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Old 2013-01-10, 23:45   Link #25701
willx
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Age: 30
@Gundamfan - Lulz, my point was simply: "Things will change based on the national consensus" -- It happened with abortion, slavery and women's rights. People will collectively ultimately decide what it is that they want. If they want guns they get guns. If they want butter, they get butter. That's right, guns & butter! [econ hattip!] People just need to stay informed. Period!

I'm also not American, I'm Canadian, and our government is pretty internationalist in many aspects of our lives and we tend to be okay with that here.

That said, here's some "News (kind of)!"

Navy spy Delisle's ex-wife recalls 'good guy' gone wrong

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/...th-estate.html

Totally forgot about this story myself. Espionage! In .. Canada! Reminds me of the poor Canadian Admiral from Goldeye..
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Old 2013-01-10, 23:55   Link #25702
Anh_Minh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugetsu View Post
Utter garbage is lack of logic you are putting into your post. How can an essential resource for life, such a food be lacking in an environment where the market is not involved? If you don't eat you die, that's all the incentive you'll ever need.
What, so you want all of us to subsistence farmers? That's your ideal society?
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:03   Link #25703
Ithekro
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Farmers that don't make money, tend to have too much of one crop. that crop's price drops to next to nothing due to over supply and then the farmer can't afford to buy other things needed for the following season (he has food...at least until the crop goes bad, or the harvest becomes impossible).

After that you start not having farmers anymore. As they cannot survive as farmers (we they can survive in terms of being able to feed themselves (usually), but eventually the supply and demand scale tip the other way, and you have no farmers to keep up with demand....and you get real food shortages, or extremes in prices.

Society wants stable prices for foods as much as possible. Thus not only if farming subsidized, but also imports and exports attempt to make sure most produce is avaliable in at least some quanity all year round at the same prices.
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:13   Link #25704
kyp275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugetsu View Post
Utter garbage is lack of logic you are putting into your post.
You know what they say about people resorting to name-calling...

Quote:
How can an essential resource for life, such a food be lacking in an environment where the market is not involved? If you don't eat you die, that's all the incentive you'll ever need.
Yes, the cavemen never lacked for food, or any ancient civilizations with little trade, everyone back then totally had all the food they could possibly want.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What, so you want all of us to subsistence farmers? That's your ideal society?
Obviously, didn't you know that the ideal world is where everyone is farming for their own food?
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:22   Link #25705
MeoTwister5
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The problem here is that food is (or at least should be) a basic right as a necessity of life. What we're seeing here is that the supply will get controlled by very few individuals. It's not just the farms but agritech as well. In third world countries this is increasingly apparent, especially in uncontrolled free trade where product dumping is becoming a problem. Here in the Philippines it's becoming excessively cheap to buy imported rice due to lifting of trade restrictions, slowly killing the local industry. We're one of the worlds biggest rice importers, and we're primarily a rice agriculture nation. That's just stupid.

We seriously can't allow the food supply to be dictated by the supplier. There is so much demand, nay need, of food for starving populations across the globe.
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:24   Link #25706
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GundamFan0083 View Post
You are correct Sugetsu that we could feed our populations just fine, if we could get the government to better support small farmers and get the monopolies out of the business of food entirely.

Also, I can vouch for the megacorp food industries (Specifically ConAgra) trying to corner water rights out here in Colorado. They have lobbied the state government to shut off water to private farmers.

Although, Monsanto is the biggest threat right now.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/news.cfm
I'm not going to comment one way or the other regarding specific megacorps, but I will say that people perhaps romanticize small farmers a bit too much. There is nothing inherently "better" about small scale farmers as compared to large scale ones. And if large scale farmers can produce more food, at good quality and more efficiently. Just as cars, pots and every other good in our lives can be produced at higher quality and more efficiently in an mass production industrial environment, the same goes for food.

The industrialization of food production brings efficiencies to food production just as Enclosure did centuries ago. A small scale farmer can't afford to make only a profit of 20,000k off his farm, but if that same plot was part of a larger industrialized farm, much lower margins can be sustained, due to lower labor requirements and economies of scale.

If you want to pay for this antiquated form of agriculture, pay for it with your wallet. Me, I'll take whatever is cheapest and of sufficient quality, regardless of who produces it.

