Agrimoney 09 (Agrimoney.com, agriculture news, “Food Shortages ‘may lead to war’ Financier says”, July 1st, 2009, accessed 7/3/11, AH)
Food shortages, prompted by loss of arable land and soaring demand, are to become so severe that they may spill over into widespread conflict in the 2020s, a respected investment manager has warned. Susan Payne, the chief executive of Emergent Asset Management, said that demand for food would be raised by growth of 80m a year in world population, compounded by the impact of increasing affluence on diets. China's consumption of meat, which requires more land to produce than arable crops, had quadrupled to 40 kilogrammes per person per year since the 1980s. However, arable land was coming under pressure from desertification and urbanisation. "We see somewhere around 2020 or beyond there will be genuine food shortages that could easily cause conflict globally," Ms Payne told a conference in London. Kondratieff cycles This analysis was supported by analysis of so-called Kondratieff cycles, which propose that events in capitalist economies recur over long-term waves, she added. Commodity price peaks had co-incided with conflicts in periods such as early 1970s, the time of the Vietnam War, and the 1940s, when World War II ended. However, the prospect of food shortages created opportunities for investment in agriculture, she said, singling out Africa as a particularly promising area for investment. Land prices were typically -800 a hectare in Africa, with Zambian farmland costing ,000 per hectare because of the country's especially plentiful water supply, compared with up to ,000 per hectare in Germany. Yet, properly managed, this land could achieve good yields and had a rich market for its produce on its doorstep. 'Africa's decade' Africa's population, half of which is aged under 18, will grow to nearly 2bn by 2050, overtaking that in India and China, she told the World Agri Invest Conference. "I think this is Africa's decade," said Ms Payne, who was named by Financial News as being among Europe's leading women in finance in 2008 for the second year running. Emergent Asset Management runs an African farmland fund.
Starvation ! = D Rule
The Argument That Survival Outweighs Sharing Food Relies on a Misunderstanding of Moral Agency—This View Justifies Infinite Atrocities—Because No Such Agent as “the Human Species” Exists, Then We Are Responsible Only to Individuals Who Are Starving
Given that the human species has rights as a fictional person on the analogy of corporate rights, it would seem to be rational to place the right of survival of the species above that of individuals. Unless the species survives, no individual will survive, and thus an individual’s right to life is subordinate to the species’ right to survival. If species survival depends on the unequal distribution of food to maintain a healthy breeding stock, then it is morally right for some people to have plenty while others starve. Only if there is enough food to nourish everyone well does it follow that food should be shared equally. This might be true if corporate entities actually do have moral status and moral rights. But obviously, the legal status of corporate entities as fictional persons does not make them moral equals or superiors of actual human persons. Legislators might profess astonishment that anyone would think that a corporate person is a person as people are, let alone a moral person. However, because the legal rights of corporate entities are based on individual rights, and because corporate entities are treated so much like persons, the transition is often made. Few theorists today would argue that the state of the human species is a personal agent. But all this means is that idealism is dead in theory. Unfortunately, its influence lives, so it is worth giving an argument to show that corporate entities are not real persons. Corporate entities are not persons as you and I are in the explicit sense that we are self-conscious agents and they are not. Corporate entities are not agents at all, let alone moral agents. This is a good reason for not treating corporate entities even as fictional persons. The distinction between people and other things, to generalize, is that people are self-conscious agents, whereas things are not. The possession of rights essentially depends on an entity’s being self-conscious, i.e., on its actually being a person. If it is self-conscious, then it has a right to life. Self-consciousness is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for an entity’s being a moral equal of human beings; moral equality depends on the entity’s also being a responsible moral agent as most human beings are. A moral agent must have the capacity to be responsible, i.e., the capacity to choose and to act freely with respect to consequences that the agent does or can recognize and accept as its own choice and doing. Only a being who knows himself as a person, and who can effect choices and accept consequences, is a responsible moral agent. On these grounds, moral equality rests on the actuality of moral agency based on reciprocal rights and responsibilities. One is responsible to something only if it can be responsible in return. Thus, we have responsibilities to other people, and they have reciprocal rights. If we care for things, it is because people have interests in them, not because things in themselves impose responsibilities on us. That is, as stated early in this essay, morality essentially has to do with relations among people, among persons. It is nonsense to talk of things that cannot be moral agents as having responsibilities; consequently, it is nonsense to talk of whatever is not actually a person as having rights. It is deceptive even to talk of legal rights of a corporate entity. Those rights (and reciprocal responsibilities) actually pertain to individual human beings who have an interest in the corporate entity. The State or the human species have no rights at all, let alone rights superior to those of individuals. The basic reason given for preserving a nation or the human species is that otherwise the milieu of morality would not exist. This is false so far as specific nations are concerned, but it is true that the existence of individuals depends on the existence of the species. However, although moral behavior is required of each individual, no principle requires that the realm of morality itself be preserved. Thus, we are reduced to the position that people’s interest in preserving the human species is based primarily on the interest of each in individual survival. Having shown above that the principle of equity is morally superior to the principle of survival, we can conclude again that food should be shared equally even if this means the extinction of the human race. Is there no way to produce enough food to nourish everyone well? Besides cutting down to the minimum, people in the West might quit feeding such nonhuman animals as cats and dogs. However, some people (e.g., Peter Singer) argue that mere sentience—the capacity to suffer pain—means that an animal is the moral equal of human beings. I argue that because nonhuman animals are not moral agents, they do not share the rights of self-conscious responsible persons. And considering the profligacy of nature, it is rational to argue that if nonhuman animals have any rights at all, they include not the right to life, but merely the right to fight for life. In fact, if people in the West did not feed grain to cattle, sheep, and hogs, a considerable amount of food would be freed for human consumption. Even then, there might not be enough to nourish everyone. Let me remark that Stone and Singer attempt to break down the distinction between people on the one hand, and certain things (corporate entities) and nonhuman animals on the other, out of moral concern. However,, there is another, profoundly antihumanitarian movement also attempting to break down the distinction. All over the world, heirs of Gobineau, Goebbels, and Hitler practice genocide and otherwise treat people as non-human animals and things in the name of the State. I am afraid that the consequences of treating entities such as corporations and nonhuman animals—
that are not moral agents—as persons with rights will not be that we will treat national parks and chickens the way we treat people, but that we will have provided support for those who would treat people the way we now treat nonhuman animals and things. The benefits of modern society depend in no small part on the institution of corporate law. Even if the majority of these benefits are to the good—of which I am by no means sure—the legal fiction of corporate personhood still elevates corporate needs above the needs of people. In the present context, reverence for corporate entities leads to the spurious argument that the present world imbalance of food and resources is morally justified in the name of the higher rights of sovereign nations, or even of the human species, the survival of which is said to be more important than the right of any individual to life. This conclusion is morally absurd. This is not, however, the fault of morality. We shouldshare all food equally, at least until everyone is well-nourished. Besides food, all the necessities of life should be shared, at least until everyone is adequately supplied with a humane minimum. The hard conclusion remains that we should share all food equally even if this means that everyone starves and the human species becomes extinct. But, of course, the human race would survive even equal sharing, for after enough people died, the remained could be well-nourished on the food that remained. But this grisly prospect does not show that anything is wrong with the principle of equity. Instead, it shows that something is profoundly wrong with the social institutions in which sharing the necessities of life equally is “impractical” and “irrational.”