China will build 2 Million hectares (20 billion square meters) of controlled environment greenhouses by 2025 and this will produce half of their vegetables and crop needs. Temperature, humidity, lighting would all be under controlled conditions. It would not matter if there were new extreme temperature swings outside or if there was drought. The needed food and water would be immune to any projected climate change over the next 500-1000 years.
Alibaba sells greenhouses for as little as 70 cents per square meter. The bulk, high volume cost to the manufacturer is about 50 cents per square meter. If installation labor costs are 50% of the 2 million hectare project then it would cost about $20 billion for the 2 million hectare project. $40 billion would be sufficient for China to make 40 billion square meters of climate-controlled greenhouses which could produce all vegetables and crops. It would cost $260 billion to make greenhouses for the food production of the entire world.
Indoor climate-controlled agriculture has almost no need for pesticides and uses 7% of the water. This would take up 3-5% of the total land area of open-air farming.
Additional funds could be provided for higher demand from population growth and for some level of automation, sensors and other systems.
There is an economic analysis of smaller scale greenhouse and vertical farming. The all-in delivered cost of a pound of greens grown in a commercial greenhouse is estimated to be $2.33 per pound. It cost $18.3 million to build 280,000 square feet (2.6 hectares) of commercial greenhouse in the USA. The total cost to grow would be just over $3.0 million per year for 2 million pounds of greens or $1.52 per pound. BrightFarms employs 165 people for the three greenhouses. $1.10 per pound consists of employee costs.
The cost estimates for greenhouses could be brought down to $1 per pound or less with large-scale construction. Below are costs for 2.8 hectare systems in the USA.
There is value to having national food security and not having to depend on imported food. Ten billion to twenty billion dollars per year in indoor farm subsidies closes the cost gap with open-air farming.
China’s controlled environment system will have a lot of automation and lower construction costs because of the massive scale and lower costs in China.
PNAS – Wheat yield potential in controlled-environment vertical farms Wheat growing is vastly more land and water-efficient but costs are not yet competitive with open-air farming.
Wheat is the most important food crop worldwide, grown across millions of hectares. Wheat yields in the field are usually low and vary with weather, soil, and crop management practices. We show that yields for wheat grown in indoor vertical farms under optimized growing conditions would be several hundred times higher than yields in the field due to higher yields, several harvests per year, and vertically stacked layers. Wheat grown indoors would use less land than field-grown wheat, be independent of climate, reuse most water, exclude pests and diseases, and have no nutrient losses to the environment. However, given the high energy costs for artificial lighting and capital costs, it is unlikely to be economically competitive with current market prices. Wheat grown on a single hectare of land in a 10-layer indoor vertical facility could produce from 700 ± 40 t/ha (measured) to a maximum of 1,940 ± 230 t/ha (estimated) of grain annually under optimized temperature, intensive artificial light, high CO2 levels, and a maximum attainable harvest index. Such yields would be 220 to 600 times the current world average annual wheat yield of 3.2 t/ha. Independent of climate, season, and region, indoor wheat farming could be environmentally superior, as less land area is needed along with reuse of most water, minimal use of pesticides and herbicides, and no nutrient losses.
Meat production could also be brought under climate control. The feed for cows, pigs, chicken and fish could be either brought into greenhouses or converted to insects. Insect feed can be twenty to one hundred times more space and water-efficient.
Meat can be converted into cell-based production in large vats. This would be similar to the industrial production of beer.
Bringing agriculture under indoor control would have trivial costs compared to the multi-hundred trillion dollar climate change mitigation plans.
There would be zero risk of mass starvation caused by temperature or drought-induced crop failure.
There may not be a need to bring all crops indoors. But if China brings half of all of their crops indoors in five years it clearly shows that civilization can bring all crops and farming indoors at any time. The cost as I have shown is less than 0.5% of global GDP for the crops and a few percent to deal with the meat and feed as well.
It is likely only truly economical (even with China’s mass production) to bring vegetable and fruit farming indoors. If China has indoor vegetable and fruit production at $1 per pound then other countries could follow at different levels based upon how cost-competitive indoor farming is against open-air farming for a particular crop. There is also the question if people will pay more for greenhouse crops. Greenhouses allow for year-round crop production. This means consistent prices and availability for fruits and vegetable year round. It also means indoor farms can be inside of cities for fruit and vegetables that are fresh from the tree and vine. The greenhouse crops would also be mostly or completely free of pesticides. Indoor farming share will grow as efficiency and costs are improved.
