- Politics and Social Issues
Stay Organic for Ever?
Chemical fertilizers or GM crops, vs everything Organic?
The ongoing tussle between the ‘organic crop’ and the contaminated others reminds me of my childhood days in a countryside where I grew up with a good bunch of boys. I was a weak child without the physique and skills necessary to pursue ‘manly’ diversions like climbing trees (We had a good collection of fruit bearing trees in our vicinity) whereas by brother, who was only a year older, was of good constitution and adept at such activities. Loitering around with friends, whenever we happen to come across a tree with good fruits, I and my friends (who all were of comparable build!) would make an appeal to my brother and his cohorts for a few. My brother with a couple of close buddies would reluctantly agree, climb the tree, pluck some fruits, taste a few, throw down a few less for the waiting crowd and show an unhappy face with loud comments “The fruits are not ripe enough, wait for a few days”. We of course, used to relish whatever that came on our way and wait for the next visit. The same story will be repeated thereafter, I with my ‘weak’ friends managing to do with a few unripe ones, the blanket judgment about the unworthy nature of fruits refraining us from further attempts till subsequent visits.
It took some time for me to realize that this is a perfect plan for the ‘climbers’ to relish and enjoy the fruits for many days to come, without having the need to part with the ‘spoils’.
It should be rather easy to see a parallel. Some societies, for whatever reason, achieved abnormally high levels of food production, posing a threat to their economy. For example, in the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was saddled with mountains of surplus cheese, corn and other foods that it socked away in warehouses and even caves. Also, as recently as 2003, the USDA had to buy so much powdered milk to support dairy prices that beleaguered officials shipped some to U.S. ranchers for cattle feed. Having thus reached a position of great disadvantage, isn’t it natural that they would look for ways of limiting their losses while ensuring that such calamities shall not occur again? What better way for ensuring the preceding, than to discourage everyone else from following what they themselves did to land up with this problem of excess. As long as there is no excess with them, others can act as a buffer! (One way it is good; it is better to limit the excess production with one state rather than each and every country producing in excess)
A Middle Path?
Even assuming that all that is circulated about chemical fertilizers is true, there should be a way to continue its use in an acceptable manner. It is a known fact that, in the medical world, tolerance and resistance to a drug are of great relevance in deciding what medication to use. Also, the tendency to become stale after certain interval of time is present in all styles or techniques, anywhere and everywhere. Why shouldn’t this be extended to chemical fertilizers too? Use such fertilizers for some time, change thereafter to organic manure and such cycles to go on repeating?
Can food ever be in Excess
Can't we learn from labor?
The case of ‘child labor’ is very interesting. During school years (in the early 1960’s) a large scale mobilization of resources, of men, material and related efforts was directed towards national output, mainly of food production, in many countries of the world. We schoolchildren also were roped in and to make our participation a pleasant experience I think, regular lectures were conducted in school, extolling the virtues of all kinds of labor, mostly by some educationist and sometimes by few visiting dignitaries from abroad. They all used to employ the examples of countries like USA, UK, France etc, with emphasis put on the fact that school children in those countries do a lot of small jobs and errands, earn ‘pocket money’ and does not depend on their parents and guardians for normal expenses connected with their schooling. The state government, to help us in finding such profitable hobbies, even introduced formal training in extra-curricular works for us, during which instructions one could study many of the interesting vocations like photography, metal polishing, clay modeling and others. In fact the slogan in vogue, ‘Earn while you learn’, was the chief proponent of this idea.
Today, for whatever reason, the very same people who supported such ideas are turning hostile, especially to students, who do anything but their class work. The old slogan too, is being rechristened as ‘child labor’, to make it look more repugnant than it actually is?
Lastly, A Hidden Motive?
It should not be difficult to see a parallel. Some societies, for whatever reason, achieved certain ‘fruits’, and in that, what was of greatest help could have been the fact that those societies did direct the entire national wealth or effort towards growth, giving, largely emotional issues and needs like child labor, a go by. (It is a historical fact that quite few of these efforts involved even eugenics, which again, are now frowned upon)
Having thus reached a position of great vantage, it is natural that they would look for ways of preserving their envious status or sustaining their dominance. What better way exist for ensuring the preceding, than to paint the ‘fruits’ as totally unworthy? To doubly ensure this, they are declaring as inhuman, one of the primary reasons for their success, eugenics. Not only that, there is also total admiration showered on all those who continue with their traditions. (There is no need, I think, to repeat that any ‘fruit’ can be made to look good and inviting, or, despicable and nauseating, by selecting words or expressions used for describing that, appropriately)