Lest anyone has forgotten what the Green Revolution was, it was a program to substantially increase crop yields via
. New crop cultivars (often strains genetically modified to maximize yields)
And the results?
This is the first post in this thread to post real evidence in support of dieoff. The populations which will be worst hit will be the ones
which benefited most from the green revolution, namely India and
China (although China's brutal birth control policies in the
70s and 80s has delayed their demise). These are the very
countries which are industrialising fastest and trying to buy long
term supply contracts for oil and gas. Their leaders are not stupid.
The damage will be very patchy. It is further complicated by the
effects of global climate change (which are very real and going
to be very severe in many of the most densely populated parts of
the world within 30 years). Africa will be very hard hit
(if it wasn't already hit hard enough by the effects of Aids, brutal
civil/resource wars, past droughts, floods etc.) Even if the main
use of oil is kerosine for cooking, many people cannot live without it,
because they have already denuded their environment of trees,
their previous source of fuel, and destroyed their soil's
productivity through over grazing/fertilizer based farming/slash and
A further factor in your chances of survival is your country's
trade policy and relationship with WTO, etc. Basicly, if you are trying
to trade your way out of poverty by using your best land to grow luxury
food crops for the first world, then you are history. Your government
would most likely commit genocide against you (eg. Sudan , today)
rather than relinquish control of your land.
I suspect that a starving mass of humanity will behave like a plague of
locusts in their search for food, so when the monsoon patterns shift
and permanent drought hits, expect to see large areas denuded of
all higher animal are most plant life.
In the first world, when PO takes hold, and the world economy
collapses, people will not die in such dramitic fashion. Russia, in
the post communist years, went through a population decline. This
was not due entirely to emigration (clearly not a realistic option
PO - where would you go? If anywhere else was doing better they
wouldn't let you in). Many people drank themselves to death.
Many older people died of malnutrition/cold/heat/disease. The exact
cause in many cases is impossible to decide. The birth rate went
right down. When women cannot feed themselves well, their
furtility goes down, and their libido can disappear altogether. The
infant mortality rate shot up, due to poorer health care, malnutrition,
environmental polution, etc. Even the murder rate went up, but
that was a very small component.
That was the effect on a country going through 'economic
liberation'. For the effect on a totalitarian country with a centralised
economy see North Korea in the 1990's or China in the 1960's. That
was a lot worse.
This does not take into account world politics and nuclear weapons.
This is a real pandora's box which makes all prediction almost
impossible. It may be that the US will go down without a fight, but
with Bush and Co. in charge that looks very unlikely. If we do
get over that hurdle then I see India and China slugging it out over
the remaining oil and they could well resort to the bomb. When you
control a country of over billion people and hundreds of millions of
them face starvation, it will be very tempting to try a sneak attack
on your arch rival and risk a couple of dozen nukes coming back
on your major cities. At that point all bets are off.
So I do think global die-off will happen, maybe with a bang,
maybe with a wimper. The US is in for a bad time, Europe mostly
less so, Africa is a lost cause. World leaders could make the
transition less acute, but past performance implies they will make
if far worse than it has to be.