The This is an example of the co-called “Operational
Fallacy” (Gall 1978), 32–38).
Industrial agriculture is not primarily, as often claimed, the most efficient system to feed 8 billion people, but the most extractive one to use available resources. Efficiency is at best a side-effect.
Its adaptive advantage is not that it gets chosen by people because of its success in feeding people. In contrast, it out-competes alternatives by extracting more resources than them in the short term, which leads to growth of population (up to a certain affluence level) and consumption (from that level on).
This means the number of people adopting the associated lifestyle grows relative to others – via biological, but also social reproduction, especially the mechanisms of Consumerism, which connects industrial farming to the dominant Ideology.
As a result, the need for resources is amplified, which again
the most extractive lifestyle. This positive feedback loop displaces
alternative lifestyles and creates a lock-in effectArthur (1983)
which permanently excludes them from the competition.
So the system of industrial agriculture uses biological, social, neurophysiological processes to grow (System Dynamics) while the connected ideology uses these processes to replicate (Cultural evolution is multilevel meme variation, selection and replication).
- Arthur (1983): “Competing Technologies, Increasing Returns, and Lock-In by Historical Events”
- Gall (1978): Systemantics