Likewise, GMOs could also revolutionize agriculture, as we would be able to more precisely engineer better crops, rather then rely on the hit and miss method of plant breeding (Genetic modification and breeding are basically doing the same thing, the former simply has greater possibilities).
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:37   Link #25707
Anh_Minh
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I don't really care about farmer size, but I do care about us having fields right here where we need them. And people who know how to tend them.
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:38   Link #25708
MeoTwister5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
I'm not going to comment one way or the other regarding specific megacorps, but I will say that people perhaps romanticize small farmers a bit too much. There is nothing inherently "better" about small scale farmers as compared to large scale ones. And if large scale farmers can produce more food, at good quality and more efficiently. Just as cars, pots and every other good in our lives can be produced at higher quality and more efficiently in an mass production industrial environment, the same goes for food.

The industrialization of food production brings efficiencies to food production just as Enclosure did centuries ago. A small scale farmer can't afford to make only a profit of 20,000k off his farm, but if that same plot was part of a larger industrialized farm, much lower margins can be sustained, due to lower labor requirements and economies of scale.

If you want to pay for this antiquated form of agriculture, pay for it with your wallet. Me, I'll take whatever is cheapest and of sufficient quality, regardless of who produces it.

Likewise, GMOs could also revolutionize agriculture, as we would be able to more precisely engineer better crops, rather then rely on the hit and miss method of plant breeding (Genetic modification and breeding are basically doing the same thing, the former simply has greater possibilities).
It's not a problem of efficiency, but more of control. Even small scale farmers such as native farming in third world countries can benefit from improvement in agritech, even the smaller low tech ones. It's these types of farming that sustains the more distant and/or rural areas of third world countries, such as in my country.

You can call it subsistence farming, it most likely is, but there are still places living in such abject poverty that subsistence farming is what keeps them alive. Modernization can be either a bane or a boon depending who is in control and how much. Once again, if the supplier dictates the prices at ridiculous levels because of their control over the industry, then what? The industrialist can easily screw over the lowly farmer.

Not to mention the unfairly bad rep that GMO agriculture is getting from many sectors.
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:47   Link #25709
kyp275
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
The problem here is that food is (or at least should be) a basic right as a necessity of life.
Well, it's a necessity of life, whether that is a basic right on the same level of freedom of speech and other basic human rights... well, I suppose that depends on your political views.

I certainly can't recall any human civilization where food is considered to be a right and provided free for all.

Quote:
What we're seeing here is that the supply will get controlled by very few individuals. It's not just the farms but agritech as well. In third world countries this is increasingly apparent, especially in uncontrolled free trade where product dumping is becoming a problem. Here in the Philippines it's becoming excessively cheap to buy imported rice due to lifting of trade restrictions, slowly killing the local industry. We're one of the worlds biggest rice importers, and we're primarily a rice agriculture nation. That's just stupid.
Er, in third world country the problems are completely different, one is larger companies growing larger, the other is people taking all the supply and distribute them only to those they want to.

As for the Philippines, maybe you guys need to boost the efficiency of your local farms?

Quote:
We seriously can't allow the food supply to be dictated by the supplier. There is so much demand, nay need, of food for starving populations across the globe.
Except those starving population are starving not because of any conspiracy by food suppliers, they are starving because the people in charge there are too busy killing and blowing each other up.
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Old 2013-01-11, 00:53   Link #25710
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
I don't really care about farmer size, but I do care about us having fields right here where we need them. And people who know how to tend them.
Local production will always have the benefit of lower transportation costs, So I don't see Europe's fields suddenly all going fallow if we "opened up". And our food quality is also some of the best in the world, which also counts for a lot.

Otherwise, I actually think we could do with reducing the amount of agriculture in Europe, we have precious little wilderness, it would be nice to turn over more land to nature. more efficient farming means we can do that without jeopardizing our food supply, which is something I think a lot of people lose sight of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
It's not a problem of efficiency, but more of control. Even small scale farmers such as native farming in third world countries can benefit from improvement in agritech, even the smaller low tech ones. It's these types of farming that sustains the more distant and/or rural areas of third world countries, such as in my country.

You can call it subsistence farming, it most likely is, but there are still places living in such abject poverty that subsistence farming is what keeps them alive. Modernization can be either a bane or a boon depending who is in control and how much. Once again, if the supplier dictates the prices at ridiculous levels because of their control over the industry, then what? The industrialist can easily screw over the lowly farmer.
It's a legitimate concern, but these subsistence farmers do have the choice to not use the industrialists products. Of course, many such farmers are fooled into buying products that give them few benefits. In this case I think it's more a problem of education. In such regions provision of more agricultural education is necessary, which I'm sure most farmers would leap to take advantage of if they had the opportunity.
Quote:
Not to mention the unfairly bad rep that GMO agriculture is getting from many sectors.
I can definitely agree on that. We get a lot of trendy movies and books talking about the evils of modern agriculture, but almost none talking about it's many benefits. I find it a bit disappointing. The companies themselves don't help matters, as what they put out amounts to "propaganda".

