Re: Solving World Problems: Hunger

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 16:08:57 MST

On Mon, Jan 28, 2002 at 05:15:02PM -0500, E. S. OTerick wrote:
> We should replace the trees that don't bear fruit with ones that do.
> Imagine for the next day that every tree you see is full of fruit
> and imagine the savings on your grocery bill.

Well, the proposal does have some difficulties. Looking out through my
window on the Swedish tundra (OK, it's not *that* bad :-) I see one
climatic problem. I guess people by now are getting better at modifying
the seasonality of plants, so creating variants of the same species that
set fruit in periods covering the entire year in a sufficiently warm and
steady climate might be possible (modulo complications with variations
in insect pollination). But what are the incentives for people to pay
for and plant such varieties? While most people love orchards in
general, fewer want to live in them or eat the fruit from the orchard
along the superhighway.

More seriously the problem of hunger is not really due to lack of food
production but rather lack of distribution and buying power among the
poor. Even a cornucopia tree won't help if local warlords tax you 100%
at gunpoint. So the first step towards a solution to hunger may be less
spreading modified tree seeds (I think that is part of the *second*
step), but rather to spread satelite phones to make people able to
communicate with each other outside local ruler's control.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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