Two billion people

“At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was a serious scare about an imminent Malthusian crisis: the world’s rapidly expanding population was coming up against the limits of agricultural productivity… Earl Butz, Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture, was despised by organic farmers, but he might not have been wrong when he said, in 1971, that if America returned to organic methods ‘someone must decide which fifty million of our people will starve!’ According to a more recent estimate, if synthetic fertilizers suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth, about two billion people would perish.” Steven Shapin, on the cost of sustainably grown and locally produced organic food