Perma-Culture vs City Vulture [debate]

I’m a committed individualist myself, but Ben has made a series of deep errors in his philosophical view of progress, selfishness and individuality, which only revealed themselves late on in this heated debate about the agriculture business, health and our responsibility to a wider community than just our selves…

swiss-gardening

Ben

After that, will they teach weaving, square dancing, and blacksmithing? Because if we’re gonna go back to the 18th century, shouldn’t we go all out?

Gav

Switzerland is not backwards. Nor is local gardening.

“Each yard has a vegetable garden, and neighbors consult and plan what each will grow so they can trade. Imagine if we did this in the U.S. Our commute to get groceries would be 24 feet, and we would be certain it would be organic.”

Farid

hahaha “kind of” thats really funny. and Ben, do you think the production of food these days is done careful, well, and sustainably (i.e. we can keep doing it like that) ?

 

Ben

Yes, Gavriel, sounds like a great plan. Because I want my neighbors to tell me what to do.

Farid– do you think more or less people die of starvation today, compared to any other time in human history?

 

Farid

So Ben, ok that you didnt answer my question, I am just trying to understand your point of view. To answer your question: I think, that more people die of starvation in total numbers, because of a bigger world population, but not percentage wise. I also see very clearly, that whille the industrial revolution brought a lot of solutions to old problems, created some new and important ones.

The soils of the world are eroding for example (a LOT), due to monoculture farming, and its still cheaper for big countries to do business as usual and move on, buying new land, from poor people, leaving a trail of destruction behind them.

For me, being a realist means, yes, acknowledging scientific and industrial progress, and also, looking at problems and solutions honestly.

Giant companies honestly do not have interest in a de-centralised, in-the-hands-of-the-population form of food and seed production, free of pesticides, fungicides, and petrol-based fertilizer. Neither do the politicians, lobbyists, PR-teams, scientists and industries, that are paid by them. In my viewpoint, its important to seperate facts from interests.

Check out www.geofflawton.com, and let me know what you think.
Geoff Lawton 
www.geofflawton.com These free videos will only be available for a limited time.

 

Gav

Ben, you want what? Your neighbours telling you what to do? Where did you get that idea from?

 

Ben

From the second graphic you posted, Gav. Each neighbor plans what the others will grow? Uhhh…no, thanks.

You know what we call plants that are free of pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers? “Weeds.”

Subsistence farming is a no-win scenario: it leads to backbreaking labor, endless risk, and meager, insufficient portions.

The soils are eroding a lot? How much is a lot, sir? How does ADM stay in business, if their crops can’t grow?

The planet has more food now than ever…and it’s thanks to science (all those things you loathe) and industrialized farming. Less people starve to death than ever (yes, yes– per capita; but even considering the massive growth in population in the past century, the planet could not have sustained that volume without modern farming techniques).

And, over the past three decades, the percentage of the world’s population living in absolute poverty has been cut in half. That ain’t the work of herb gardens.

So, no, thanks. With civilization, we are afforded specialization, which means brain surgeons don’t have to scrabble in the dirt for food…and the rest of us can have access to brain surgeons. I’d rather outsource my farming to, y’know– farmers.

http://www.economist.com/node/21548963

A fall to cheer 
www.economist.comTHE past four years have seen the worst economic crisis since the 1930s and the …

 

Farid

“Around the world, soil is being swept and washed away 10 to 40 times faster than it is being replenished, destroying cropland the size of Indiana every year, reports a new Cornell University study.”
and
“Soil erosion is second only to population growth as the biggest environmental problem the world faces,” said David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/…/slow-insidious-soil…
‘Slow, insidious’ soil erosion threatens human health and welfare as well as the environment,… 
www.news.cornell.eduCornell Chronicle

 

Ben

Farid, topsoil panic has been going on for 50 years. Guess what? Crop production keeps rising….as does the amount of hardwood trees in industrial nations and the amount of arable land used for food production.

