removethis.usm.edu) wrote:
: Not sure what you mean. Capitalism creates the wealth of services and

: products which allows you to sit back and criticize it. It is the
: most humane method ever found for distributing societies resources.


N.Y. Times News Service

WASHINGTON - Poor children in the United States are poorer than the
children in most other Western industrialized nations, as young
Americans suffer the brunt of several trends toward greater economic
inequality, a new study shows.

Only in Israel and Ireland are poor children worse off than poor
American youths, according to the study, an analysis of 18 nations by
the Luxembourg Income Study, a nonprofit group based in Walferdange,
Luxembourg.

The results are the most comprehensive of several recent analyses, and
are particularly striking because the United States has the second
highest level of economic output per person of the countries examined,
after Luxembourg itself, and has the most prosperous affluent children
of any of the 18 nations.

It may not be surprising that childhood poverty is worse in the United
States than in Scandinavia, where governments have racked up huge
national debts while trying to maintain elaborate social safety nets.

But the United States also ranks below countries like Italy, which has a
considerably smaller economy per person and has less generous social
policies than many northern European nations.

The United States appears to have sunk through the rankings over the
last 30 years, although no conclusive data is available now, said
Timothy M. Smeeding, one of the study's authors and director of the
Luxembourg Income Study. The American lead in overall prosperity has
dwindled since the 1960s, income inequality has risen briskly in the
United States and child poverty spread here in the 1970s and 1980s,
although it may have leveled off in the early part of this decade.

Child poverty has also risen in Britain and Israel, while showing
relatively little change in Continental Europe, according to the latest
study.

Some conservative economists have questioned the validity of studies
that attempt to 1;0ccompare levels of income and distribution of wealth
among nations with somewhat different economic systems and societies.
There is general acceptance within the field, however, of the idea that
the United States has proportionately more of its children in poverty
than other affluent countries. The debate revolves instead about what to
do about it.

The results of the Luxembourg Income Study report, which is based on
1;0ccensus survey data from the various countries, are consistent with
less
statistically detailed work by other social scientists.

The study comes as Congress is deciding whether to limit federal
spending on various welfare programs. Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, the
majority leader, tried to push welfare legislation through the Senate
last week, but ended up postponing action until after Labor Day
following strong resistance from Democrats and from conservatives within
his party.

During a press conference on Thursday, President Clinton expressed
strong concern about stagnant incomes, particularly for less-affluent
Americans.

``We've got to grow the economy and raise incomes,'' he said. ``That's
why I want to raise the minimum wage, that's why I want to give every
unemployed worker or underemployed worker the right to two years of
education at the local community college, that's why I'm trying to have
a tax cut that's focused on child rearing and education: to raise
incomes.''


Smeeding said there appeared to be several reasons why the United States
had such extreme poverty among children.

The United States has the widest gap between rich and poor, he said. The
United States also has less generous social programs than the other 17
countries in the study, whi1;0cch are Australia, Canada, Israel, and 14
European countries: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and
Switzerland. The study did not in1;0cclude several Western European
nations
like Greece, Spain and Portugal that have very poor children but limited
data.

American households with children tend to be less affluent than the
average American household, a pattern that is not true in many other
countries.

This trend may reflect that American mothers are less likely than
European mothers to return to work quickly after childbirth, partly
because inexpensive, high-quality child care is more widely available in
Europe, said Lee Rainwater, the research director of the Luxembourg
Income Study and the 1;0cco-author with Smeeding of the latest report. The
Luxembourg group sent copies of the report to prominent social
researchers last week and will make it more broadly available in the
coming days.

Some conservative analysts question whether international comparisons of
prosperity should even be attempted. They point to the many differences
among nations' e1;0cconomies and societies.

There are more poor children in the United States than in many affluent
1;0ccountries, but that partly reflects the high number of poor immigrants
and unwed teen-age mothers here, said Douglas J. Besharov, a resident
scholar at the American Economic Institute, a conservative research
group here.

``Is there more poverty in a big, diverse country like ours than in
Western Europe?'' he asked. ``The answer is yes.''

He and other conservative economists argue that the price the other
countries pay for avoiding extremes of childhood poverty may be slower
economic growth, which, they assert, leads to lower living standards for
all. A large chunk of European social assistance to young families takes
the form of generous unemployment benefits that have eroded incentives
for people to work, Besharov said.

