Food is a constant need. Of what use is it then, to the study of history and politics, to constrain a narrative to the axis of this need? This could only be a practical course; to render an outline of actions which describe the narrative of economic and ecological truth. This is not a philosophical exploration of the relationship between physical power in the sense of energy which metabolic process provide and political power in the sense of action taken to secure primary needs. This narrative suggests, if only through the application of arbitrary method, a possible linear narrative which of itself invokes the other elements of narrative used to treat of History proper, that is the story of Life itself in its totality and completeness.
Though this suggested method is methodical, the attempt to portray something which resembles it here is rather unmethodical. The articles below will demonstrate key points which I think are most important to comprehend at this stage of human history. Today, we face a technological revolution which concentrates social and political power in the hands of those who inhabit the niches which they are creating for themeselves. In another post, I will demonstrate that the City has become for the first time the only center of political power in that the industrialist capitalist has only in the last forty to twenty years completely come to dominate agricultural production to the extent that agricultural production has been subsumed into the financial mechanisms used to control the industrial economy and thus placed under the power of the corporate elite which includes the financial and banking industry. This post will aid in that effort by demonstrating how completely the global domination of agriculture is becoming under neoliberal hegemony, some twenty years after the commodities market was deregulated in the United States.
The turning point historically came with the Physiocrats with their primacy of land within a materialist rather than putely political economic paradigm. The transformation of European colonial powers from monarchies to modern nation-states was a period in which scientific or rational techniques and innovations were designed to enable the perpetuation of an ever more sophisticated society capable of differentiating the types of economic production flourishing in an environment of greater and greater abundance. As empires competed for dominance, liberalism, socialism and reformed monarchies inculcated capitalist modes of production as the corporate form superceded the colonial trading companies such as the East India Companies of the Dutch and the British. For example, in the early nineteenth century a couple of chemists, Lea and Perrin, created Worcestershire Sauce out of ingredients made available through transcontinental trade (anchovies, oranges, tamarind, etc.). The Physiocrats recognized something which I believe Marx also acknowledged, which is that the underpinning to any economy is its agriculture.
This point requires a degree of elaboration which I cannot give it here, as my intention as stated is to focus primarilly on where we got today and how we got here and not to delve into the theoretical morass of understanding the market as a whole. Marx comprehended the emergence of "free labor" as a result of the abolition of peasantry. Without the Physiocrats having laid the theoretical groundwork of how land could be valued based on various factors, such as (when speaking of agricultural land) productivity, Marx could not have gone on to describe how Capital organized the wealth produced by the working class by representing "surplus value" as, essentially, credit. Setting aside here the historical analysis of the relationship between the working class of the industrial age and the bourgeoisie, I think it is safe to assert that generally the interest of both has been in preventing inflation in the price of foodstuffs (German "nahrungsmittel"). Ironically perhaps, ownership of private property in the form of small landholdings has not been the primary object of the emergent consumer class. While agriculture has been a profitable investment for the capitalist class, this profitability has been dependent upon the overall productivity of the economy promising the availability of rewards for the enfranchised. On the other hand, the small landholder has consistenly been portrayed as and often actually has been subjected to the greatest degrees of uncertainty as even material productivity is, on that scale, insufficient to compete with the large-scale supplier.
Up until recently, however, the agricultural sectors of the United States and France for example comprised a relatively independent and distinct political constituency. While this constituency may still be fairly distinct within the U.S., the insitutionalized political power given to the agrarian class via the electoral college has been outweighed by the power of the investor class via Wall Street. The process of consolidating agriculture in the U.S. into "big agribiz" has taken place over the last forty years or so, although the process really began in the 1930's (Source: Allen, Since Yesterday). The subjection, or subsumption, of the agricultural sector in France I would hazard a guess happened sometime during the later years of the Mitterand administration or afterwards. It was a goal of the Reagan administration to pressure the French into adopting the neoliberal paradigm. Today, the U.S. continues to push Europe in the direction of neoliberalism as the Trans-Atlantic Trade Pact breaks down some of the last vestiges of resistance of Europeans to certain forms of genetically modified organisms and other aspects of biotechnology applied to agriculture such as beef raised with the use of growth hormones. Arguably, subsidies in the U.S. of agricultural enterprises constitute a corrallary to the "bail in" policies of quantitative easing and thus politically do not raise the ire of other nations subscribing to the WTO who are primarilly concerned with their relative advantage in gaining access to U.S. and European consumer markets. Since corporations based in U.S. banks dominate the world government, other nations see continued U.S. agricultural subsidies as at least an indication that if the U.S. can do it then they can to; the dominant corporate interests see any widespread exposure of the hypocricy of the global judicial system to be a threat to their propaganda agenda.
