Should nations produce their own food to insure food safety?
Yes, importing all/most of the food isn't smart
69% (29)
69% (29)
No, food is a product like any other
28.6% (12)
28.6% (12)
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Poll: Should nations produce their own food to insure food safety?

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thaluikhain:
If the US is considered the " developed world" the point has not been reached where people are not starving, and the poor cannot afford the rising food costs due to the way the system is designed.

I accept the general point. It did sound like I was saying that noone in the developed world ever has insufficient food, which I know is not true. My real point though, as you seem to acknowledge yourself, is that said lack of food does not stem from "shortages" (except in the most relative sense).

It is not that the US is not capable of meeting its food needs through trade (indeed, as shown in this thread the US is a net food exporter). It is because the wealth required to buy food does not circulate to the poorest people within the economy, and that is down to policy. For example, if the government suddenly got taken over by mad people who cut the entire welfare budget you bet people would starve in their millions, but that's not because there wouldn't be enough food to go around (indeed, as you point out yourself huge quantities of food would be wasted in such an eventuality).

Food prices are not rising at the moment because of massive global shortages (that day may come if climate change continues, but not yet) they are rising because of inflation. For example, I live within the European Union, which does take specific measures to protect food prices (through the common agricultural policy). Food prices here are rising rapidly too. It's not because there isn't enough food, it's because money is actually worth less. Everyone is poorer, because inflation is a politically "friendly" way of effectively taxing people without making right-wingers scream about "soshulizm".

My point remains that I'd much rather my money went to allowing a farmer somewhere to build up enough security that his family won't die next time there's a bad harvest than propping up a domestic farming industry and leaving that guy to scrape out a living on subsistence alone simply because it will ensure more stable food prices. We have the money here to deal with unstable food prices through appropriate policy.. that guy doesn't.

Seanchaidh:
Market forces favor war or theft when an actor (person, organization, whatever) within the market will be in a better position by thieving or warring. Will it be personally profitable or will it not? That is the only question the market cares about.

One actor gaining a profit is irrelevant to the profit overall market. Unless that one actor controls the entire market in some fashion. In a market economy, a billion dollar industry does not mean more than the trillion dollar industry. What's more, a true free market would not support the building of random crap that will sit in storage and take up valuable space (which is what happens with most weapons built).

Wars disrupt trade. To a market, trade is better than non-trade. That is why, back in the day, merchants grew their own states and threw their weight around to prevent war.

And the actions of the market are the sum of the decisions of those within it.

Exactly which is why the bigger markets (food producers with roughly 6% of world GDP) have a greater impact than smaller markets (defense industries with roughly 3% of world GDP).

When the potential target is within or is the whole of a less organized or not very powerful community (such as one which attempts to leave everything to the market) this is not a difficult state of affairs to accomplish. An organized defense does not appear out of thin air and there are various economies of scale when it comes to military preparation (high degrees of specialization, for example.) This is why the history of mankind is littered with examples of warfare and theft, and why weak states tend to see, instead of the theoretically massive economic growth of a free society, a rise in crime.

Any evidence or just conjecture?

Beyond that your point is irrelevant to my point.

Yeah, countries should produce some of their own food if they can, but it's not always realistic year round. For example, in Canada we'd have no trouble producing plenty of meat for consumption, but when you consider winter lasts the better part of six months of the year in a lot of places (and longer the farther north you go), it's not reasonable to expect us to be able to cultivate crops year round. And a lot of foods like fruit and vegetables are not going to keep for the entire winter. That's without really getting into limits on the amount of arable land as well.

And while other countries may not have the same sorts of problems we do, some of them will, or they'll have other problems they may not be able to get around.

And having to buy food from elsewhere in the world isn't really the worst thing that can happen. The world produces more food than we need to feed everyone as it is (the problem is transportation and making sure developing nations can actually afford food rather than being victimized by policies of other nations), and having open trade and some reliance on each other discourages two countries from trying to kill each other.

And one last note, there seem to be people suggesting if you get food from another country they hold some power over you, but the reality is that not only does that go both ways (refusing to sell you food means damaging their own economy), but most first world countries could easily go somewhere else and say "these guys are trying to extort us. You want our business? Because if not, there's a dozen other companies in various countries that will."