Don’t buy hype.

 

Gav

Ben, you’re so far off the point you’re either a paid government shill or highly politicized. You’re also bringing up points that literally have no relevance to anything I said or the image I posted.

You seem like a 2-bit neocheater attempting to destroy human value. Again, I don’t know why, either a government shill or just totally blindsided by political education.

But either way bares zero relevance to me. People with such narrow ability to think are already mentally impotent in today’s global awakening (and with your artificially fertilized, irradiated and processed foods) well on your way to being physically impotent too.

 

Gav

Ok this one is just too glaringly obvious to me as an investor:

The economist article says “the population living on less than $1.25 a day is falling”.

Woop-dee-doo so they have more US dollars… if we measure the poverty of the world by how many US dollars they have each day… given the inflation of the US dollar and rejection of the dollar as the global reserve currency… good luck to anyone with a whopping $5 per day in any poor country.

How many dollars people have is not a good measure of reducing poverty levels.

But then again, I wouldn’t expect anything better coming from the political paradigm supportive media such as The Economist.

 

Farid

Ben, I dont doubt that you can increase outputs of crops easily, if you take land and highly fertilize it, and plant a monoculture. That in no way implies that it doesnt destroy the soil over time.

I find it a bit bizarre, that you are so quick to discard an university studies as “hype”. Do you know how soils work and what their fertility is “made of”? That for example, the capacity of soils, to hold nutrients and water is highly connected to the tons of lifeforms, bacteria, worms, fungus etc that live inside a healthy soil? These are not discussed topics, you could basically ask any (soil) biologist anywhere, and they’d tell you the same.

Inserting fertilizer and pesticides into soil is like to stop feeding people with food and instead injecting them with a nutrient solution of just fat, protein and carbs (no vitamins, no minerals etc) and giving them a lot of anti-biotics on top. It superficially might look like a good idea to some, but as soon as one looks into the working of a humans immune system, it doesnt anymore.

Did you check out Geoff Lawton, as I mentioned in my second post? He shows real desert situations, eroded soils, that come back to life with smart agricultural practices. Nobody would try to rejuvenate them with monoculture, and chemicals.

I find it really complicated to understand, that you, who seem to like science and progress, somehow seem to want to cling to an established praxis, instead of being open to new ideas and new solutions.

 

Ben

Gav, you’re an investor, and you don’t realize the UN/WHO was using dollars as a baseline…that they were converting local currencies to compare to a known global standard to conduct those surveys and aggregate the numbers? That they weren’t measuring how many actual dollars impoverished third-worlders have?

That…is pretty basic analysis. I am pretty astounded you missed it.

And you suggest I devalue human life, yet you want to end the very practices that allow it to flourish, and you want all humans scraping in the dirt like animals to find food. Huh. Weird. Seems to me like you place a lot less value on human existence.

“Global awakening”? Urgh. Is that New age-y kookspeak, or some kind of proto-socialist fooferaw?

Farid, no, I’m not impressed with dire warnings of impending doom…that have been repeated for four decades. But bully for Geoff…and don’t you think that if methods for making desert land productive could be replicated that industrial entitities would be all for it, and co-opting the technology wholesale?

You do realize that every decade has new shrill voices claiming the end is near, right? And that it still hasn’t happened yet?

 

Farid

Ben, for me, it’s simply following logic to look at each argument seperately. To somehow construct a group of “warners” or “panickers”, and then dismissing everything the people you put in this group talk about, is not rational thinking, in my view.

And I disagree with you, truly horrible things did happen in this world, and a good bit of those could have been stopped. If we would time travel to Germany pre-Third Reich, we would find people “with shrill voices, claiming the end is near”. Following your previous logic, they would still all be wrong, right?

It seems to me as if you think the current system of privately owned media, revolving-door political power/private sector, big governments and the “quest for the maximized profit” (short term, tax haven prefered) will sort things out for us, and that we can trust in that process, leaning back, knowing that its all going to be fine, and done for us.

