Intensification: AnotherRefinement

Tue, 2 Nov 1993 14:15:27 CST

Early this year, with the help of Anthro-L, I refined the basic formula,
P = AD, into P = AYM to take into account the fact that density (P/A =
D) increase could take the form of increase in either yield (F/A) or
malnutrition (P/F). Note that P = A (F/A) (P/F), by definition, since
the A's and F's cancel. Taking proportional growth rates has the effect
of turning multiplication into addition, so P' = A' + Y' + M'. Recently
I began applying this formula to United Nations data, and soon came up
with the "fact" that malnutrition was increasing, in the late 1980's, in
the developed nations. This prompted another refinement in the
formulas, based on the necessity of distinguishing, whenever external
food sources are present,between that population's food *production* and
its food *supply*. The new factor that must be included is the ratio
between food supply and food production, Fs/Fp. This may be termed "R"
for reliance on external food sources. The new formulas, then, are P =
AYRM, and P' = A' + Y' + R' + M'. I assume this lawlike
generalization: Growing populations always tend to resort to these
mechanisms in the order given in the equation: expansion,
intensification, reliance, malnutrition. This assumption allows
construction of several ratios that can be interpreted, respectively, as
inhibition of expansion (Y' + R' + M')/P'; inhibition of food production
(R' + M')/P'; and inhibition of food supply (M'/P'). The data show that
in the late '80's food production, in the developed world, was increasin
g more slowly than population; that is, that conditions were inhibiting
production of its own food, while promoting reliance on the developing
countries. This trend could be interpreted optimistically as increasing
the world's interdependence, or pessimistically as threatening to place
the developed world at the mercy of the developing world (where food
production is increasing faster than population). The list has been
so helpful in the past, I want to call again for any reactions readers
might have. (I'm giving a paper on this subject at the upcoming AAA
meetings; but it is already partly superceded by this post.)
--Bob Graber, Northeast Missouri State University