Neither the Soviet Union nor Cuba would have ever reached such a stage of completely subsuming agricultural production to the interests of a political class. While agricultural productivity formed the portfolio of certain members of the Communist Party which maintained centralized control of agricultural production within a macroeconomic context, agriculture did not form the vested interest of each member of the ruling class (since Stalin) in the same way that capital now represents to each member of the ruling class in the U.S. a general interest in the productivity of all sectors of the economy. While the Communist Party could propogandize about agricultural production and its role in the proletarian revolution, contemporary fascism conditions the idea of consumption through the co-ordinated efforts of marketing and media manipulation ("placement", representation of lifestyles in cultural production, etc.). In Cuba, the attempt to develop Soviet-style agricultural production on the former latifundia was ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union and gave way to various adaptations such as the distribution of usufruct rights. This is an important case study I will refer back to later in this post, as an example of what some refer to as "dialectics" and which demonstrates, in my opinion, the need for Cuba and Venezuela to forge closer ties with Brazil.
First, lets return to our opening theme and the origin of the term "latifundia".
In the late Roman Republic, the dominant senatorial class was not allowed to engage in banking or commerce but relied on their latifundia, large plantations, for income. They circumvented this rule through freedmen proxies who sold surplus agricultural goods.
The historical connection between liberalism and colonialism is impossible to ignore even for the most unregenerate liberal who is anything more than a philistine. Citizens of the U.S. are not as aware of the importance of land-redistribution as others in the Americas because the process of colonization (and genocide) did not occur until the late nineteenth century allowing the homesteaders of yore to avail themselves of the "frontier" while revolutionaries in Mexico during the second Mexican Revolution and in Bolivia today struggled and struggle to break up the latifundia established by colonizers. What reduced the relevance of land redistribution to a revolutionary paradigm is the combined explosion of population making it impossible to even conceive of a utopian agrarian society and the advent of free trade which hastened the process of centralizing the population into urban centers as the ownership of agricultural lands and technology became completely centralized in the hands of the smallest proportion of the population ever in the history of humanity. In combination, this means that the global food supply of seven billion people and counting is under the legal and political control of less than a fraction of one percent of that global population.
Furthermore, even in those parts of the globe where neither colonialism (or more properly, imperialism in these cases) ever established such latifundia nor did communism centralize agricultural production under Stalinist regimes- that is, speaking of southeast Asia- neoliberalism has finally come to dominate agriculture through the subjection of these nations' economies to the dominance of Western industrial modes of life.
LAND TO THE TILLERS: RESPONSES TO LAND GRABS
By Tory Field and Beverly Bell
Deepa Panchang also co-authored this article.
Part 23 of the Harvesting Justice series
Friday, 02 August 2013 11:23
The outcome of last Sunday's elections in Cambodia, in which Prime Minister Hun Sen hoped to extend his 28-year rule, is in dispute. Even if he continues in office, Hun Sen's tight grip on civil society is threatened, in part, by public anger against land grabs. In the past decade, his government has handed 73% of Cambodia's arable land, most of it belonging to small farmers, over to businesses.
This article puts the global issue into perspective thus, after having articulated that the "land reform movements, organizations of indigenous peoples, small farmers, and other citizens" are forming the resistance to neoliberalism's "land grabs":
National and transnational corporations, sometimes with collusion from the government of the country in question, are snapping up agricultural land to grow industrial-scale commodity crops. Investment firms (private equity, hedge, and pension funds) are in a buying frenzy, too, speculating that they will be able to turn a profit for their investors. An estimated 120 to 200 million acres of land have been sold in international investment deals in recent years, approximately two-thirds of them in Africa. Land is also being taken for biofuel plantations, mining, oil drilling, and other energy projects.
Clearly, the emergence of China within the U.S. sphere of economic influence as a key player in the region is in this context is the key factor explaining why only now, long after the end of the Vietnam-U.S. war and the fall of the Soviet Union are nations such as Cambodia and Vietnam falling prey to the industrialization of nature.
