Yes, quite severely. But good news never made a magazine sell.
In several instances it is factually wrong, stating highly debatable fringe opinions as fact or using Michael Moore type correlation-equals-causation fallacies.
Worldwide food production is greater than what humans can eat. Nobody is hungry because of a lack of food. Hunger is purely an economic/political problem. Not a biological/engineering one. IOW the cause and solution are contained solely within the human mind, not within the real world.
Global food production will exceed population growth and human demand for the foreseeable future
World population is growing at ~1.2 percent per annum while food production is growing at ~2.3 percent.
We are not running out of food. Quite the opposite. We are running at a massive food surplus and that food surplus gets bigger every tear and will do for the next 30 years at least.
I admit I was puzzled when someone in the article claimed that “productivity growth is only one to two percent a year” when the UNFAOs best figures say it is 2.3%. As far as I can tell from Google he was basing that 1-2% figure entirely on two years: 2007-2008. IOW he ignored the figures based on the past 40 years, used a figure base on the past 2 years and then projected that 30 years into the future. Do you need me to explain why he can’t get sensible answer doing that?
The article’s statement that “High prices are the ultimate signal that demand is outstripping supply, that there is simply not enough food to go around” is simply factually incorrect. Supply is outstripping demand. There is enough food to go around, more than enough. High prices are a sign of short term fluctuations in a market with significant futures trading and where supply takes 12 months to respond to demand. It obviously isn’t a signal that demand is outstripping supply because it is indisputable fact that supply is outstripping demand.
Similarly the article refers to “flattening yield growth” as though yield growth should or needs to continue indefinitely. Not only is that impossible, it’s pointless. The world s producing more food than people can eat and far more than people can afford to pay for. Of course yield growth is going to decline. The market is saturated. It should hardly be surprising that nobody is putting effort into producing yet more of a product that nobody wants or can afford. There are endless numbers of ways in which yeild could be increased immediately at minimal expense using current technology. But nobody will incur that expense while the world is overproducing food. If food production drops for more than 12 months then yield increases will respond instantly. It’s got nothing to do with lmitionsin the physical world. It’s entirely a matter of economic and political inertia.
Oh, and to judge the magnitude of this decline in yeild look at figure 3.5.1 here Can’t see any decline in growth? That’s because it is so tiny that it is undetacatble on trendline showing decades. The graph looks like it continues to increase. The decline is so small that there are a significant minority of statisticians who say that there is no measurable decline. Everyine agrees that it is trivial ATM though it may become significant if it continues.
I could go on picking holes in this article paragraph by paragraph but it’s not worth it. The whole thing is base don long-discredited Malthusian extrapolations that boil down to “more people means less food” with no reference to the real world.
Is this article overstating the case? Hell yeah.