Danny Ocean:

Of course, neither of those things necessitate cutting off trade. You can switch suppliers, update your tech, and like you said just generally make plans. I'm sure they already have.

As a communist shouldn't you be all for borderless movement of goods?

Between communist states, yes. There's still the implementation of that to consider, as well as contingency plans for wars, natural disasters and so on. I support being prepared for trade being cut off, not cutting it off for the sake of doing so.

All nations should. If a state cannot feed itself or be able to trade some other service in exchange for food is a country in name only.

While famine and poverty was the norm throughout human history rather than the abundance and wealth of the last century, individuals should take time to have things like gardens and their own food supply that can last more than 2 weeks in case the government is unable to provide assistance.

What's more, a true free market would not support the building of random crap that will sit in storage and take up valuable space (which is what happens with most weapons built).

Yeah. That's why organized crime actually uses their weapons. There's that free market efficiency for you.

One actor gaining a profit is irrelevant to the profit overall market.

Yeah, the decisions of individuals just determine what actually happens. The free market isn't some intelligent being, it has no cares. Market forces don't always align with its health: such as those that cause it to be profitable to disrupt trade or force (what would otherwise be) wasteful expenditure on security. Without certain interventions into the market-- threats and deterrents-- theft or war are easy choices: there isn't any such thing as a free lunch, but there are plenty that others have paid for. Large organizations can dominate individuals and smaller organizations and force compliance. Mobsters can even be relatively civil about it, and demand only a portion of a person's produce in exchange for 'protection' (indeed, in such cases the mobster has then developed a small incentive to actually protect his extortion targets from abuse by others-- and the targets will likely attempt to side with one who actually does so if they have a choice.) The endgame is, of course, feudalism: poorer folk rationally put up with a certain amount of predatory behavior from the local 'lord' or 'noble', as long as there is some guarantee that he'll protect from others doing the same and the poor folk have enough left to survive. The Dark Ages of Europe lacked strong states or regulation. The result was a predatory warrior class dominating the subsistence farmers locally and warring with each other to gain more territory and tenants. These wars and threats of war caused alliances to be made and those alliances eventually became large enough to be large nation-states. Whether they were class conscious or not, the nobility were acting in their individual interest, and due to their poor situation to begin with, so were their underlings.

It has all been about the price of security-- its supply and demand. The development (or rediscovery) of politics as a way to solve problems, rather than just individual action and (often rather one-sided) negotiation, led to the relative empowerment of some people who weren't of the predatory warrior class and this, to make a long story short, resulted in democratic philosophies and eventual democratic revolutions.

Any evidence or just conjecture?

Mexico is a weak state which has had an increase in organized crime due to its weakness. Police presence has declined in many areas (leaving only the market's holy protection) and, in turn, private organizations have taken control of territory.

Somalia is dominated by militant groups. People tend to flee away from governments that collapse, not toward them.

Mob/mafia protection rackets tend to require state intervention to be satisfactorily dealt with. Violence happens, many times, because crime really can pay. Organized crime is composed of rational actors responding to market forces.

Seanchaidh:
Snip

Any particular reason why you refuse to quote me in a way that would let me know that you did so? Are you hoping that I will not see it and fail to respond? If so, why don't you try not addressing me?

Yeah. That's why organized crime actually uses their weapons. There's that free market efficiency for you.

Way to ignore the point.

Yeah, the decisions of individuals just determine what actually happens.

One guy determines what a market of millions does? Bullshit.

Without certain interventions into the market-- threats and deterrents-- theft or war are easy choices

Correct. Don't do it.

Governments like war. Markets don't.

Large organizations can dominate individuals and smaller organizations and force compliance.

You mean organizations like the government.

The Dark Ages of Europe lacked strong states or regulation.

Actually they had both. And in fact you admit this when-

The result was a predatory warrior class dominating the subsistence farmers locally and warring with each other to gain more territory and tenants.

Which is the result of a strong state that maintains a monopoly on force. And regulations existed in large numbers. The enforcement of which was left to local governments.

