How will the scarcity of oil and gas affect food production?
Food production is going to be an huge problem. As industrial
agriculture fails due to a shortage of oil- and gas-based inputs, we
will have to grow more of our food closer to where we live, and do it on
a smaller scale, like subsistence farmers. Agriculture may be the core
of the economy in the mid-twenty-first century, not information, not
state-of-the-art and not "services" like real estate sales. Farming.
This is no doubt a startling, radical idea, and it raises extremely
difficult questions about the reallocation of land and the nature of
work. The relentless subdividing of land in the late twentieth century
has destroyed the contiguity and integrity of the rural landscape in
most places. Food production will necessarily be much more physical and
manual than it has been for decades. We can anticipate the re-birth of a
native-born farm-laboring class. These masses of disentitled people may
enter into social relations with those who own land in exchange for food
and physical security. But their sense of grievance will remain fresh,
and if mistreated they may just claim that land.