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Solved by verified expert:Critical Review — You can prepare one critical review of published literature during the semester. The purpose of the review is to give you experience in reading, evaluating, and incorporating technical literature into your knowledge base. Although you must prepare a summary of the material read, emphasis must be placed on your evaluation of the literature: 1. How the information aligns with what you already know. 2. How the new information impacts your outlook. 3. The significance of the information to your knowledge base. Also include in the review why you selected the particular article. Identify the article reviewed using a consistent citation format. Your review should be 2-3 pages of 12-pt double-spaced text with 1″-margins. You must submit a hardcopy of the review by the due date indicated below. As this assignment gives you an opportunity to generate some extra credit, late submissions will not be accepted. Due Date: Thursday, April 19, 2018 at the beginning of class. Late submissions or email attachments will not be accepted. You may turn your review in anytime before the due date. Also, to help those students who do not know what is expected in the paper I have attached a copy of the paper that was turned in along with the grade. If anyone turns in the same Critical Review as the attached sample, they will get ZERO points for the assignment. Plagiarism under any circumstances is not permitted. If you are still having troubles come by my office or Dr. J’s office and we will help you.
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Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center
Global Food Supplies Are Not Becoming Scarcer
Bjorn Lomborg
Source Database: Opposing Viewpoints: Global Resources
Table of Contents: Further Readings | Source Citation
Bjorn Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political
Sciences at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. In the following viewpoint, Lomborg
asserts that despite enormous population growth, farmers are feeding a higher
percentage of people worldwide than ever before. According to Lomborg, the Green
Revolution–during which scientists developed fertilizers and pesticides, high-yield crops,
and better irrigation methods–enabled farmers to produce more food more cheaply.
Inhabitants in both the developed and developing world have benefited as food
production has tripled, calorie intake per capita increased, and the number of starving
people fallen.
As you read, consider the following questions:



Describe Malthus’s theory of population growth, as related by the author.
According to Lomborg, how much has meat per person increased since 1950?
How have Norwegian farmers increased the productivity of salmon, as explained
by the author?
“The battle to feed humanity is over. In the course of the 1970s the world will experience
starvation of tragic proportions–hundreds of millions of people will starve to death.” This
was the introduction to one of the most influential books on hunger. Paul Ehrlich’s The
Population Bomb published in 1968. More than 3 million copies of the book have been
sold.
Doomsayers Proved Wrong
Ehrlich runs down what he calls the “professional optimists”: “They say, for instance, that
India in the next eight years can increase its agricultural output to feed some 120 million
more people than they cannot after all feed today. To put such fantasy into perspective
one need consider only …”, and Ehrlich presented a whole list of reasons why this could
not be achieved. And sure enough, it turned out that the figure of 120 million did not hold
water. Eight years later India produced enough food for 144 million more people. And
since the population had grown by ‘only’ 104 million, this meant there was more food to
go round.
From the same quarter Lester Brown, who later became president of the Worldwatch
Institute, wrote in 1965 that “the food problem emerging in the less-developing regions
may be one of the most nearly insoluble problems facing man over the next few
decades.”
They were both mistaken. Although there are now twice as many of us as there were in
1961, each of us has more to eat, in both developed and developing countries. Fewer
people are starving. Food is far cheaper these days and food-wise the world is quite
simply a better place for far more people.
Malthus and Everlasting Hunger
It seems so obvious, though, that there being more people on the Earth should mean less
food for each individual. This simple theory was formulated in 1798 by Reverend
Thomas Malthus, an English economist and demographer. The argument was made
remarkably popular in the 1970s by the best-seller Limits to Growth.
Malthus’ theory was that the population grows by a certain percentage a year–i.e.
exponentially. The Earth’s population currently stands to double in about 40 years. So in
80 years’ time there will be four times as many of us and in 120 years eight times as
many, etc. Food production grows more slowly–its growth is linear. It may double within
40 years but in 80 years it will only be three times the present level, and in 120 years only
four times. The population will grow ever more rapidly while the growth in food supplies
will remain constant. So in the long term, food production will lose its race against the
population. Many people will starve and die.