The Luxembourg Income Study is financed by the National Science
Foundation in Washington and similar agencies from 18 other governments.
Its staff has been working for the last decade to develop ways to make
reliable international comparisons. The group is a repository for
1;0ccomputerized data on income distribution from 25 countries around the
world, which it makes available for free to social researchers.

In addition to his work with the study, Smeeding is an economics
professor at Syracuse University and one of the nation's leading experts
on income calculations. While he personally favors expanded so1;0ccial
spending in the United States, he is generally regarded in the field as
an undogmatic thinker. Rainwater is a professor emeritus of so1;0cciology
at
Harvard University and the author of many books on poverty.

Their study is critical of Republican efforts to cut American social
spending now.

The study compares incomes of poor and affluent households with
1;0cchildren. The figures include not only after-tax wages and other
personal income but also cash benefits from the government, like food
stamps and the tax credit on earned income for low-income working
parents with children. The calculations take into account differences
among countries in the size of families and in the cost of living.

The figures do not include free government services, like the free
medical and child-care services available in many European countries.

Sheila B. Kamerman, a professor of social policy and planning at
Columbia University, said that for this reason, the latest analysis may
have underestimated the extent to which poor American children lag in
income. ``If you were looking at in-kind benefits as well as cash
benefits, the situation in the U.S. would look even worse,'' she said.

Kamerman and Alfred J. Kahn, another Columbia University social policy
professor, published a lengthy study two weeks ago reviewing social
programs in Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and the
United States and found that American poor 1;0cchildren re1;0cceived the
least
help.

Poor children in Denmark do particularly well in comparison to poor
American children. Vita Pruzan, the director of the children, youth and
family research division at the National Institute of Social Research in
Copenhagen, said in a telephone interview that in reducing child
poverty, the Danish government had found it particularly effective to
provide free obstetric and nursing services.

Denmark also makes a particular effort to help single mothers who do not
receive child support payments from the fathers of their children. ``If
the father is absent and doesn't pay, the state will pay what he is
supposed to pay,'' Pruzan said. ``The state tries to collect the money
from the father, but that is not her problem.''

Poor children in Italy are also better off than poor American children,
even though the median income in Italy is considerably less than in the
United States. Free child care for some poor children and a low-cost
health care system have helped, said Patrizia Ghedini, the head of the
family issues department of the regional government for the area of
northern Italy around Bologna.

But in Italy, the gap separating rich and poor is also smaller than in
the United States. According to the Luxembourg Income Study report, a
poor household with children near the bottom of the income scale in
Italy earned $12,552 in 1991, while an affluent household with children
near the top of the scale earned about $44,280. For the United States,
the comparable figures that year were $10,923 and $65,536.


David Stephens

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Jan 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/26/99
to
Scott Nudds wrote:
>
> N.Y. Times News Service
>
> WASHINGTON - Poor children in the United States are poorer than the
> children in most other Western industrialized nations,.......

Snip the article where US children became proportionally poorer that
just happens to correspond to the US welfare system becomming
proportionally bigger. By the way, Sudds posted it at least twice.

A lot of the child poverty can be blamed on single parent households due
to liberal divorce laws and unwed pregnatcies. Still more can be blamed
on immigration and the associated adjustments immigrants must make to
secure a reasonable living. Other factors that differentiate the US from
the smaller countries compared are: size, economic opportunity, and
culture. Parental responsibility is easy to avoid when one is relativly
free to leave it behind and travel thousands of miles to other
opportunities. Do you suggest that the US adopt more "conservative,
family values" oriented divorce laws and tighter restrictions on
immigration? How about forced birth control?
David S.

Bloody Viking

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Jan 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM1/27/99
to
Don Libby <spa...@mail.execpc.com> wrote:

: But aside from any supposed changes in the magnitude or direction of


: incivility rates, or lack thereof, you raise a good point about the
: increase in costs imposing real harm by lowering living standards.

Exactly. Think of Y2K as an example of an economic retooling job. This
switch would be "the Y2K of the energy world". Y2K benefits coders like a
switch to LH2 would benefit some, but in both cases, the costs end up
draining money from consumers with no real material benefit except the
same level of productivity. Economic retoolings are in this way like the
economic costs of disasters. It's effort "wasted" instead of productively
used.

: There is probably better evidence for more direct effects than


: "incivility", such as higher morbidity and mortality rates among the
: poor. Incidentally, this is one of the arguments advanced by the
: pro-growth crowd: restraining economic growth may lower over-all
: welfare, rather than raise over-all welfare, as the anti-growth crowd
: might suggest.

