Why are we so dependent on fertilizers?

GPF’s Allison Fedirka was writing about Cuba

When I was younger, I was all for the idea of only using organic fertilizers, meaning animal manure, fish waste, encouraging helpful nematode proliferation (meaning earthworms, but not too much) and rotating land under cultivation to let portions lie fallow every seventh year. Recently, after hearing so much talk about how food production has actually increased and that there is actually no shortage of food, I have concluded that the world is so hooked on artificial fertilizers that to totally preclude it would lead to what would be perceived as reduced crop yields and unnecessary excess mortality in poorer nations. Trust people to complicate matters just to get rich. The problem with artificial fertilizer is not its occasional, judicious use. It is that people have a tendency to use far too much of it. And then people wonder why crop yields fall after a few years, when the ground has been poisoned and needs time to recover.

I was reading Allison Fedirka’s article on Geopolitical Futures, about the US and Cuba having a small window to improve relations between the two. Do look up anything Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, John Cochrane, etc, to understand my views on how Cuba’s economy actually need not be so vulnerable to what happens around the world, and how it need not have to rely so heavily on “patron states” just to survive. Same thing for other nations, including my own. The local economy needs to be robust enough to provide for the nation’s basic needs. Industrialization, manufacturing, IT services, “innovative industries” are well and good, and they should be encouraged for expansion, not basic sustenance. That’s only going to happen sporadically, since hegemons would have no interest in strong nations able to punch above  their weight class if necessary. It also makes life boring and since people don’t like boring lives, the international melodrama will continue.

Would you like to be able to be comfortable in your own skin and become someone who produces more value than he or she consumes? Economist John Taylor once took notes while listening to someone else speaking, and he noted that “You can stockpile goods, but you can’t stockpile services”. We would do well to take note. This planet is much more homeostatic than we think. It’s useful to remember that.

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