Malthus’ theory is so simple and attractive that many reputable scientists have fallen for
it. But the evidence does not seem to support the theory. The population rarely grows
exponentially. Likewise, the quantity of food seldom grows linearly. In actual fact the
world’s agricultural production has more than doubled since 1961, and in developing
countries it has more than tripled. This means that there has been a steady growth in the
amount of food available for each member of the population. According to the UN we
produce 23 percent more food per capita than we did in 1961, and the growth in
agricultural crops per person in developing countries has grown by as much as 52
percent. Equivalently, meat per person has grown by 122 percent from 17.2 kg in 1950 to
38.4 kg in 2000. In spite of this dramatic increase in demand the price of food fell by
more than two-thirds from 1957 to early 2001.
More Food than Ever
Basically, we now have far more food per person than we used to, even though the
population has doubled since 1961. It can be seen from Figure 1 that our calorie intake
has increased by 24 percent on a global basis, and that developing countries have
experienced a dramatic increase of 38 percent.
The calorie figure is, nonetheless, an average. It is not unthinkable that the figure
conceals the fact that some people live better lives while increasing numbers of others
just manage or even starve. But here, as elsewhere, things are improving.
According to the UN’s definition, a person is starving if he or she does not get sufficient
food to perform light physical activity. Figure 2 shows the percentage of people starving
in developing countries. Globally, the proportion of people starving has fallen from 35
percent to 18 percent and is expected to fall further to 12 percent in 2010. This should be
compared to an estimated 45 percent of developing country people starving in 1949.
The proportion of children in the developing world considered to be undernourished has
fallen from 40 percent to 30 percent over the past 15 years, and it is expected to fall
further to 24 percent in 2020. Since 1970, the proportion of starving people has fallen in
all regions, and it is set to fall even further for almost all regions.
It is remarkable that the fall in the proportion of people starving in the world should have
come at the same time as the population of developing countries doubled. What is more
astounding is that the actual number of people starving in the Third World has fallen.
While in 1971 almost 920 million people were starving, the total fell to below 792
million in 1997. In 2010 it is expected to fall to 680 million. These figures are, of course,
still frighteningly high, but it is important to emphasize that today more than 2 billion
more people are not starving.
The improvement in absolute figures has, however, primarily been in Asia and is largely
a consequence of China’s amazing ability to produce food.
Lower Prices than Ever
At the same time as the Earth accommodates ever more people, who are making demands
for ever more food, food prices have fallen dramatically. In 2000 food cost less than a
third of its price in 1957. This fall in food prices has been vital for many people in the
developing world, especially the many poverty-stricken city dwellers.
The fall in the price of food is a genuine long-term tendency. The price of wheat has had
a downwards trend ever since 1800, and wheat is now more than ten times cheaper than
the price charged throughout the previous 500 years. The fall in prices was particularly
marked in the post-war period and applied to more or less all major types of food. The
only break in the fall in prices was in the 1970s, when the oil crisis led to heavy price
increases in the short term. The increase in the price of oil meant that artificial fertilizers
became more expensive and that the Soviet Union, a major oil exporter, was able to buy
cereals for its domestic meat production.
Since prices reflect the scarcity of a product, foodstuffs have actually become less scarce
during this century despite the fact that the population has more than tripled and demand
increased by even more.
The Green Revolution
One cannot help asking oneself how development can possibly have been so good. The
answer is to be found in a number of technologies which are collectively known as The
Green Revolution.
The Revolution consisted primarily of




High-yield crops
Irrigation and controlled water supply
Fertilizers and pesticides
Farmers’ management skills.
The secret of the Green Revolution was to get more food out of each and every hectare of
soil. The vision was that of Norman Borlaug, who later received the Nobel Peace Prize
for his work on high-yield varieties of crops. In his laboratories in Mexico attention was
focused in particular on the major types of cereals: rice, corn and wheat. Characteristic of
these modern varieties is that they germinate earlier in the year, grow faster and are more
resistant to disease and drought. They often have shorter stems than the old varieties so
that most of the plants’ sustenance ends up in the grains.
The fact that the plants germinate earlier and grow more quickly means that in many
parts of the world it is possible to harvest two or three crops a year. Rice no longer takes
150 days to mature and many varieties can do so in as little as 90 days. At the same time,
it is possible to cultivate crops in large areas where climate conditions are less favorable.
For example, modern corn can be grown in an 800 km wider belt around the Earth, which
has been a boon to countries like Canada, Russia, China and Argentina. Wheat has
become resistant to most diseases, such as mildew and rust, which means a lot in
developing countries where farmers often cannot afford pesticides. The new varieties of
wheat now account for almost 90 percent of production in developing countries.