Yes, and that will occur as poorer people divert resources to pay the
costs of conversion. If a person has to pay the equivalent of $10/gal for
fuelling his commuting vehicle, that's money diverted from, say high
quality foods to using low quality foods. For example, a poor person
switching from name-brand foods to generic foods will have money to divert
for commuting, but generic foods both taste worse and have poor nutrition
value.

Quality of life suffers, which may raise suicide rates too.

: Of course, for those whose welfare depends on genuine wilderness


: experiences, it is doubtful that a weekend at Disneyland would be a
: fungible substitute for a weekend in Yosemite Natl Park, as some
: pro-growth advocates might suggest (though as time goes by, the two seem
: to become closer substitutes as they both involve spending lots of time
: waiting in long queues).

That brings up psychological quality of life. Becuse of money problems
(due to my own stupidity, I admit) my quality of social life, already poor
in the first place, dropped. (I can't be social outside of work without
getting drunk.)

: Yet for those whose welfare depends on having affordable food and


: housing and productive employment, sacrificing wilderness for human
: welfare might seem like a pretty good deal. For the most part it has
: seemed that way at least since the dawn of agriculture 10,000 years
: ago.

Yep, the loggers v. tree huggers debate. This issue is one Jay Hanson is
good at pontificating about. I'll pass him the microphone...

: This concern for wilderness preservation exhibited today by the rather


: large privileged leisure class used to be the privilege of a rather
: small aristocracy. For example, in jolly old England it once was a
: capital offense to steal firewood from private hunting preserves.
: That's progress for ya.

And Indonesia has pretty much returned to that state of affairs. The poor
there are doing a smashing job of trashing the islands. It boils down to
the fact that a small, wealthy population onboard the planet is best! If
population was small, say one billion worldwide but lived well-off, there
would be little incentive for people to trash everything to survive
another day. Conversely, when population is large and poor, like when
resources (like oil) runs out, that's when accellerating environmental
trashing ensues like Indonesia. This is what makes civilisations fall,
like Easter Island.

What Jay Hanson has wrong is that it CAN be prevented. The solution is
contraception. You prevent the growth of population in the first place!

As of now, we should probably write off China as a basket case and let
them fend for themselves. Indonesia is a goner. When huge famines hit
China, there won't be enough food on the planet to feed them anyways.
Cold-hearted? Yes, I admit. :( But it's like a lifeboat. You let a
shitload drown to save some, or you let them try to climb in and everyone
drowns. It's a crappy choice.

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Scott Nudds

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Feb 1, 1999, 3:00:00 AM2/1/99
to
: Scott Nudds wrote:
: >
: > N.Y. Times News Service

: >
: > WASHINGTON - Poor children in the United States are poorer than the
: > children in most other Western industrialized nations,.......

David Stephens (cd...@flash.net) wrote:
: Snip the article where US children became proportionally poorer that


: just happens to correspond to the US welfare system becomming
: proportionally bigger.

David Stephens is lying of course. Nothing of the kind was snipped from
the article.

What is more, he should be well aware that the growth of poverty in the
U.S. - particularly child poverty took place as the welfare system became
proportionally smaller over the last two decades.

WHat we see is a conservative fool - Stephens - not presenting truth,
but presenting what he would like to believe - as truth.

I perfer honesty.

Stephens wrote:
: A lot of the child poverty can be blamed on single parent households due


: to liberal divorce laws and unwed pregnatcies.

Apparently Stephens believes it is better for the child if parents who
hate each other are forced to stay together.

Thinking individuals know better.

The question that comes to my mind is why divorce rates are so high in
the first place. THe answere here is obvious. It's because the very
rabid self interest - greed is a gift from God - philosoophy conservatives
have been promoting have given parents permission to do what is in their
own perceived self interest - abandonment of the family.

But this is not the major force that has damaged the American family.
THe major force is the workplace that has made it a practical necessity
for both parents to work - and often the children as well. Where both
parents work, there is no time for parenting.

And which party has been pushing ever greater corporatism, and the
subversion of individual rights in favour of corporate interests? Why
the conservative party of Stephens of course.


Stephens wrote:
: Still more can be blamed


: on immigration and the associated adjustments immigrants must make to
: secure a reasonable living.

To rabid conservatives - those stinky immigrants are always the problem.


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