Malthus revisited

Thomas Malthus ( 1766-1835 ) argued that population growth was increasing faster than the means of providing food. Improved agriculture and means of providing food have proved that his argument was not correct.
However Akio Shibata of the Marubeni Research Institute in Japan suggests that Japan faces a potential food crisis that could lead to austere food patterns in the future. As countries become more afluent, the number of people working the land grows less, and the population requires adequate food. Millions of people are leaving their villages in China and India lured by the hope of a better life. As happened in Britan in the Victorian period. This stretches the urban provisions, houses, water, fuel, sewage, power to new limits.
The USA which is a net exporter of wheat is experiencing substantial population growth and hence is using more of its home grown grain. Less being available for Japan and other food importing countries. The answer in part is self sufficiency, in all countries. In 1965 Japan was almost able to supply all its requirements of vegetabls, meat, fish and fruit, now lit is less than 50 %.
London Times June 6th 2006, p 53

Martin Eastwood
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