Since 1960, the new varieties have led to a 30 percent plus increase in maximum yields
and are responsible for 20-50 percent of the total, increased productivity. For farmers in
the developing world this also means more money–new varieties are estimated to give
farmers an additional income of almost four billion dollars each year.
In fact it is not only varieties of grain that have been improved. Chickens and pigs
produce more than twice as much meat as they did 60 years ago and cows produce twice
the amount of milk. With genetic enhancement and modern fish farming, the Norwegian
salmon has since the early 1970s also become twice as productive.
Irrigation and water control (e.g. building dams) have become more widespread, the
proportion of irrigated fields having almost doubled from 10.5 percent in 1961 to over 18
percent in 1997. Irrigation renders the soil far more fertile–it has enabled the Egyptians
to get almost twice the wheat yield of the average developing country. Irrigation also
makes it possible to harvest two or three times a year. This is why irrigated land
contributes as much as 40 percent of the Earth’s food–even though it only accounts for 18
percent of the total agricultural land mass. The growth in the use of irrigation has been
constant in absolute hectares but is, therefore, slightly declining relatively, partly because
of an incipient water scarcity in many regions and partly because of a general fall-off in
the demand for food.
Finally, the increased use of fertilizers and pesticides has made it possible to improve
plant growth and not lose such a large proportion of crops to disease and insects. Almost
a third of the Asian rice harvest was eaten by insects in 1960! The use of fertilizer has
increased almost nine-fold since 1950 and although there has been a slight reduction in
global consumption because of the Soviet Union’s agricultural reforms and later collapse,
important countries like China and India still use more fertilizers.
The Green Revolution represents a milestone in the history of mankind. The ensuing
fantastic increase in food production has made it possible to feed far more people.
Overall, the Green Revolution has meant a tremendous increase in production per hectare
as regards all traditional crops. From Figure 3 it can be seen how the developing
countries have experienced an increase in productivity as regards the three most
important crops: rice, wheat and corn. Rice production has increased by 122 percent, corn
by 159 percent and wheat by a whopping 229 percent. And they still have quite a way to
go before they reach the same levels as the industrialized world.
One sometimes hears that the use of pesticides and intensive farming methods are
harmful to the environment. But what alternative do we have, with more than 6 billion
people on Earth? If we abandoned intensive cultivation and the use of pesticides, farmers
would either need far more space to grow the same quantities or end up producing far
less food. So they would either have to take over more of the surrounding countryside or
we would end up with more hungry souls among us….
Finally, the new “designer” varieties of crops offer greater resistance to disease, thereby
reducing pesticide consumption, while at the same time having improved uptake of
nutrients, thus reducing the overapplication of fertilizer….
We Can Feed the World
“The battle to feed mankind is over.” The food problem in the developing world
represents a “nearly insoluble problem.” We have been told for ages that it will end in
disaster. That we can’t feed the world. But the doomsday vision has nothing to do with
reality. On practically every count, humankind is now better nourished. The Green
Revolution has been victorious. Production in the developing countries has tripled. The
calorie intake per capita has here increased by 38 percent. The proportion of starving
people has fallen from 35 percent to 18 percent and today more than 2 billion more
people do not go hungry.
FURTHER READINGS
Books


















Jonathan H. Adler. Environmentalism at the Crossroads. Rockville, MD:
Government Institutes, 1997.
Peter Asmus. Reaping the Wind: How Mechanical Wizards, Visionaries, and
Profiteers Helped Shape Our Energy Future . Washington, DC: Island Press,
2000.
Ronald Bailey, ed. Earth Report 2000: Revisiting the True State of the Planet.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Michael J. Balick, Elaine Elisabetsky, and Sarah A. Laird, eds. Medicinal
Resources of the Tropical Forest: Biodiversity and Its Importance to Human
Health. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
Paul Ballonoff. Energy: Ending the Never-Ending Crisis. Washington, DC: Cato
Institute, 1997.
Walton Beacham and Kirk H. Beetz, eds. Beacham’s Guide to International
Endangered Species. Osprey, FL: Beacham Publishing, 1998.
Lester Brown. Vital Signs. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002.
Paul Brown. Energy and Resources: Living for the Future. Danbury, CT: Franklin
Watts, 1998.
Michel Chossudovsky. The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World
Bank Reforms. New York: Zed Books, 1999.