It is true that biotechnology is concentrated in the hands of too few mega-corporations, and that has potentially monopolistic consequences, but getting into panic attacks about the terrors of genetic modification isn't going to help matters.

If we want to counter "bad" GMOs, what we need is more research into "good" GMOs. Instead, by shutting down GM entirely, we just end out ceding the field to the megacorps, making matters worse. That, or we cut ourselves off from a potentially revolutionary opportunity for technological improvement(if we do as the EU did and ban GMOs entirely).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyp275 View Post
Except those starving population are starving not because of any conspiracy by food suppliers, they are starving because the people in charge there are too busy killing and blowing each other up.
Yes. There are very few people who we can genuinely help. If a country is busy destroying itself, we can't do much short of sending in troops, and we all know how that can turn out.
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Old 2013-01-11, 01:05   Link #25711
MeoTwister5
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Well one of the primary issues in the slow decay of local agriculture is poverty of course. People in the rural areas migrate to the congested cities looking for better opportunities when farming no longer puts, ironically, food on the table. They're being driven out by cheaper competition from, well, either cheaper imports or cheaper large-scale agriculture.

My point being is that efficient and high tech farming is not just in the realm of Megacorp. Local small scale farming can and will work as long as enough effort and favor is put into it. Centers like the International Rice Research Institute here in the Philippines proves it can work for everyone.
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Old 2013-01-11, 01:18   Link #25712
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeoTwister5 View Post
Well one of the primary issues in the slow decay of local agriculture is poverty of course. People in the rural areas migrate to the congested cities looking for better opportunities when farming no longer puts, ironically, food on the table. They're being driven out by cheaper competition from, well, either cheaper imports or cheaper large-scale agriculture.

My point being is that efficient and high tech farming is not just in the realm of Megacorp. Local small scale farming can and will work as long as enough effort and favor is put into it. Centers like the International Rice Research Institute here in the Philippines proves it can work for everyone.
If they can compete, then all power to them. That said, something like 14% of the Philippine's economy is in agriculture, compared to industrialized nations being around 2%. If the Philippine's is to modernize it's agriculture, less labor will be needed, and so they'll have to move into new realms of employment.
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Old 2013-01-11, 01:18   Link #25713
Ithekro
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There has also been worries of buying food products from what people consider "enemies". Poisoning of foodstuffs usually is considered. (The various news articles about Chinese foodstuffs being cheap due to added inorganic compounds that in the wrong amounts are poisonous or generally unhealthy...seems to happen alot in the pet food industry).
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Old 2013-01-11, 01:23   Link #25714
MeoTwister5
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Originally Posted by Ithekro View Post
There has also been worries of buying food products from what people consider "enemies". Poisoning of foodstuffs usually is considered. (The various news articles about Chinese foodstuffs being cheap due to added inorganic compounds that in the wrong amounts are poisonous or generally unhealthy...seems to happen alot in the pet food industry).
I'm sure you guys are well aware of the whole Chinese Melamine Scandal that became as a result of poor regulation and corruption. Of course I'm pretty sure they weren't meant to "poison China's enemies", but this is what happens when the bottom line means more than human life.
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Old 2013-01-11, 02:50   Link #25715
Sugetsu
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
What, so you want all of us to subsistence farmers? That's your ideal society?
Why do you always jump to conclusions?

You can have food be treated as health care or any other means in which food production is payed for by taxes. This doesn't have to be the only way. What matters is that the profit incentive stops being the #1 driver of food production. I would declare food an universal human right that can't be denied regardless of economic status.

As things stand now food is nothing more than a commodity to the industry, it is not valued enough and it is wasted.
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Old 2013-01-11, 03:06   Link #25716
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugetsu View Post
Why do you always jump to conclusions?

You can have food be treated as health care or any other means in which food production is payed for by taxes. This doesn't have to be the only way. What matters is that the profit incentive stops being the #1 driver of food production. I would declare food an universal human right that can't be denied regardless of economic status.

As things stand now food is nothing more than a commodity to the industry, it is not valued enough and it is wasted.
Well, you can stop people from jumping to conclusions when you propse an alternative instead of just criticising it.