Do collective property rights make sense? Insights from central Vietnam; Vol 6, No 1 (2012) International Journal of the Commons
Melissa Marschke; University of Ottawa, Canada
Derek Armitage; University of Waterloo, Canada
Le Van An Hue; University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam
Truong Van Tuyen Hue; University of Agriculture and Forestry, Vietnam
Hein Mallee; International Development Research Center, Singapore
Property rights in Vietnam make for an interesting case. Vietnam has moved from forms of collectivization and state ownership that began in the late 1950s to an ambitious ‘renovation’ program leading to individual land titling in the late 1980s (Do and Iyer 2008). The Doi Moi period (or ‘renovation’) aimed to transform a centralized, state-planned economic system into a more decentralized, market-oriented system whereby the private sector would become the main engine of growth1. One aspect of these reform policies was to devolve authority over production decisions to farmers and enterprises, and to establish property rights (for agricultural land and in some cases for individual households to manage forest areas) to encourage investment and provide a form of collateral for rural dwellers (Sunderlin et al. 2008). The majority of Vietnam’s 90 million people have access to small amounts of land (1–2 ha), particularly in rural, agriculture-focused areas (where 72% of the population lives) (HDR 2009). Policy reforms in the 2000s (e.g. changes to the 2003 Land Law and Fisheries Law) recognized the role for collective rights, once again, to manage forest areas and fishing grounds. However, in the context of increasing privatization of land and marketization of rural production, the contextual fit, legitimacy and enforceability of collective rights has been uncertain.
Property relations exist in multiple forms, and include laws, regulations, cultural norms, social values, social relationships or property practices. These arrangements are legitimized in the sense that the state or some other form of politico-legal authority (e.g. customary) sanctions them (Sikor and Lund 2009). Property rights define or delimit the range of privileges granted to individuals or collective entities regarding specific assets or resources (Meinzen-Dick and Mwangi 2008; Mascia and Claus 2009). Rights to property (land, a set forest, individual trees, or a fishery area) may be held by an individual, shared by a group, or held collectively by multiple groups, and may be granted to user groups, villages, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. While private property is something that all households aspire to gain access to, particularly in resource-dependent areas, there is also a role for collective rights, and a significant body of scholarship (Ostrom 1990) that offers evidence of its historical and current importance.
Community forestry in Vietnam emerged as a policy response to access challenges, and is meant to enable villagers to incorporate aspects of traditional rights and management systems, particularly in ethnic minority villages (Sunderlin and Ba 2005). This is an example of a collective management right that is allocated to the village level, enabling villages or groups of villages to enter into partnership with the State for the management of forest resources. This policy innovation is a departure from highly centralized forest policies that have characterized forestry management in Vietnam – a series of community forestry sites have now been established throughout Vietnam (Sunderlin and Ba 2005). A significant effort has gone into community forestry in the past number of years, with a number of international organizations supporting the designation and establishment of these sites (c.f. Ngo et al. 2011 for a review of international organizations working in uplands of Hue5). By the end of 2007, over 10,000 villages were managing over 2,700,000 ha of forest and bare-land area, of which nearly 2,000,000 ha were community forests (Ngai 2009). The quality of such forest land allocation has been questioned (c.f., Sikor and Nuygen 2007; Ngo et al. 2011).
In Vietnam, as elsewhere, individual and collective rights can be formal or informal (unwritten or codified). As a result, de facto rights that govern the day to day use of natural resources are often different from de jure rights that exist in formal legal documents (Mascia and Claus 2009). Actors may derive benefits from resources without holding property rights to them, such as deriving benefits from an agricultural field by way of occupation or market exchange even though they do not have any formal property rights (Ribot and Peluso 2003). In practice, the contextual diversity and variation in bundles of rights make property rights policy a challenge, leading to oversimplifications of appropriate strategies, or unintended consequences associated with implementation of natural resource management projects (Tanner 2007). It is important to understand everyday land and resource use practices in combination with formal policies; it is also worth recognizing the incentive structures for both individual and collective rights particularly from the perspective of local users who may need a mix of rights to secure and sustain their livelihoods.