I simply dont agree with that, and think it’s every persons duty to inform, think and act for themselves. I think you would mainly agree with that still, and that we mainly differ in our selection of media, that we believe to tell the truth and others, who we assume to twist the facts due to ideology and interests.

To explain my point a bit further:

For example, you assume that companies make reasonable, long term choices in todays world. Have you ever heard of a company, thinking about what the consequences of their actions are, in 100 years even?

Or what if companies have to decide: Really great profits for 5 decades and then maybe/probably a lot of environmental problems, or 5 decades of just normal profits, but a really healthy ecosystem?

And honestly, everybody that I talked to in my life, that was in finance or investing, when asked if they SOMEwhat knew what consequences (good or bad) their buying and selling of stock or ressources had on the populations and societies that produced them: “Well thats not my job”.

Okay then, but whoose job is it ??

 

Ben

Whose job is it to take care of people?

Themselves.

Thanks, Gav, but we’re all adults, and we don’t need you telling us what choices are best for us. We don’t need a mother or a nanny or a shepherd.

Why do you think companies have some magical responsibility to be arbiters of long-term care? Companies should not last 100 years. Companies should fail on a regular basis. New companies should supplant old ones. A “company” is just a collection of people assembling to perform a task. It is not designed to cleave to Gav’s notion of Right and Good– it is designed to make money by completing its task. Period.

In doing so, companies and commerce are the most effective and efficient engines of fulfilling human need and want ever devised. Markets work far better than governments, kings, or nags in predicting and reacting to requests for goods and services, at competitive prices.

Using WWII to suggest that there are world-ending traumas waiting to happen kinda makes my point: the planet survived Nazis and atomic weapons; it will survive all the bullshit hysteria the current screaming meemies are afraid of.

 

Farid

First, I never made the point that the world is going to end, and I did not read Gav make that point either, so I dont actually understand who you argue against.

And nice that we agree: themselves! And this is us. You and me and Gav and everybody else, should be concerned about our planet and it’s life systems, because as you pointed out, companies simply are not concerned with it and use their giant amount of power and money to achieve their own (financial) goals.

Do we have to wait, until water and oil and soil are scarce, to think about how to become better adapted on this planet?

 

Ben

Sorry, yes, that last entry was a response to you, Farid, not Gav.

And yes, we have to wait until those things are gone, because they work so very well for me right now. I could give a fuck about what happens after I’m gone.

More importantly, why do you assume that life is somehow contingent on us to care for it? You seem to misunderstand nature– nature has lasted far, far longer than humans, has gone through five extinction-level die-offs, and continues to this day. It will remain long after the human race ceases.

 

Gav

With your perspective that ‘you don’t give a fuck about what happens after you’re gone’ the sooner people like you are gone the better.

Your logic throughout is so severely flawed that ‘it’s not even wrong’. It’s just about 3 million miles off the track. That they use the dollar as a global baseline in now way negates that as more dollars are printed and made more available thus third world countries on balance have more of them, only emphasize the point of how inflation is reducing the buying power of fiat money.

You have nothing of interest or value for me Ben. You have self-confessed and demonstrated a chronic lack of regard for the human experience beyond your own short-term narrow minded self. That’s not even rationally selfish (which I respect and uphold as value), it’s simply narrow minded.
Ben

Okay– I totally agree with you on dollars.

Still doesn’t mean I want to dig in the dirt to feed myself, thanks.

I am a big fan of selfishness– objective self-interest is my highest goal.

I owe no duty to anyone other than myself.

 

Gav

you have no clarity of objective self-interest

 

Ben

I don’t? Because you think I should spend my time weeding like an 18th-century prole?

