Please make a case for farmland preservation

Where did you get that crazy idea from Elvis? Nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of food available per capita is in fact increasing, not decreasing. No only is arable land productivity keeping pace with population growth it is outstripping it by a wide margin.
“So far, world agriculture has been able to respond to the rising demand for crop and livestock products. Although the world’s population doubled between 1960 and 2000 and levels of nutrition improved markedly, the prices of rice, wheat and maize - the world’s major food staples - fell by around 60 percent. The fall in prices indicates that, globally, supplies not only kept pace with demand, but even outstripped it.

World agriculture:towards 2015, UNFAO
Elvis since your entire argument is built on this completely erroneous belief that food production isn’t keeping pace with population growth the entire argument appears to have been refuted with that one quote.

Again, that assertion isn’t borne out by the facts. Although there will be temporary regional decreases in income due to wars and other turmoil everwhere in the world is getting wealthier and nowhere is getting poorer. Real statistics on poverty are freely available from the World Bank ( ). In particular read the section titled “Global and regional poverty trends”. As you will see there devloping nations are all experiencing real increases in GDP per capita. The only region that experienced a decline from the 80s was eastern Europe due to civil wars and the turmoil of communist collapse, and even it has turned aorund in this century and is currently also getting wealthier.

The World Bank also has freely available data on a huge range of othe rpossible indictors of welth. None of them suggest that much of the world is not getting wealthier. Where did you get that idea from Elvis?

Bu that’s a total strawman Elvis. US grain production is increasing far more rapidly than population increase.

That’s a very broad brush you are painting with there. Some crops grow better with fewer inputs on good soil. That in itslef is a complete tuatology since ‘good soil’ is defined by the ability to grow crops without inputs. However topsoil loss is not the massive problem that you are making it out to be. Irrigation and synthetic fertilisers can cope with the problem in all but the most extraordinary cases.

I live in eastern Washington, and I’d be glad to see the farmland go. Mainly for reasons like this:

Spokane was near the top of the list of cities with the worst air in the U.S. several years ago. It’s improved in the past few years, but the dust from farming is a big contributor to our dirty air.

Etc. Okay, I used the present tense instead of the indefinite, and that was sloppy. Now, do you really believe productivity can increase indefinitely without limit? Can the food supply keep up with population growth without limit? Or do we get to the point where population can’t increase anymore because the food and other resources aren’t and can’t be there to support it? That’s the Malthusian argument - you can delay disaster, but you’ll get it if you don’t take preventive measures. And, if you reduce your own ability to keep up, it will come sooner.

So far. I’m glad you find that comforting.

Look at the internal contradiction in that very statement. There are wars, and there is other turmoil, and there are regional decreases - as I said. But you go on to say that “everywhere” is getting wealthier, while deriding *me * for craziness and nonfactuality? Even if you didn’t, are “wars and other turmoil” going to cease globally any time soon? No, increasing scarcity of resources, including land, can only exacerbate the tensions that cause them.

You miss the heart of that argument, and topsoil removal could have been removed entirely from it. You can’t grow *anything at all * on land that has a house on it. It isn’t the quality of the soil underneath that removes the land from production, it’s the house. The topsoil statement rebuts the idea that the change could be reversible even in theory.

Well since human population won’t increase indefinitely without limit that’s a complete red herring.

Which is why your Mathusian argument can be so readily refuted. We will never get to the point where population can’t increase anymore because the food and other resources aren’t and can’t be there to support it. Human population will peak within the next century at around 10 billion. There is every reason to believe that agricultural productivity will continue to increase faster than population growth for that entire period.

The trouble is Elvis that all the evidence says that human population will peak within a century at less than double what it is now, while the evidence also says that agricultural productivity will continue to outstrip it for that entire time. You have no reason to believe that there will ever be any shortage of agricultural land.

Enough of the strawmen Elvis. I never said it was comforting.

I derided you for that just as I would deride you for craziness and nonfactuality if you claimed that life expectancies were not rising everywhere in the US. Elvis such claims are inherently statistical. There is no other possible factual basis for such claims. Because they are statistical there will be variations over short time frames in limited areas. That’s part of normal variance.

Just because one town in Ohio experienced a decrease in life expectancy in 1997 does not allow a rational conclusion that parts of the USA are not increasing in lifespan. Such temporary localised anomalies are not justification for such cliams. The phenomenon was only temporary and has since reversed.

In exactly the same way the temporary fall in income in Bosnia in 1995 doesn’t suport a claim that Bosnia isn’t getting richer. It was temporary deviation that has since turned around.

Elvis if all that you mean by your claim that ‘not all regions are getting richer’ is that ‘some regions are experiencing temporary recessions at ths exact moment in time’ then you are pedantically correct. However the observation is totally trivial. It certainly goes no way at all towards refuting ** js_africanus**’ point that as the world gets wealthier fertility will decline. Fertility has to be measured in generational timeframes. Over a generational timeframe all of the world is getting wealthier. js_africanus’ point stands.

That’s a provable logical fallcy known as a fallacy of composition. Wars don’t need to cease globally to get a global increase in wealth any more than age needs to increase for every individual to get a global increase in lifespan.

Europe experienced a massive war and comcommitant decrease in wealth two generations ago and has since become far more wealthy. In precisely the same way these other regions wil recover from their wars. So long as wars eventaully cease in any given location they can quite readily flare up elsewhere without causing a decrease in wealth in any region.

I didn’t miss the heart of the argument at all. I am poinitng out that one of the assertions that you have used to construct that argument is incorrect. Whether the argument itself is correct on that point is something that js_africanus can continue with if he cares to.

The true heart of the argument is that that land is essential to feeding humanity. Since we’ve established that the most logical conclusion based on facts is that the land is unnecessary for that purpose it matters little whether it can or can’t grow food. There’s no compelling need for it to grow food and there never will be.

By js_africanus : *"Originally Posted by John Carter of Mars:
‘As for your OP, I don’t really care.’

You don’t care that I’d like to hear the case for farmland preservation well made? That’s pretty rude of you."*

In case you aren’t simply trying to be cute with the above remark, I’ll clarify: I don’t care if farmland preservation programs are undertaken or not.