Since that was a lot to think about in and of itself, the point is that whatever the particularities of the stituation, globalization has a robust, dynamic methodology derived from its agenda and resource set. The Munden Project has described mapping efforts to help formalize information about claims to land, in the context of issues pertaining to investor security. http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/nimblecivet/blog/2012/05/some-thoughts... This information could be used by various parties for various purposes, depending on the emerging political situation. That is, the information could be used in conformity with, in an attempt to cope with, or an attempt to defy neoliberal agendas. As that link to my other post shows and the further comments there touch upon, this issue has come to the fore accross the world.
Though I will return to this post to edit it and add comments, I will conclude for now with the observations about Cuba I mentioned earlier. This article describes Cuba's reforms since the fall of the Soviet Union including the development of methods that do not use petroleum-based fertilizers. The breaking up of latifundia after the revolution was followed by centralization, but more recently individuals have been given rights to produce on the land and urban gardens have been developed. Now, Dr. Fernando Funes-Monzote is mentioned as one who believes that small-scale farming methods that rely on biodiversity and organic farming "can thrive in a rapidly changing economy, producing high quality products without the need for transgenic crops or mechanization." Looking at Jamaica, whose rice industry was destroyed by neoliberalism, one can understand why Cubans are debating how to produce all of their own food:
Cuba Caught At Agricultural Crossroads
by Adam Calo – November 5, 2013
Funes exudes an electric energy, pulling weeds as he walks around the farm, calling out the scientific name of pollinating insects and pointing out new seedlings of his 35 crop species that have been dispersed by the wind. The farm is a melting pot of agroecological techniques. Near a worm compost bin, a small herd of goats are clearing the undergrowth of a coconut orchard, fertilizing the paddock at the same time. Twenty beehives produce eight different types of honey that change in flavor and color depending on the availability of carefully managed wild flowers. Next to an open-air library featuring agronomy texts, two dense beds of mint are nearly ready to be sold to restaurants that market ‘organic’ mojitos in the Capital. A few turkeys underneath a portable wire netting are being given a trial run to see if they will provide targeted pest relief and soil improvement.
“Through the mid-1990s some 78,000 farms were given in usufruct to individuals and legal entities. More than 100,000 farms have now been distributed, covering more than 1 million hectares in total,” states a 2012 paper that Funes co-wrote with UC-Berkeley agroecology professor Miguel A. Altieri. The paper notes that, “perhaps the most important changes that led to the recovery of food sovereignty in Cuba occurred in the peasant sector which in 2006, controlling only 25 percent of the agricultural land, produced over 65 percent of the country’s food.” There was a huge growth in urban agriculture too — the country now as about 383,000 urban farms, covering 50,000 hectares of otherwise unused land. These farms produce more than 1.5 million tons of vegetables a year.
Yet, while the new privatization of the agricultural sector opens the door for small-scale farmers like Funes to operate in an emerging market of local, value-added products, it also provides space for a more industrial vision of agriculture — one that believes that the peasant led movement of the ’90s is no longer needed in an improving economy.
At a midsummer debate held by the Cuban Academy of Science in downtown Havana, this dream of “maximizing” agricultural outputs in Cuba via industrial means was glaringly apparent. Over 40 scientists from many major disciplines of the life sciences gathered at the Fernando Ortíz Library, drinking shots of sweetened espresso and fanning themselves to stave off the heat. The first three presenters all represented the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB), a government supported research powerhouse that has been one of the few highly productive sectors of the Cuban economy over the last few decades.
Carlos Borroto, Deputy Director, summarized the position of the CIGB by describing the need to produce more food for a growing urban population whilst boosting the economy. “Five percent of Cubans now produce food for 100 percent of the population and while our meat consumption used to be 15 kilograms per capita it is now risen to 60,” he said. He then pointed to a graph depicting how profits and corn yields increased dramatically in Argentina and Brazil after the adoption of genetically enhanced varieties while the application of petrochemicals decreased. “High yields, low costs, that is what you call sustainability,” he said.
According to a source familiar with government’s agricultural policy who wished not to be named, recent high level delegations visiting Brazil’s agricultural sector (that is based heavily on transgenic crops and industrialization) is evidence that Cuba is considering this “sustainable intensification” as a model of agricultural development.
