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 came in the late 1890's in connection with the German controversy about the relative merits of agrarian and industrial national economies.2 Perhaps an ephemeral shortage and high price of wheat was a contributing factor. It was in 1898 that Sir William Crookes delivered his famous address, "The Wheat Problem," to the British Association for the Advancement of Science; some people took it as a "cosmic scare." But again interest in the global food-supply problem waned, only to be stimulated by the third wave, for a few years after World War I. We are now [19491 in the midest of the fourth wave [2, p. 17]. The litany of the late 1940's bears a frightening resemblance to that of 1 The proponents of the possibility of large-scale famine did perform the useful service of alerting many people around the world to the importance of the world food problem and the need for better rates of agricultural development in many less-developed countries.

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