Totalitarian Agriculture Essay, Research Paper
The idea of Totalitarian Agriculture is scary. Especially considering the fact that it is the exact type of agriculture that is being used in every civilization except for the remaining tribal peoples of the world. I will try to define Totalitarian Agriculture here:
“According to an ethics, followed by every sort of creature within the community of life, sharks as well as sheep, killer bees as well as butterflies, you may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete, but you may not wage war. This ethics is violated at every point by practitioners of totalitarian agriculture” (Story of B 260). I will refer to the users of Totalitarian Agriculture as OUR culture because we all practice the same type of lifestyle concerning agriculture. In this paper, I will present the arguments against Totalitarian Agriculture, and also discuss its potential impact in the earth in years to come.
Origins of Totalitarian Agriculture Human beings appeared on this earth hundreds of thousands of years ago and eventually formed into tribes. They lived the life of hunter-gatherers and flourished at it, although not to our standards of population explosion, but they prospered nonetheless. The population of humans steadily grew at a very calm rate, “On the average, our population was doubling every nineteen thousand years. That’s slow—glacially slow” (The Story of B 288). Then something happened. In the region of land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in what is now ancient Mesopotamia, and agricultural revolution was started bringing the practice of Totalitarian Agriculture. The human population started to grow at an exponential rate. This is the beginning of our culture, 10,000 years ago.
Why totalitarian agriculture? You got me. It is really hard to knock Totalitarian Agriculture since it is the foundation of our culture and the sustenance of our lives. If Totalitarian Agriculture were to disappear tomorrow, then our culture would be obliterated by starvation. This is not so for the remaining tribal peoples of the world. They are fully well capable of surviving on their own just the same as humans have been since there were humans. Thinking about this further made me think about the reasons for adopting this practice. Our culture practices working to grow and produce food, locking it up, and then forcing people to pay to get it. before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, humans had been living successfully as hunter-gatherers for a hundred thousand years, so asked myself what was the reason for this sudden mind change to the practice of Totalitarian Agriculture? One answer is due to the vast amounts of food surpluses that are created with totalitarian agriculture. This is part of the answer to the next reason for totalitarian agriculture, which is power and expansion. The founders of totalitarian agriculture thought that their way to live was the one right way for all humans to live. These vast surpluses of food enabled this culture to expand into surrounding territories near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and use force to take the land from tribal peoples. So now, the first generations of our culture putting food under lock and key, could expand their territories and use the newly acquired land for, guess what? More farming and agricultural growth! Amazing how that works isn´t it? Put food under lock and key, use surpluses to support expansion into surrounding territories, and convert it into farmland to increase your culture even further. This culture was expanded so much so that it became the culture that each of us participated in today. All of this equals growth at an exponential rate. Why not totalitarian agriculture?
Totalitarian agriculture is against the laws of nature. Surely it is not within the laws of nature to hunt down your competitors and destroy them as well as their access to food. The natural order of things in nature when it comes to food competition is exactly that: compete, but do not wage war. The very nature of totalitarian agriculture is to have productivity to the max, which then produces food surpluses to the max. Somehow we got the idea that all of the food on earth is for us. The purpose of totalitarian agriculture is to turn all of the food of the world into human food. Then there is a little something that I think should be considered. Something called cultural collapse. When I fist heard of the idea that we are headed toward a cultural collapse, I had no idea that it was going to be because of our cultures agricultural practices. But nothing could be farther from the truth. With the start of the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago, the human population started to grow at an exponential rate. Here´s a table of our ascent into the modern population:
Time Period10,000-5000 b.c.5000-3000b.c.3000-1400b.c.
No. of Humans10million50 million100 million
No. of Humans200 million400 million800 million
No. of Humans1.5 billion3 billion6 billion
(The story of B. 261-274).
As you can see, our population´s doubling time is getting shorter and shorter. within the next forty years or so, there will be 12 billion people on this planet. At this rate of growth, we are in for a total cultural collapse due to OVERPOPULATION! (and we thought nuclear was going to kill us). Our planet will simply not hold that many people. Our problem is this: there are people starving around the world as well as at home in our country. The idea is to send them surplus food so they can survive. In turn that makes us produce more and more food because god forbid that we run out of surplus food. Well what happens when more food is introduced into an already overpopulated area like several areas in Africa? The population grows! In “The Story of B,” Charles Atterly is asked a question at one of his lectures:
Q: Wasn´t agriculture developed as a response to famine?
A: Agriculture is useless as a response to famine. You can no more respond to famine by planting a crop that you can respond to falling out of an airplane by knitting a parachute. But this really misses the point. To say that agriculture was developed as a response to famine is like saying that cigarette smoking was developed as a response to lung cancer. Agriculture doesn´t cure famine, it promotes famine–it creates the conditions in which famines occur. Agriculture makes it possible for more people to live in an area than an area can support–and that’s exactly where famines occur. For example, agriculture made it possible for many populations of Africa to outstrip their homelands´ resources–and that’s why these population are now starving (The Story of B 257). That’s right, in an effort to help the starving, we are in fact making the population grow even larger. Then there’s going to be more people to feed due to the recent population explosion, what should we do now? Produce more food of course! This is a cycle that will lead this culture over the edge.
The idea of totalitarian agriculture was something that is very new to me. Upon learning what it was and the probable affects of it, I immediately wanted to learn more about it. This is something that everyone on this earth should know about because we are all a part of it. Our culture definitely has some changing to do before we can save the world. We need to save ourselves.