The debate is one which is instructive to all those interested in the idea of greater local economic and political independence and fair trade as a global model. The particular combination of techniques used by various parties under different types of agreements and contracts can lead to regional independence which will restore a degree of sovereignty to nations increasingly under pressure to conform to a single standard of "competitiveness". If, for example, Brazil can learn as much from Cuba as visa-versa then regional agreements in the area of oil production and distribution, medical sector development, financial sector independence, etc. will be complemented by an independence in the fundamental area of agriculture where each nation and region is able to produce enough to ensure a higher quality of life than that which is budgeted for by transnational corporations interested only in "downsizing" the workforce while maintaining imperial hegemony.
Another example of this dynamic, portrayed in a more even-handed presentation, is Ethiopia:
Land Grabs In Africa – A Double-Edged Sword
November 9, 2013 Posted by: Editorial_Staff
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 14.56 million hectares of Ethiopia’s 100 million hectare land mass is arable land, most of it cultivated by small hold, subsistence farmers.
International investors have taken note and are rushing to this country, once synonymous with starvation, to take advantage of the government’s new push to improve its agricultural production capacity. But many fear the government’s sale of arable land to foreign nationals will create a modern form of agricultural colonialism.
Liberalising food markets and boosting trade while discouraging protectionism for agricultural commodities is essential for the advancement of Ethiopia’s economy. However, it is unclear whether or not Ethiopians will actually benefit from the sale of their lands.
In the words of an unidentified farmer interviewed for a 2013 IDS working paper on agriculture in Ethiopia, in response to a question on the difference between those who live on the land compared to those who reap what the farmer sows: “Show me a person who became rich because they depended on farming. There is no one here. Those who are well-off are those involved in trading.”
His response cuts to the major issue facing Ethiopia’s push to attract foreign investors to its fertile farmlands: the locals providing the land for farming see very little of the profits, while the foreign investors selling the commodities grown on farmland purchased at cut-throat prices are literally reaping the benefits.
Ethiopia – Ancient, Booming But Undemocratic
November 20, 2013 Posted by: Editorial_Staff
That is the trouble with the modern media. Faraway places of which we know little are only shown to us when something bad happens. In the case of Ethiopia, the 1984 famine and subsequent hungers have fixed its image in the global mind. It is as if the image of the collapsing Twin Towers in 2001 typified America. But of course we have other, more positive, images of America but none of Ethiopia. So I tell them: “Ethiopia? It’s great. It’s Booming!”
Addis Ababa is being transformed as if by monstrous engines boring through the heart of the city. A new motorway flows into town sweeping aside all before it and an urban rail system is smashing through buildings, roads, gardens – everything accompanied by cranes and trucks, noise and dust. All along its path the traditional one-storey homes of mud, wooden planks and rusted corrugated iron roofs are bulldozed into heaps and replaced by six or more stories of concrete and brick. Hammering, grinding and showers of glittering acetylene sparks proclaim the arrival of armies of Chinese workers and the rise of mighty steel and glass constructions.
The lesser building sites are full of Ethiopian workers; some newly arrived from the rural areas. Addis used to feel like a timeless city. People hung around talking or walked slowly as if on a long stroll. Now they march the streets with speed and urgency. All seem to have watches and mobile phones. Even the poor seem to have purpose. I watched one man sitting by the roadside carefully stitching the seams of his disintegrating trousers with string. For the better off the vast market quarter, Mercato, is seething with bustle and business.
from Wikipedia, Physiocracy
Physiocracy is an agrarianist philosophy. In the late Roman Republic, the dominant senatorial class was not allowed to engage in banking or commerce but relied on their latifundia, large plantations, for income. They circumvented this rule through freedmen proxies who sold surplus agricultural goods.
After the decline of the Roman Empire, de-urbanization led to commerce ceasing and trade declining throughout most of western Europe. Economies became centered on agricultural manors where warrior-landlords, the medieval nobility, collected rent from their serfs in the form of produce. This was the dominant economic system until trade began to revive in the Late Middle Ages, fostering the rise of the merchant class.
Another inspiration came from China's economic system, then the largest in the world. Chinese society broadly distinguished four occupations, with scholar-bureaucrats, who were also agrarian landlords, at the top and merchants at the bottom (because they did not produce but only distributed goods made by others). Leading physiocrats like François Quesnay were avid Confucianists who advocated China's agrarian policies. Some scholars have advocated connections with the school of Agriculturalism, which promoted utopian communalism.
