Posts Tagged ‘Development’

Jobs, resources, competition, agricultural development

January 9, 2013

Some questions for 2013 and beyond.

Society function. Increasing number of jobless around the world. There should be a vision about the functioning of a society. How to find tasks for everybody? Is it possible in the industrial world of today? Some example or scenario to show. Just to create jobs nationally by competitive strength is not helping the whole. A world model for a supercomputer?

Resources help – but is it enough for creating jobs and welfare for all?  Norway has both resources and good will. Ranks high – but problems persist.

The paradox of competition. Competition is behind all our development. It is called evolution. It is hard to see alternatives. Totalitarian command? Existing examples are frightening. But unrestricted competition leads to unsustainable exploitation at least in the “green sector”. Restrictions and a framework for the competition is needed. And we have that – partially.

Research and development. In the green sector the result seldom is products which can be patented and exported, with the exeption of chemicals and technology (outside the green production sector). New knowledge may lead to more efficient production, but the technology will be spread and gives no competitive advantage. A more efficient production will ultimately through competition  lead to lower consumer prices and will only slightly benefit the production sector. So – agricultural R&D should be financed by the society.

This may sound pessimistic, but a realistic background is a good base for optimism. We need development. And there are important niches of motivation:

For the individual farmer increased and more efficient production is important

Many farmers have a motivation for soil fertility, sustainability and environment.

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Future Farming (FramtidsOdling) – a new concept starts

November 26, 2012

It seems the time is ripe.  We are 3 retired (almost) advisors/specialists/ generalists  presenting us under this umbrella. In fact specalistgeneralists could be appropriate.

Our goal is an efficient and sustainable agriculture, now and in the future.  High yields, well adapted agronomic measures, soil fertility, environment and biodiversity. More longterm perspectives than normally is possible.

This is not easy. We have a good agriculture but there is still scope. We have good advisors. We will not replace them but could be a complement. Add a somewhat more longterm focus.

There is a lot of innovative force in the farming community. We aim at being an easily available discussion partner, working mainly by phone, mail and internet.  Available, flexible, economic, resource efficient.

An exciting adventure.

Trade liberalization and economic development.

January 27, 2009

A report in Science (9 Jan 2009) by Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Ass. Secretary for UN department of Economics and Social affairs and R von Arnim,  Ass. Prof. Dep of Economics, Denver.

 

The theory behind trade liberalization is scrutinized from the base. The principle as such is valid, under the following conditions: a world of flexible exchange rates responsive to changes in the market för goods, continuous full employment and costless factor mobility, meaning that no barriers exist to seeking and finding employment anywhere in the world.

In developing countries this is generally not satisfied. That is why the results of trade liberalization does not meet expectations.

 

Many, including the government of Sweden, are hoping for a break through in the trade negociations (Doha round). The authors of this article write, quote: “ .. Further agricultural trade liberalization will undermine food security in most developing countries, many of which have been transformed from net food exporters into net food importers. Contrary to the claims of advocates of agricultural trade liberalization, eliminating agricultural and export subsidies in the OECD would, at least temporarily, increase food prices in food-importing countries. The supposed gains from agricultural trade liberalization are likely to bring greater benefits to a few rich agriculture-exporting countries, rather than to most of the developing world, let alone the bulk of the poor.”

 

Maybe development is needed before competing with the elephants of the surrounding world?

 

However, the trade barriers for processed food (marmalades etc) restricting food industry development in many developing countries, seem very mis-directed.

 

There are two aspects of trade and competition not mentioned in the article:

Long term considerations.  The soil and the ecosystem need long term consideration. This might work also in a competing world if all actors incorporate these costs in the calculations. However, in practice this does not work in a global market. Shortsightedness wins.

Diversity.  The base of the free trade theory is specialization. This is contrary to ecological needs.

News from Science Magazine.

January 7, 2009

 

Surface mail takes its time. My issue of today is dated 19 December. Some news with ties to the subject of this blog:

 

The “Breakthrough of the Year” is Reprogramming Cells. By introducing new genes the cell can be reprogrammed to something else. Or repaired. Defect pancreas cells has been “repaired” to produce insulin and alleviate diabetes. There are applications in many areas for this basic science.

As number 6 on the list is a catalyst to split water into hydrogen and oxygen more efficiently. That could be an important way to store energy and even out variations from wind and solar power.

 

As interesting areas to watch are mentioned plant genomics and the acidification of oceans.

DNA sequences of different plants are rapidly being available and will be very important for the future development of plant breeding.

The acidification of oceans can seriously influence both the life in the seas and the total ecological equilibrium. The reason is emissions of carbon dioxide. But this problem is harder to communicate to the public than melting polar ice.

 

We have double reasons to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Education and development

November 9, 2008

Three cups of tea.

This is the title of a book not about agriculture but about education and development. About building schools in the mountain valleys of Pakistan. About the importance of education, especially for girls. About undermining the base for extremism and terrorism by means of education. A both thrilling and interesting book. Authors: Greg Mortensen and D O Relin. Penguin books. www.ikat.org .

 

My own main impression of the agriculture in the mountain valleys of  Pakistan is the total utilization of the soil. Everything is grazed or harvested. Terrasses with a width of a few meters are meticulously maintained. Every straw of grass or branch of tree is a resource. And the population grows. Education for altenative development is a central issue.

 

The existing agriculture is in a way well adapted. It has developed during hundreds of years and has fed the population. But increased population and increased demands has strained the situation.

 

Subsistence agriculture can only be a secondary occupation in a society with higher standard. This is both a dilemma and a challenge.

 

As is discussed sometimes: maybe our definition of standard should need a revision. However, I need only to go back to my own childhood to see a heavy load of hard work in the agricultural society of that time.