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The concept of population and food production has raised numerous discussions. Some people argue that the rising population is going beyond the ability of the earth to provide for it. Others argue that there should be a population control system to ensure provision of resources to the current and future population. These are two different perspectives that drive these arguments. The first one is the cornucopian perspective, which refers to a futurist thought that sustained development and stipulation of material things for human can be accomplished by same developments in technology (Muir, 2011). Essentially, they claimed that there is sufficient matter and energy on earth to supply for the ever-increasing population of the world. They also claim that there should be no worries for the future because the profusion of matter and energy in space would issue human being with abundance room for growth.
Argument Supporting Cornucopian Viewpoint
The best example of an author who expressed cornucopian viewpoint is Vandana Shiva. She is the initiator of Navdanya, which is a movement of more than 500, 000 keepers and natural farmers in India. She is famous for writing books and some of her main ones include “The violence of the Green” and “Soil, Not Oil.” In her article, “The Failure of Gene-Altered Crops,” she argues that Food Security for the next two decades will need to be generated from environmental security and climate pliability (Muir, 2011). There is the need for genuine green revolt, not second “Green Revolution” centered on hereditary engineering. She insists that there is the need for biodiversity and strengthening that functions with nutrients and water cycles of nature, not against them.
Nonspecific engineering has never brought about yields. This means that the energy and matter provided by the earth is sufficient for every person on earth (Muir, 2011). This energy is sufficient for this decade and for the next decade no matter the level of population increase. She emphasized her point by stating that the non natural measures that people undertake to control population are a risk to natural resources. She gives an example of the present study conducted by Doug Gurian-Sherman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The study referred to as, “Future to Yield” has proven that in an almost 20 year record, hereditarily engineered crops have never increased yields (Muir, 2011). The study never acquired notably augmented yields from crops engineered for herbicide broadmindedness or crop engineered to be insect- confrontation. She added that the International Evaluation of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development conducted by 400 scientists more than four years has also proven that genetic engineering does not contain much assurance. As an alternative, small farms centered on policies of agri-ecology and sustainability fabricate more food (Muir, 2011).
Strength of her Argument
Her argument is concrete in the sense that she provides several examples of studies that were conducted to prove that indeed generic engineering cannot increase yields. She also provided a concrete proof that energy and matter on earth is sufficient to provide for the increasing population (Muir, 2011). She also demonstrated her practical actions on the case by stating what Navdanya does to help the situation. Therefore, she clearly demonstrated the cornucopian viewpoint and supported all her arguments.
Weakness of her Argument
Her main weakness is that she demonstrated her disappointed and criticism on other scientists who support the employment of genetically modified crops in Africa. Specifically, she shows her disappointment to the Gates Foundation in its global development program (Muir, 2011). The problem with such an argument is that it lowers the morale of a big organization like Gates Foundation to help and support individuals dying of hunger in Africa.
Vandana Shiva is very right in her argument because it is true that nature is able to provide for the ever-increasing population. The energy and matter on earth is sufficient to provide enough resources for the world’s population.
Argument Supporting Neo-Malthusianism
Neo-Malthusianism talks about individuals with similar fundamental anxiety as Malthus. They are in support of population management programs that sustain resources for the present and future populations (Muir, 2011). The term Malthusian in Britain refers to discussions made in errand of stopping birth control and an example is the Malthusian League. Neo-Malthusians are distinct from Malthus’s hypothesis largely in their zeal for contraceptive methods. Malthus, as a pious Christian, thought that “self-control” was favorable to artificial birth control. Malthus argued in some of his essays that self control was improbable to be effectual on a broad scale, therefore promoting the use of artificial ways of birth control as an answer to population “pressure”. Neo-Malthusian was keener on environmental squalor and disastrous famine, than with poverty (Muir, 2011).
A good example of an author who demonstrated Neo-Malthusian viewpoint is Paul Collier who is a professor of economics at Oxford University. He is also the director of the Center for the research of African Economies. He wrote the famous book, “The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It.” In his article called “Put Aside Prejudices”, Collier argues that the discussion concerning genetically customized crops and food has been polluted by political and artistic prejudices which include terror of big science and romanticism concerning local, organic yield and antagonism to United States business (Muir, 2011). His stand was that rejecting genetic modification makes a complicated problem more intimidating.
He supports his statement by arguing that food provision is too significant to be the plaything of this chauvinism. If there is insufficient food, they definitely understand who will go hungry. Genetic alteration is analogous to nuclear authority because nobody appreciates it, but climate modification has made its implementation essential (Muir, 2011). This means that often, people who are affected or forced to use the genetically modified foods are poor people mostly from Africa. Developed countries are only affected indirectly because they are forced to donate the genetically modified food to hungry people from Africa. As the climate of Africa gets worse, it will be forced to speed up crop variation (Muir, 2011). There is the need to increase crop production because of the rising pollution. Genetic alteration provides both quicker crop variation and a biological solution other than chemical approach to increase production.
Strength of Collier’s Argument
Collier understands that nature is really changing in the sense that rainfall patterns of the world have changed and drought has increased (Muir, 2011). This shows that nature can no longer provide sufficient resources for the increasing population. Therefore, he supports genetically modified food production to save the situation in poor countries particularly in Africa.
Weakness of Collier’s Argument
Collier supports production of genetically modified food to relieve the problem of hunger in the world. However, he clearly states that this food is for the poor people mostly in Africa because developed nations do not need it (Muir, 2011). This means that developed nations are aware of the negative effects of the GMF to human health.
Collier’s perspective is wrong in the sense that he is supporting genetically modified food and yet, he knows clearly that the GMF has negative effects on human life. Nature still has enough energy and matter that is sufficient to provide resources for all human beings. There is no need of worrying about population control because nature will take its course.