Quote Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America:
The Northeasterners' slave labor is now constructing the great trans-Amazonia highway that will cut Brazil in two, penetrating the jungle up to the Bolivian border. The "march to the west," as the plan is called, also involves an agricultural colonization project to extend "the frontiers of civilization"; each peasant will get ten hectares of land if he survives the tropical fevers. The Northeast contains 6 million landless peasants while 15,000 people own half of all the land. Agrarian reform is not carried out in the already occupied areas, where the latifundistas' property rights remain sacred, but in the jungle. Thus a road for the latifundio's expansion into new territory is being opened up by its victims, the flagelado, or "tormented ones," of the Northeast. Without capital or implements, what is the use of ten hectares one to two thousand miles from consumer centers? One must conclude that the government's real aims are quite different: to provide labor for the U.S. latifundistas who have bought or appropriated half the lands north of the Rio Negro, and also for U.S. Steel, which received Amazonia's rich iron and manganese deposits from General Garrastazu Medici. (In October 1970 the Bishop of Para denounced to the president of Brazil the brutal exploitation of Northeastern workers by contractors for the trans-Amazonia highway. The government calls it "the work of the century.")
The theory of land rent at the crossroads
Marx's Theory of Agricultural Rent
The Implications of Marxian Rent Theory For Community-Controlled Redevelopment Strategies
Quote William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich pg 228:
With Hugenberg’s dismissal in June 1933, Darre became Minister of Food and Agriculture. By September he was ready with his plans to make over German agriculture. Two basic laws promulgated in that month reorganized the entire structure of production and marketing, with a view to ensuring higher prices for farmers, and at the same time put the German peasant on a new footing – accomplishing this, paradoxically, by putting him back on a very old footing in which farms were entailed, as in feudal days, and the farmer and successive inheritors compulsorily attached to their particular plot of soil (provided they were Aryan Germans) to the end of time.
The Hereditary Farm Law of September 29, 1933, was a remarkable mixture of pushing back the peasants to medieval days and of protecting them against the abuses of the modern monetary age. All farms up to 308 acres (125 hectares) which were capable of providing a decent living for a family were declared to be hereditary estates subject to the ancient laws of entailment. They could not be sold, divided, mortgaged or foreclosed for debts. Upon the death of the owner they had to be passed on to the oldest or youngest son, in accordance with local customs, or to the nearest male relative, who was obliged to provide a living and an education for his brothers and sisters until they were of age. Only an Aryan German citizen who could prove the purity of his blood back to 1800 could own such a farm. And only such a man, the law stipulated, could bear the ”honored title” Bauer, or Peasant, which he forfeited if he broke the ”peasant honor code” or ceased, because of incapacity or otherwise, to actively farm. Thus the heavily indebted German farmer, at the beginning of the Third Reich, was protected from losing his property by foreclosures or from seeing it shrink in size (there being no necessity to sell a piece of it to repay a debt), but at the same time he was bound to the soil as irrevocably as the serfs of feudal times.
And every aspect of his life and work was strictly regulated by the Reich Food Estate, which Darre established by a law of September 13, 1933, a vast organization with authority over every conceivable branch of agricultural production, marketing and processing, and which he himself headed in his capacity of Reich Peasant Leader. Its chief objectives were two: to obtain stable and profitable prices for the farmer and to make Germany self-sufficient in food.
How well did it succeed? In the beginning, certainly, the farmer, who for so long had felt himself neglected in a State which seemed to be preoccupied with the interests of business and labor, was flattered to be singled out for so much attention and proclaimed a national hero and an honored citizen. He was more pleased at the rise in prices which Darre obtained for him by simply arbitrarily fixing them at a profitable level. In the first two years of Nazi rule wholesale agricultural prices increased by 20 per cent (in vegetables, dairy products and cattle the rise was a little more) but this advantage was partially offset by a similar rise in the things which the farmer had to buy – above all in machinery and fertilizer. As for self-sufficiency in food, which was deemed necessary by the Nazi leaders, who already, as we shall see, were plotting war, the goal was never achieved, nor – given the quality and quantity of German soil in relation to its population – could it ever be. The best the country could do, despite all Nazi efforts in the much-advertised ”Battle of Production,” was to reach 83 per cent of self-sufficiency and it was only by the conquest of foreign lands that the Germans obtained enough food to enable them to hold out during the second war as long as they did.