I think 20-60% of all crops (mainly higher-value fruits and vegetables) globally will go indoors by 2030 and gradually more as indoor becomes a lower cost and superior product to outdoor farming. Greenhouse farmed fruits and vegetables can have a higher quality versus outdoor grown fruits and vegetables.
Some of the advantages of protected culture greenhouse crops are:
Season extension is just one of the advantages gained from greenhouse growing. Protected crops are less apt to be damaged by wind, rain, and hail so the percentage of marketable products is higher. Yield is often higher as well, if you can provide optimum growing conditions for each crop. Greenhouses protect crops from many diseases, particularly those that are soilborne and splash onto plants in the rain. And greenhouse crops may be protected from common field pests. Of course, greenhouse crops have their own particular problems such as foliar disease, aphids, and whiteflies, so vigilance is still required.
SOURCES- Alibaba, PNAS, agfunder news
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
75 thoughts on “$500 Billion to Bring All World Crop Farming Indoors”
If we ever decide to produce the bulk of our food in greenhouses, the following shows an interesting path for the 'left over' land, rather than just letting it 'go wild'.
One point made in the video is that the management method actually achieves much the same end result as letting land return to wilderness, but a century or more faster.
Anyhow, I found the video pretty fascinating, wanted to share it.
The same companies that provide hardware and vertical farming solutions to farmers in China also operates in the US. The largest in China being a spun out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, they dont actually operate the farms.
As an avid organic farmer, I find this to be an interesting article. Perhaps in the not too distant future it would be practical.
China has the same land area as the US with less than 20% as much arable land to feed 4 or 5 times as many people. Plus, they want absolute control over their people and not to be dependent for trade on anything. This fits that agenda. Cost is almost a non-player.
I do expect that bulk commodities will eventually be produced in vats in "food factories," even in the western industrialized countries. Things like animal protein, starches, sugars, dairy-like products, and so on. Things that don't require a lot of structure, and most of these will be heavily processed into more familiar forms before the consumer sees them.
The have-nots will probably have less farm grown food (fresh fruits and vegetables) and will probably tend even more towards obesity than they do today.
That he has more money than he can use or keep track of?
So China is going to feed us now, as well as produce our goods and loan us the money. What's that old saying, "The lazy pay tribute."
Oh, and provide our security.
This is one of the few instances where solar updraft towers combined with sea water humidification might be applicable, if located near arid coastal areas like northern africa. You pump sea water over a cardboard honeycomb media at the air intake side of a solar updraft tower, cooling the air and evaporating the water, as inputs into the vast greenhouses that functionally form the collector area of the tower. You get food and power via wind turbines at the tower root, and depending on what happens to the humidity exiting the top of the tower, increased rainfall in various areas downwind.
Variants range from slipformed hollow concrete towers to stacked tube rings full of hydrogen to make it buoyant and rise to higher altitudes for more hot air siphoning.
North africa, the red sea, the persian gulf coastlines are all candidate areas.
You could even stick a SPS mesh rectenna on top of the greenhouses if you wish.
I haven't find any support for Yaron Brook implying avoiding accusation of discriminatory lending was a driver. It's not like people to deliberately avoid huge profits, but stumble into it thru coercion and fear.
Yaron Brook reduced a complex issue to a caricature as he rode his favorite hobbyhorse.
I never knew there was such a thing as "Ayn Rand Institute"
Actually, I am succeeding quite well. For over 40 years I have done two different radical ideas, one extremely hard science, and O'Neill. Think of O'Neill as the completion of Galileo, we are in Space. Even while on a planet, we are in Space. Space is far more than the Earth and other planets, it is also Space. Now, seeing this is very difficult for most. Many are alarmed by the thought of it. The immediate enemy is *small world* thinking, the utterly depressing prospect of living only on planets. It often directly leads to anti Space or even anti tech attitudes. "Save the World first". And a feeling of competition for the last scraps, wars and stuff. From experience, I expect only a few to see this at all. Wish it were more, but it is rather an important question, are we doing this in the right place? Let's do an experiment. Use your skills to convince Musk that Space is better than Mars, the really easy case. Then, teach me how to convince others that Space is better than Earth, O'Neill's finding. The starting point.
The points I am making about the tiny Earth are far beyond anything that would be making money yet. Only the things that have to do with relative costs launch v Space resource are in the current time frame, and even then limited to things used in Space, other than energy. Moon water is a big deal, Bezos is on it like a mad dog. Do you know of any entrepreneurs or start ups (other than Bezos) who could pass a simple pop quiz on O'Neill findings? I'm not even sure Diamandis could. Now, if they are all as fluent with O'Neill as launched things, we have a good starting point. Bezos was into O'Neill in HS, so before Amazon. Does that disqualify him?