Michael J. Daley. Nuclear Power: Promise or Peril? Minneapolis, MN: Lerner
Publications, 1997.
Kenneth S. Deffeyes. Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Alan Thein Durning, Christopher D. Crowther, and Ellen W. Chu. Misplaced
Blame: The Real Roots of Population Growth. Seattle, WA: Northwest
Environment Watch, 1997.
Lloyd T. Evans. Feeding the Ten Billion: Plants and Population Growth. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Thomas L. Friedman. The Lexus and the Olive Tree. New York: Anchor Books,
2000.
Martha Honey. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?
Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999.
J. Robert Hunter. Simple Things Won’t Save the Earth. Austin: University of
Texas Press, 1997.
Joshua Karliner. The Corporate Planet: Ecology and Politics in the Age of
Globalization. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1997.
David S. Landes. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Nations Are So
Rich and Some So Poor. New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.















Frances Moore Lappe, Joseph Collins, and Peter Rosset. World Hunger: Twelve
Myths. New York: Grove Press, 1998.
James Larminie and Andrew Dick. Fuel Cells Explained. Etobicoke, Ontario:
John Wiley and Sons, 2000.
Bjom Lomborg. The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the
World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith, eds. The Case Against the Global Economy.
San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996.
Tomas Markvart, ed. Solar Electricity. Etobicoke, Ontario: John Wiley and Sons,
2000.
Robert C. Morris. The Environmental Case for Nuclear Power: Economic,
Medical, and Political . St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2000.
Robert A. Ristinen and Jack I. Kraushaar. Energy and the Environment.
Etobicoke, Ontario: John Wiley and Sons, 1998.
Clifford J. Sherry. Endangered Species: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara,
CA: ABC-CLIO, 1998.
Vandana Shiva. Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply.
Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999.
Robert Snedden. Energy Alternatives. Westport, CT: Heinemann Library, 2001.
George Soros. The Crisis of Global Capitalism. New York: PublicAffairs, 1998.
Thomas. T. Struhsaker. Ecology of an African Rain Forest: Logging in Kibale
and the Conflict Between Conservation and Exploitation . Gainesville: University
Press of Florida, 1997.
United Nations. The World at Six Billion. New York: United Nations Population
Division, 1999.
Adam S. Weinbert, David N. Pellow, and Allan Schnailberg. Urban Recycling
and the Search for Sustainable Development. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 2000.
Worldwatch Institute. State of the World 2000. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.
Periodicals









John Bacher. “Petrotyranny,” Earth Island Journal , Spring 2002.
Peter Bunyard. “Eradicating the Amazon Rainforest Will Wreak Havoc on the
Climate, Ecologist, March/April 1999.
Charles H. Cannon. “Tree Species Diversity in Commercially Logged Bornean
Rainforest,” Science, August 28, 1998.
Thomas J. Donohue. “World Hunger,” Vital Speeches, December 1, 1999.
Jefferson G. Edgens. “The Myth of Farmland Loss,” Forum for Applied Research
and Public Policy, Fall 1999.
Wayne Ellwood. “Mired in Crude,” New Internationalist, June 2001.
High Iltis. “Extinction Is Forever,” Resurgence, November/December 1997.
Richard A. Kerr. “USGS Optimistic on World Oil Prospects,” Science , July 14,
2000.
George McGovern. “The Real Cost of Hunger,” UN Chronicle,
September/November 2001.






Patrick Moore. “Brazil of the North,” www.greenspirit.com.
Per Pinstrup-Anderson. “Feeding the World in the New Millennium: Issues for
the New U.S. Administration,” Environment, July 2001.
James Riggle. “Farmland Everywhere,” CEI Update, January 1998.
Peter Rosset, Joseph Collins, and Frances Moore Lappe. “Lessons from the Green
Revolution,” Tikkun , March 2000.
James Srodes. “No Oil Painting,” Spectator , August 29, 1998.
Bob Wildfong. “Saving Seeds,” Alternatives Journal, Winter 1999.
Source Citation: “Global Food Supplies Are Not Becoming Scarcer” by Bjorn Lomborg.
Global Resources . Helen Cothran, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven
Press, 2003. Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State
of the World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Copyright © 1998 by Bjorn
Lomborg. Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
Reproduced in Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale
Group. 2004http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/OVRC
(c) 2004 by Thomson Gale.
Thomson Gale is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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