It has all been about the price of security-- its supply and demand. The development (or rediscovery) of politics as a way to solve problems, rather than just individual action and (often rather one-sided) negotiation, led to the relative empowerment of some people who weren't of the predatory warrior class and this, to make a long story short, resulted in democratic philosophies and eventual democratic revolutions.

Why exactly did the "warrior class" as you call it become so powerful? Simple, they built up the Princely State. A state different from our concept of a nation-state but still based upon rules and regulations. Democracy came when we abandoned those rules and opened the floor.

Mexico is a weak state which has had an increase in organized crime due to its weakness. Police presence has declined in many areas (leaving only the market's holy protection) and, in turn, private organizations have taken control of territory.

Actually the increase in organized crime is due to the overregulation of the racial hierarchy that caused many Mexicans to be dissatisfied to begin with.

Also, the Cartels are not capitalists. They are the same kinds of people who lead Mexico already. Mexico has several very strong states, divided over a large area.

Somalia is dominated by militant groups. People tend to flee away from governments that collapse, not toward them.

Government =/= State

The States that do exist in Somalia are very strong. They have a monopoly on force and they will kill anyone who denies it.

You do not seem to understand what a state is. Most democratic countries have a weaker state than totalitarian countries. Why? Because we have this thing known as human rights. Democracies tend to hold that above all else and as such limit the state's power. Totalitarian governments tend not to have such restraint. What you are referring to is government.

Organized crime is composed of rational actors responding to market forces.

No, it is irrational actors responding to state intervention in the market. Once again, basic phycology of war. Why do most apes not kill each other when fighting over "property"? Because there is no protection in the wild. Try reading up on these issues.

Any particular reason why you refuse to quote me in a way that would let me know that you did so? Are you hoping that I will not see it and fail to respond? If so, why don't you try not addressing me?

Quote button doesn't exist for people on one's ignore list. However, you give voice to some harmful misconceptions from time to time that should be corrected.

Actually they had both. And in fact you admit this when-

Nope.

I described what happened as a result of the statelessness: the natural formation of states. The fall of the Roman Empire meant the collapse of a large state and a form of anarchy that naturally progressed into the system of vassalage and the domination of peasants by a predatory warrior class-- all because of people rationally responding to the price of their own security or their ability to provide or disrupt the security of others.

No, it is irrational actors responding to state intervention in the market.

Irrational? Criminals have made fortunes. And organized crime exists without vice prohibition, it just doesn't have as many ways to make as much money. But there is still shaking down local businesses for 'protection' money, among other things.

Why do most apes not kill each other when fighting over "property"?

Because of their conditions and proclivities. Why does your political philosophy aspire to the typical conditions of an ape?

Why exactly did the "warrior class" as you call it become so powerful?

They (those that survived and prospered, anyway) acted rationally in response to market forces. They took advantage of their bargaining positions. They made use of human resources. They tacitly colluded with others of their class to keep the price of security high (or maybe that was just a natural result of their competition.) They limited entry into their class.

Basically,

they built up the Princely State.

And there was nothing to stop them, because the states that they were developing corresponded to the rational interests of the powerful market actors. The warrior class could get what they wanted more cheaply and easier by domination than by more straightforward trading. The market forces exerted upon them favored taking, not making, so that is what they did. They were gentler than typical small-time highwaymen and bandits and, being so, peasants found domination by the nobility to be preferable to the alternative. It is no coincidence that the origin of medieval property rights came from being able to defend a place, not simply to make use of it. The people with the better market position (the warrior class) defined property rights in a way that gave them an advantage, because power within a system can be translated into power to change that system. The market doesn't care where you got your power or what you do or threaten to do in order to keep it or make more. It doesn't care about its health or the lives of its participants. It doesn't have cares at all.

The more power any group has relative to others, the less it has an incentive to respect the rights of others. A situation in which there is no regulation and individuals must take care to assert their own rights-- the minimum of protection for the rights of any particular individual-- can be taken advantage of by any set of persons that decides to act as a group. Gangs are more dangerous than petty criminals. Gangs are what develop when there is no effective state: without an effective state to hound them, they don't have to resort to secrecy and stealth. Instead, they form a sort of state themselves and piss in the cheerios of anyone who wanted your political philosophy to actually work outside of the theoretical "everyone is a nice anarchist" scenario.