Learn how to communicate with and actually convince Hew-mons. If you have space plans that are pissing off the Nextbigfuture community and can't them to get on board with your space technology vision then you have major communication problems. All of the executives and customers are Hew-mons.
Dismissing real economics and true earth based competition leads to plans and businesses that fail. Study entrepreneurship and look at space company startups and companies that are actually succeeding.
Air force and navy research are funding demos. Japan is working on it in labs. Caltech and Jaffe (USNRL) are heading to demos. There are some startups are trying to get this going. 2023-2030 this will happen at megawatt scale or greater. SpaceX Super Heavy Starship and the 2023 demos will have all of the needed pieces in place. Then it is execution and finding customers by entrepreneurs. It is not convincing the public and big NASA etc… It is customers and early adoption markets and scaling and execution. All the space dreams are going to be happening and we will find out which actually work as businesses. Costs, feasability and technology will not be limiting factors.
I am totally ignorant and unprepared for predicting the human reaction to these things. O'Neill plans could have easily advanced with matching rovers for the Moon with those of Mars, except the moon rovers would be far cheaper and simpler for the same info. Why have O'Neill plans not advanced? Humans decided to be wrong. 40 years wasted on this whole direction, as Mars is useless, almost uniquely. Unbelievable! Launched Space Solar may be interesting, but it is just for test and demo. When I am describing O'Neill, it is big solutions presented to the public so that they can see hope instead of *small world* stuff. Only ISM/RU can do that scale of Space Solar, relevant to global weirding. Only ISM/RU can free us of thinking we are limited to tiny planet surfaces. If you don't see the goal, you won't take the shot. O'Neill and Criswell are still the same, and things are certainly going their way. The big change was abandoning Mars First/Direct/Only a mere few years ago. Even some Musk fans on LabP are arguing that they should go to Moon first. Perhaps you could brag that you got Musk interested in O'Neill?
I have tried to work and help fundraise for someone who has a Space based solar plan. NASA NIAC felt it was not a grand enough vision for a new NIAC grant. It was "just" 3X-5X improvements on economics and it did not contribute to the larger NASA mission goals. Venture capitalists and angels did not get interested because it was taking too much investment to get to revenue. However, Virgin Galactic raised hundreds of millions in a SPAC. The fact that once the first $1-5 billion has proven things that this becomes wonderful means only Bezos or a few others or a SPAC can make this work. Far better if there is a clear plan to get on track with $2M-40M. The O'Neill plans have not advanced since the L5 heydays. The Criswell plan has been gathering dust for 12 years. Caltech's SSPP and Paul Jaffe are progressing to small demos. These things are progressing and evolving. I will cover the recent Caltech SSSP shortly.
Bezos is the Blue Origin/Blue Moon 50 min youtube. (edit: each of the Navy, Army and Space Force have separate but related Space Solar projects)
I am for it if it reduces the impact of farming on the environment.
Spolar and/or seasteading look like they might intersect well here
Why do so many commenters jump to "Greenhouse agriculture = highly centralized".
I don't see that it needs to be more centralized than irrigation agriculture.
Irrigation often involve large systems that bring water to many moderate sized farms. Though it can sometimes be done with quite small systems.
Similarly in a cold climate you might use the waste heat from a large power plant to heat a large area of green houses, but the green houses could be owned & operated by one large agribusiness corporation or many small ones. Also one could scale the green houses to the size of the power plant, see 'Small Modular Reactors'.
that being said: I do believe upcoming improvements in cheap battery tech, solar, multi-fuel generators, water filters (now), and full/ ubiquitous service/ cheap cel connectivity with individual phones for all could resonate with cultures of decentralization and ongoing subsistence issues – creating a foundation for an entrepreneurial/ industrial/ commercial network.
AGreed. Even opportunities to install Charter Cities – small urban encampments (based on G7 legal systems and ordering – like embassies) meant to provide guidance, an example system, direct education/ employment, and a source of income have been consistently met with Hurt Pride and Accusations of Neo-Colonialism. Ho-hum. I suppose some (many) would rather 'fail' on their own terms than 'win' on an anyone else's.