 

Gav

you’re debating against ghosts in your imagination with no connection with inherent goodness of humanity. you’re a product of a hysterical rejection of certain ills in society and you’ve somehow ran right into an equally lopsided unbalanced unhealthy extremism which disregards human life other than your own

Ben, where did I say that you should spend your time weeding?

If you don’t want to, don’t do it. I’m laissez-faire capitalist of austrian economics. So is switzerland. That does not mean I’m in favour of monsantro or mass agricultural policy. Indeed, none of those giant farming businesses would be supported in a capitalist model. They’re supposed by political lobbying and fraud.

 

Ben

Well, the graphic at the very top of this thread states pretty clearly that you want to mandate that very thing. Or did I misunderstand something?

 

Gav

If you want to trade whatever area of value creation you wish to pursue with other people who farm fresh nutritious live raw enzyme, mineral and vitamin rich foods, then that’s more than fine with me. You don’t have to grow so much as a carrot.

 

Ben

You don’t seem very Hayek at all.

You seem statist, with your own agenda.

 

Gav

But to not see the value and importance of self-sufficiency education and understanding that food does not just come from walmart is pitiful. And your extreme projections and conclusions and false assumptions are ridiculous. You should be ashamed of how you make assumptions and push accusations.

In anything I’ve said what seems statist and not Hayek?

 

Ben

Yep. You want to impose your view on others, using force. Very not Hayek.

 

Gav

Yes you misunderstand this graphic, just as you projected a false assumption of the Switzerland graphic. The swiss graphic says they consult and plan together. Your projection was that the neighbour tells you what to grow.

 

Ben

You want people to be coerced into working for collective goals. Very not Hayek.

“Plan together” is about as collective as it gets, sir.

My land: my plan.

 

Gav

Again Ben, the idea of coercion was your projection of the Swiss graphic of planning together.

Doing something collectively does not equate with coercion

Ben

And the mandate for schools?

 

Ben

No, but doing things collectively is contrary to individualism.

 

Gav

I have nothing against synergy, collaboration or collective development. That’s fundamentally how business is done. And that’s definitely not anti Hayek.

 

Farid

Well, even if it was a response to me, I still never said that the world was going to end, and I think its easy to verify that.

I as well find the logic flawed that “because it has never happened before it can never happen in the future”. So because we never had people on Mars, it can never happen? Etc.? Not a sound argument to me.

Things working “so well for YOU right now” and “not giving a fuck” about what comes after you, explain your point of view pretty well though. Guess we just focus on different things in life.

 

Gav

You should try reading Human Action by Ludwig von Mises

 

Ben

You have everything against it: you loathe companies that operate in a manner I see fit.

You should try reading Rand.

 

Gav

haha doing things collectively is not contrary to individualism at all. that’s a giant philosophical error you’ve made there buddy

 

Ben

Also, history and science books.

 

Gav

I’ve read Rand. what of it? She demonstrates perfectly well the synergy of collective collaboration through business and friendship

 

Ben

Voluntary– to achieve individual goals that benefit everyone involved to increase productivity; not to launch ourselves backwards into agrarian societies. That’s insane.

 

Gav

Try and open to what I’ve said to you Ben. You’ve projected way beyond reality and completely missed the point of individualism and collectivism. Collective / group / team efforts, focus, contribution and involvement is not the enemy. Nor is it the philosophical enemy of Objectivism or Austrian economics. The problem is the second hander mentality of seeking higher external authority and losing the individual self inside the collective mentality. 2 very very different things. You need to start from the beginning again buddy.

And with your view that you don’t give a fuck about anything beyond your own personal life, anyone reading this will not have a good impression of objectivist individuality or selfishness. You are an anti-value even to the philosophies that you supposedly and purportedly uphold.

Posted by Gavriel

I believe we are at the brink of a global transformation that can see prosperity and freedom reign supreme. A golden sun-lit world of super rapidly advancing new technology that solves all problems wherever they exist via business, science and art. I founded this site to explore these global innovations -- and help shape my own lifestyle experience in pursuit of them.