Seanchaidh:
Quote button doesn't exist for people on one's ignore list. However, you give voice to some harmful misconceptions from time to time that should be corrected.

So in other words you do not have the ability to debate me properly so you are switching to a passive aggressive method. Like I said to begin with.

Address me correctly or don't address me at all.

Nope.

Yup.

The fall of the Roman Empire meant the collapse of a large state and a form of anarchy that naturally progressed into the system of vassalage and the domination of peasants by a predatory warrior class-- all because of people rationally responding to the price of their own security or their ability to provide or disrupt the security of others.

No. That is not how it worked at all. You are completely and utterly wrong.

Feudalism existed in the Roman Empire in its earliest form. Feudalism developed because the Roman state decided to license out authority to others due to more urgent needs. Feudalism was an outgrowth of many Roman laws and practices. The first real law that promoted Feudalism was a law that declared Roman peasants effective serfs of the land holder. Sorry, you have failed Roman and Medieval History. Of course, the facts have never dissuaded you from your bias.

Irrational? Criminals have made fortunes.

So have gamblers in Vegas. That does not change the fact that the House has at least a 51% advantage in all games.

And there was nothing to stop them, because the states that they were developing corresponded to the rational interests of the powerful market actors.

No there was nothing to stop them because the "warrior class", as you call them, were the government. They were anti-market because a free market meant that merchants could grow in power and come to rival even kings and countries.

The more power any group has relative to others, the less it has an incentive to respect the rights of others.

That is why the government murders innocent people. Strange that you support that.

Of course, the facts have never dissuaded you from your bias.

Disagreeing with your tenuous assessment of Roman history is bias, yes of course. I don't agree that superficial similarities between patronage and feudalism[1] are the primary reason that feudalism developed-- such a failure.

So in other words you do not have the ability to debate me properly

Of course. There could be no other reason to generally avoid reading your posts, as not only are they quite educational and free of falsehoods and misunderstandings, they also are quite enjoyable to read. Very clear and precise prose, views of history that are totally not filled to the brim with ad hoc revisionism to avoid conclusions you don't like, and quite uncolored by your own bias.

The more power any group has relative to others, the less it has an incentive to respect the rights of others.

That is why the government murders innocent people. Strange that you support that.

The government is controlled by the people: every citizen has a voting share in it. That is why it behaves in a nicer way than private interests with nothing but other private interests to keep them in check. It is explicitly the servant of a group composed of, more or less, the entire society.

[1] They are both unequal relationships between people. It's like they're the same thing!

Seanchaidh:
Disagreeing with your tenuous assessment of Roman history is bias, yes of course. I don't agree that superficial similarities between patronage and feudalism are the primary reason that feudalism developed-- such a failure.

Patronage? Wow, you really do not know anything about the Roman economic system. Not surprising. Even though I already explained this to you I am not in the least bit surprised that you did not pay attention- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latifundium

Of course. There could be no other reason to generally avoid reading your posts

You avoid them so well that you are addressing one now. In fact you are reading a post from someone you claim to be avoiding right now. Strange how that works.

as not only are they quite educational and free of falsehoods and misunderstandings, they also are quite enjoyable to read. Very clear and precise prose, views of history that are totally not filled to the brim with ad hoc revisionism to avoid conclusions you don't like, and quite uncolored by your own bias.

Coming from you, those criticisms are irrelevant.

The government is controlled by the people: every citizen has a voting share in it. That is why it behaves in a nicer way than private interests with nothing but other private interests to keep them in check. It is explicitly the servant of a group composed of, more or less, the entire society.

Tell me about it-

Originally I wasn't going to respond to this thread because I thought the answer was so obvious but...apparently not.

Yes. A nation should try to be as internally self-sufficient as it can. If it's able to meet, approach, or even provide for a portion of its food requirements without bankrupting itself; it should. A nation that cannot provide for its own needs remains a nation so long as whomever it depends on allow it.

True, it may be expensive to create self-sustaining infrastructure; but it's certainly a worthwhile expense. Even if it's sub-standard; at the very least it's *yours* and you ultimately control any improvements in quality to come.

Aquaponics, Omega Farms, and Cultured Meat are what every society should have to ensure food sustainability.

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