NON LINEAR 2*
Note: I went ahead and compiled/published the collection of the Malthusian Survivalist Newsletter. I thought I'd wait until I finished the second part of the last issues article but I think it might turn into a booklet so I just published as is. The last issue, #7, which I never published, is included in the collection. The usual 7k words. If you buy the collection it is only a buck, so even if you read the first six you aren't out any extra money. Here is the link:
Now let’s cover the cost of grain. Not everybody is a farmer. Plenty of folks live in the city. Even if the areas major city is merely the capital city and full of politicians and mandarins and the rest of the country is farmers ( which of course it won’t be. There are Trade Towns, Garrison Towns, Port Towns, etc. ), there is still enough of the population dependent on outside grain brought in that the price of grain is always a constant source of political disruption in times of want. People don’t revolt unless they are hungry ( politicians revolting and fooling the population to back them do happen, and quite a bit. Spontaneous popular revolts happen when hunger appears. No persuasion is required ), and if you don’t feed the people the people will dispose you. As another virile well coiffured Jim said, “they have the guns but we have the numbers” ( one gets the feeling that the middle class students of the 60’s protested because they smoked too much pot and were in danger of getting kicked out of school and hence drafted, not because they cared all that much that their ghetto and trailer park brothers were getting killed in ‘Nam. But they were spoiled otherwise and were not going to revolt. The Black ghettos revolt was Black politicians using the criminal element to stage a revolt that was all about bribing the Feds ).
Let’s say a European farmer had fifty acres under cultivation ( this is for illustrative purposes. I have no idea how big or small the average farm was ) and gets ten bushels an acre in yield ( again, just a math exercise-no idea of the average yield ). That year the farm produced 500 bushels. Said farmer needs 175 bushels for fodder and next years seed, with 75 going to feed the family. This is assuming a mostly grain diet, up to 75% of daily calories, with non-mechanized farming. Out of the total 500 bushels of grain, 250 bushels are left to be sold at market. That is a normal year. If bad weather comes along, and if there are three things you can count on in life it is death, taxes and bad weather, reducing the crop by 30%, you don’t just see prices go up a third because a third of the crop fails. Oh no. The yield of the farm went from 500 bushels to just 350. The farmers needs remained the same 250 bushels, which leaves just 100 bushels for the market. A crop failure of 30% means a 60% fall in the market grain supply. If the bad weather reduced the crop yield 50%, there would be a 100% drop in the available grain sold at market. Hence, a 30% crop failure doubled grain prices and a 50% failure quadrupled the price of grain. And remember, this isn’t a modern farm with mechanized harvesting, artificial fertilizer and irrigation. This was Solar Agriculture. Which we will see again very soon unless we either get the secret of room fusion from space aliens or abiotic oil becomes real instead of theory ( okay, sorry, I meant Viable Flow Rate Abiotic Oil because even if that is a reality rather than a theory, you still need a quick enough recharge rate ). Solar Ag means no room for error. Multiple harvest failures means 30-70% population decline. Anyway, sorry, let’s stay focused on the non-linear aspect of the numbers. That’s the important point. Tomorrow, the non linear nature of caloric needs.
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