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Who Will Feed China?


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About the Author

Lester R. Brown is the founder of the Earth Policy and Worldwatch Institutes. He has been honored with numerous prizes, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the United Nations Environment Prize, and twenty-five honorary degrees. He lives in Washington, D.C.


Brown, president of the Worldwatch Institute and recipient of numerous environmental awards, predicts that China's current breakneck industrialization will lead to massive world grain shortages early in the next century. He states that political leaders everywhere need to recognize that "the world is now on a demographic and economic path that is environmentally unsustainable." Using Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as the only examples of countries that were densely populated when they embarked on rapid industrialization, similar to China's present situation, Brown points out that these countries developed in such a way that they were compelled to import the majority of the grain their populations consumed. He cites many reasons for the dependence on foreign grain, including growing land scarcity, migration to the city from farms, overpopulation, water scarcity, and unstable prices on the world market. Brown argues persuasively that the major world challenge in the future is not military aggression but, rather, food scarcity. No other book develops this theme in as straightforward a fashion. Highly recommended.-Peggy Spitzer Christoff, Oak Park, Ill.

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