Then what would be a replacement driver of food production? Some religion? Government quotas or risk having an extra tax?
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Old 2013-01-11, 03:29   Link #25717
DonQuigleone
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Individuals have to be in charge of their own survival. If you do not take the steps necessary to support yourself, then why should everyone else have to pay for your laziness? Likewise, you do not have a basic right to other basic needs like shelter. If you do not have shelter the government doesn't owe you a house.

Now, for the events out of your control, there's disaster relief/ insurance and welfare. I don't see why more is necessary.

And besides, under the current capitalist mode of agricultural production, we have seen greater gains in food production, and greater reductions in hunger, then in every era before it.

In fact, in the last century, among the capitalist nations there were no major instances of mass deaths due to famine or hunger. In fact, all the major instances of famine took place in centrally planned countries.

Fundamentally, the system is good. Everyone works independently with pricing as a coordinating tool.
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Old 2013-01-11, 04:49   Link #25718
Solace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaintessHeart View Post
Well, you can stop people from jumping to conclusions when you propse an alternative instead of just criticising it.

Then what would be a replacement driver of food production? Some religion? Government quotas or risk having an extra tax?
We can start with transparency. It's very difficult to find out what happens behind the scenes in a lot of cases. For example, the Food, Inc., movie crew had a very difficult time even finding people who were willing to talk about the industry. Without transparency it's hard to regulate, which is bad.

Second, with that transparency we need reform. There is no need to pump animals with antibiotics constantly from farm to grinder. It's one of the reasons antibiotics are becoming less effective. There needs to be less use of artificial ingredients, as well as a large reduction in sodium and corn syrup.

Third, better public education of the food system. The whole thing: from seed to store. People should know exactly how the system works. It's frightening how many people do not understand or value the things that keep them fed. For something so basic, people should know a lot more than they do. I'd say this about a lot of things - the more people know about how things work, the better off we all are.

Fourth, we need to put more emphasis on efficiency. Use new technologies to help reduce waste in the entire chain. Put more emphasis on local/regional growers. There's no need to be importing a crop from another area of the country/world if it can be grown closer.

These are just a few ideas. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, just improve it. Most importantly, the decision making process in the system can't be so tilted toward big companies and lobbies. A situation like Monsanto should never exist.

I don't like the money system much, but there isn't any replacement for it yet. Until then, there's a lot of room for improvement with the already existing system, and we should work with that until something better comes along.
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Old 2013-01-11, 05:43   Link #25719
SaintessHeart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solace View Post
We can start with transparency. It's very difficult to find out what happens behind the scenes in a lot of cases. For example, the Food, Inc., movie crew had a very difficult time even finding people who were willing to talk about the industry. Without transparency it's hard to regulate, which is bad.

Second, with that transparency we need reform. There is no need to pump animals with antibiotics constantly from farm to grinder. It's one of the reasons antibiotics are becoming less effective. There needs to be less use of artificial ingredients, as well as a large reduction in sodium and corn syrup.

Third, better public education of the food system. The whole thing: from seed to store. People should know exactly how the system works. It's frightening how many people do not understand or value the things that keep them fed. For something so basic, people should know a lot more than they do. I'd say this about a lot of things - the more people know about how things work, the better off we all are.

Fourth, we need to put more emphasis on efficiency. Use new technologies to help reduce waste in the entire chain. Put more emphasis on local/regional growers. There's no need to be importing a crop from another area of the country/world if it can be grown closer.

These are just a few ideas. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, just improve it. Most importantly, the decision making process in the system can't be so tilted toward big companies and lobbies. A situation like Monsanto should never exist.

I don't like the money system much, but there isn't any replacement for it yet. Until then, there's a lot of room for improvement with the already existing system, and we should work with that until something better comes along.
Quote for that line. Absolutely.
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Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2013-01-11, 06:31   Link #25720
synaesthetic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Individuals have to be in charge of their own survival. If you do not take the steps necessary to support yourself, then why should everyone else have to pay for your laziness? Likewise, you do not have a basic right to other basic needs like shelter. If you do not have shelter the government doesn't owe you a house.
Laziness is the key word here.

What if you aren't lazy? What if you're willing and able to work, but can't, because nobody will hire you?

Do you simply die?

Air, food, water, shelter should all be basic human rights. Deny any of those and you are effectively killing someone. I always wondered why we protect "basic human rights" like free speech, freedom of religion and such... but we don't protect freedom of staying alive.
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