Thursday, September 06, 2007

Food for Thought

CONSIDER FOR A MOMENT the distribution of mankind throughout the world; some nations are crowded, while others have vast wilderness. Traditionally, farming is the primary occupation for most of humanity, and so we should expect a natural migration of peoples to countries where land is plentiful. Knowing where food is expected to abundant can help us understand immigration and trade, and especially where we may be headed in the future.

Suppose there is a misguided United Nations program to resettle all the world's population so as to equalize the amount of arable land per person in every country. This would be a horrible plan, but it is interesting to note how much populations would change. These are the nations that would have the greatest population increase, in millions:
United States 518
Russian Federation 432
Australia 204
Canada 180
Argentina 118
Ukraine 105
Brazil 85
Kazakhstan 85
Turkey 46
Sudan 39
Poland 26
France 25
Romania 22
South Africa 21
Spain 21
Belarus 16
Zambia 13
Hungary 11
Cameroon 11
The U.S. is at the top of the list, even though it has a relatively small proportion of land suitable for agriculture, less than a third. The U.S. apparently has room for growth and ought to remain a net exporter of agricultural produce. This is perhaps why American politicians of both major political parties care little about controlling immigration, legal or illegal, and also why a large percent of the immigrants are agricultural workers.

At the bottom of the list are the most crowded countries, along with their population loss, in millions:
China (660)
India (367)
Indonesia (130)
Japan (108)
Bangladesh (107)
Egypt (62)
Pakistan (61)
Philippines (58)
Viet Nam (54)
Korea, Rep (40)
Colombia (36)
United Kingdom (33)
Ethiopia (33)
Congo, Dem Rep (28)
Germany (28)
Tanzania (20)
Italy (20)
Malaysia (17)
Sri Lanka (17)
Many of the nationalities on this list have vast emigration worldwide, and numbers of these nations have been aggressively expansionist. I think it is plain what future trends may look like.

There is no need for a redistributional U.N. program, for famine is relatively rare, and it is political policy that causes or magnifies famine, such as warfare, forcing people off of the land, or restricting trade, and all these are due to the lack of charity. As always, our problems are of the spirit.

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