BY BREAD ALONE by Lester & Erik P. Eckholm Brown

BY BREAD ALONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Professor Brown is a well-known spokesman for zero population growth and World Bank labor-intensive agricultural schemes in the Third World. This book recapitulates In the Human Interest (1974), sometimes with practically verbatim extracts. It is so flatly written that lazy or uninformed readers may miss Brown's tendentious inversion of world trends. He claims that a food crisis is being caused by declining reserves and rising ""affluent"" demand. However, to look at grain alone, statistics show that this year's world production is up despite droughts, while demand is now forced down by grain traders' hoarding and price hikes. Since Brown advocates an official international food bank, with political control over who eats and who doesn't, he even frowns at -- and exaggerates the importance of -- the Russian purchase of surplus grain. And he ignores the fact that if future shortages do occur they will stem from farmer bankruptcy -- not excess demand from the fat Americans who, Brown thinks, should eat less and sacrifice for the Third World. He forthrightly praises the backbreaking kind of small-plot agriculture (""if they own it they'll work harder"") that Robert McNamara has already pushed in the underdeveloped sector. Brown refuses to pursue feasible alternative energy sources, chiefly fusion power, which would transform food production; instead he sadly observes that the oil shortage -- now publicly conceded to have been contrived -- is engendering an oil-related ""fertilizer shortage."" A notable case study in the different between propaganda and science.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1974
Publisher: Praeger