SOC349 – Reading – January 25
The Oil We Eat
Manning says that we consume so much of earth’s primary productivity (40%) that we have stolen the
food (predominantly the rich amongst us anyways). When we starve the ground from energy, we simply
move on to a location that is soil rich, until we deplete it and move on (in cases we tear down rain
forests to create farm land because the soil is rich)
The world has a limited stock of temperate grass lands (where Wheat and beef is) which are located in
the first world…the developed world, also home to Caucasians/Europeans.
Manning says that the green revolution was the worst thing that has happened; one thing it caused was
a population boom (because now there was a security of food)
SOC349 – Lecture – Jan 25
Farm Crisis – Farmers have a negative income, essentially they are losing money (because of debt due to
expensive equipment/pesticides/herbicide expenses) the reason why they are able to continue is
because famers are subsidized by the Canadian government and or farmers have an extra income (i.e. a
spouse has a different job that is able to support the family/farming endeavor).
Fact: 15% of $1 (15 cents/dollar) actually goes to farmers; the remaining larger percentage of revenue goes to the agro chemical
companies, manufacturers (i.e. buying the raw material), processing food, distribution, retailers and etc.
What has caused the change from income in the 1950s to no income in the 2000s?
Answer:The Green Revolution – (Coined in the 1960’s), began when there was an increase in agro-
research that produced greater yields, researchers realized that the new varieties of crop could yield
more crops with the aid of chemicals.
People thought that with more crop yield, hunger could be avoided – but, it’s not the case, since the
problem is not supply of food but who holds the distribution power of food.
Consequence of the Green Revolution:
Loss of traditional farming techniques
Mass farmer suicides (West influenced governments with agro-food, which in turn caused
pressure for local farmers to produce agro-food. Farmers in poorer countries used chemicals,
but the farmers went into debt, sometimes the crops failed and they struggled to make a living
and hence there were mass farmer suicides)
Free Trade & Economic Globalization
“WTO Kills Fam