American Journal of Agricultural Economics | VOL. 50

Food Production Possibilities in the High‐Food‐Drain Economies

Publication Date Dec 1, 1968


MY assignment is to examine and evaluate that aspect of the report of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) on the world food supply dealing with the potential for food production in the underdeveloped countries [11]. Because of the size and scope of the report, it will be possible to discuss only some of its major findings. This lengthy report was prepared during 1966 and early 1967, a period during which it was fashionable in both professional and nonprofessional circles to talk about the next great famine [3, 4, 7, 10]. It was, to say the least, a time of mild hysteria with respect to the world food situation.' Now, less than a year later, some impressions of the world food situation have turned nearly a full 180 degrees [5]. There is talk about an agricultural production revolution and problems of surpluses in some of the developing countries. Who knows what the popular conception of the world food problem will be next year? To help achieve some form of balanced perspective as to what the PSAC report says and means, it may be useful to back off from the shortrun, yo-yo-like interpretations of the world food situation and take a long-term view of the problem. One can say that a few years ago we were in the midst of the fifth wave of scare about world food supplies and famine. Merrill K. Bennett discussed the first four waves in a most perceptive article published in 1949: The first [wave] was touched off by Malthus' famous "An Essay on the Principles of Population" . . . published . .. in 1798. The second wave...


President's Science Advisory Committee World Food Potential For Food Production Industrial National Economies World Food Situation President's Science Advisory World Food Supplies Science Advisory Committee Back Off Great Famine

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