|May 20th, 2008 by Robert | Word Count: 1191 | Reading Time 4:52||1,204 views|
Since the Industrial Revolution, our world’s society has focused on being more efficient. Produce more products to serve larger quantities of people at a lower cost per part. We need to lower the cost of manufacturing to increase the profit margin per item. We need to create high volumes of goods to compensate for the skyrocketing global population. How do we achieve this? Let’s take a look at farming. Everyone needs to eat right? So theoretically, we would need lots and lots of farmers to compensate for the increased growth of people in our world. Wrong. Since the revolution, our farming community has been steadily declining to a point where they are only a small fraction of our total workforce. How can this be, don’t we need more farmers to produce our food supplies?
That in itself is the basic argument for today’s article. Our past generations were in more physically intense jobs because there was no other way to produce a product. If you were a farmer, you worked hard to grow your crop or handle your herd. If you were a laborer, you worked hard because there were no power tools to make things easier. People worked HARD in past generations. They were using physical power to accomplish their tasks. Also, what they were physically creating was used in their communities or local areas. They were serving the needs of their neighbors, their families, and their friends. People depended upon one another to complete their tasks to keep the community alive and prospering. Everyone was inherently tied together for the common good of survival.
Then, the Industrial Revolution came. A transition began which helped people accomplish their tasks easier. But with this arrival, what has it cost us? Our farming community has dropped to about 2 million workers as of this year (only a little over half earn hourly wages). Think about that, our country has surpassed 300 million people and we have 2 million farmers. Past data shows that as late as 1930’s about 25 percent of America’s population worked in agriculture. We are a far cry from that. How can we possibly feed our country let alone export food to the 6 billion plus other people in the world? As stated before, don’t we need more farmers to farm the land to feed more people? No. The onslaught of technology and advancements in machinery has greatly increased the productivity of our farming community. One farmer can now serve many more people than he could without the advancements. But, that’s not the only thing that came along to “help” the farmer.
Technology in farming, what exactly can we do to help farming with technology? Go online yourself and do a bit of research about how the chemical companies are involved in farming. Find out how the genetic research firms are interested in food. Many companies are deeply involved in agriculture by the way of producing genetically altered food sources, hormone therapy for animals, and lab created food sources for our animals and our society to eat. Well, that’s all fine and good since the FDA has approved all the sources of food that enter our stores right? I disagree. Human existence has been around for thousands of years and only until the latest 100 years or so have we seen such an influx of “man-created” food sources. Due to our needs of higher production and more mouths to feed, we have relied upon the use of technology to increase our food sources. We need more milk, let’s find a way to make a cow produce what 3 cows could do. We need more meat, let’s design a food source that packs on the weight on each cow. We need more crops, let’s design a hybrid crop that produces more products per square foot than normal. You get the idea. We alter the equation to produce more at the source.
This answers the question why we don’t need more farmers to support our growing population. We are changing the equation of production. We don’t need to farm more land, we don’t need more people to run the machinery, and we don’t need more grazing ground to support more animals. Scientists have gone the other direction. We need less land to produce more products. We need less people to run machinery. We need less grazing ground because the food is altered to be more powerful. We have used our technology to completely alter the farming community and basically made the farmer an extinct ideal. Isn’t that a good thing? Now we have more people in the workforce doing other valuable things with their skills. I’m sure farmers like having better tools and products available to them to make their lives easier. Sure, both answers are true. But again, what is this costing us?
Data shows that our life expectancy has increased greatly over the last few generations. People don’t have to beat their bodies up doing physical work and sometimes very dangerous work. We have medicine available that helps stop major illnesses and helps limit the affects of many sicknesses. We have an abundance of food so malnutrition in our country is very low. I would say the Industrial Revolution then of course helped our society even if the farming community has been decimated right? Not completely. I’m a bit skeptical, it’s my nature. Yes, people are living longer than previous generations, but has quality of life increased? Your version of quality may be different than mine. Quality is not about living longer in terms of years or having more money or having more stuff to call your own. Quality to me is living a life of value, doing what serves your purpose, loving your family, supporting your community, and living your years on earth in good health. Living longer with 20 years of deteriorated health is not quality living.
What are the affects of this scientifically altered food sources? Do we know? No. A scientist or study cannot do a study with 100% accuracy, it’s impossible. Our world’s people survived for thousands of years on unaltered sources of food. We have less than 100 years of data for our “new” food sources. Step back, take a look around you. What percentage of people that you know is in great physical shape? How often are those around you sick? How many people do you know who have either battled cancer or are battling cancer? How do you feel every day? Do you FEEL physically healthy? I’m not writing an article stating that our altered food is the source for causing cancer, but I do think there are multiple issues that tie together that increase your odds of getting sick. We are the first generations of humans living off genetically altered food. We are the first generations that are living off lab created products within our food. We are the study group for future generations. Think about that and when you are at the store buying food, think of all the man-made preservatives and genetically altered sources that are in the food you buy and eat. Is the food we eat part of our health problem?