Ah. Spoken like a truly sheltered and Entitled 9-year old: "daddy, why can't All the animals be vegetarians","daddy, if we give the poor people money, they won't be poor anymore","daddy, if everyone was nice to everyone else, there wouldn't be any crime".
Bizarre conclusion. Countless years of Aid, endless piles of free technological upgrades and idea transfers, armies of peace force workers, generations of foreseeable disasters unplanned against, countless internal and neighborly conflicts, consistently unmangeable birth rates, indomitable culture of tribalism and self-gratification, and unending lack of social structure and cohesive planning — how could these communities, regions, and countries consistently be poor, broken, and directionless??? it boggles the mind.
technological (and by extension, civil/cultural) society evolves through the profound irritation of 'designed/ implemented obsolescence' — the necessary evil of admitting that there is always a better way and that unless you get it done, someone else will do it and take your market share. Productivity and Ingenuity Angst — the cause of and solution to All Life's Miseries.
The System evolves by successfully making the victim a perp of the *same* Pain that led to it, rather than to some other competing, as it were, ritual behavior. The ritual that causes the most Pain wins by forcing the less powerful ritual to the sidelines, until the whole affected human group goes extinct. These are precise rituals, as they must lead to reproduction of their form. Think self domestication to see an example of the long term effects, over 7 million years, this has had on humans. Our only *big* reason to be this way is to slowly evolve a more general, slow because epigenetic/genetic change is slower than cultural ritual change, esp with language, response of positiveness, which I call Love.
Something very like the Weltgeist, but which actually exists in a measurable and experimentally manipulable way, is the System of Repression that is our coevolved human companion. Not sure if symbiot, not full parasite, or part of bigger picture, saving the Earth. It is why we differ so drastically from chimps, and all other healthy animals. See Janov for details.
Yes, that's what forced it. Many people noted the looming problem even before the crash.
"The CRA forces banks to make loans in poor communities, loans that banks may otherwise reject as financially unsound. Under the CRA, banks must convince a set of bureaucracies that they are not engaging in discrimination, a charge that the act encourages any CRA-recognized community group to bring forward. Otherwise, any merger or expansion the banks attempt will likely be denied. But what counts as discrimination?
According to one enforcement agency, "discrimination exists when a lender's underwriting policies contain arbitrary or outdated criteria that effectively disqualify many urban or lower-income minority applicants." Note that these "arbitrary or outdated criteria" include most of the essentials of responsible lending: income level, income verification, credit history and savings history–the very factors lenders are now being criticized for ignoring."
So, the Act didn't literally say, "You must make bad loans!", it merely made issuing them the only way to avoid being accused of discriminatory lending.
Poor countries cannot afford this type of investment. Nor, could they provide the ongoing maintenance required to make it work. There is not a dialect in Africa that can translate the words "Preventive Maintenance". It's not part of their culture.
The South African Electrical Grid was turned over to the native population. It required preventive maintenance on a 7 year schedule. Exactly 7 years later, Power began to fail. Today, rolling blackouts are just part of living in Cape Town.
That seed science and biofuel development were major drivers of the farmland acquisitions?
"Mortgage lenders were forced to relax their lending standards"
Which particular regulation forced them?
"Community Reinvestment Act(1977)" & "Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act(1989)" did not require banks to make subprime loans nor ask them to lower their lending standards.
Knowing about even rudimentary O'Neill has a few immediate results. You forget Mars, except for science. You forget 0 g living long term. As proof that Space is a *target rich* environment for good stuff, studying 0 g long term, for Mars, led to ISS with people long term in 0 g. They are doing 0 g experiments that would take decades with robots. Now, there is no reason to await results of human long term 0 g, as it is never encountered in O'Neill Space voluntarily (edit: in-voluntary. Remember, don't use no double negatives), but the 0 g experiments are a true bonus, very popular, and there is clamor for more orbital facility for more of this kind of thing. ISM. Are we going to have a lunar base on he Moon surface, or in Lunar Halo Orbit? Seems like an important question at this very time. Is the surface of a planet, such as the Moon, the right place for this?
"What was new was the financial deregulation that led to the big collapse in 2008."
That isn't just wrong, it's hilariously backwards. What led to 2008 was actually regulation. Mortgage lenders were forced to relax their lending standards, which led to a proliferation of bad loans, creating a housing bubble that finally popped.
Not every time is the victim, some times is the system itself
"Find 10% for the deposit on a SpaceX rocket and start proving the first parts of this." Or, perhaps NASA/DARPA could. Lots of stuff has been checked out since 1977. The O'Neill outlook has been hilariously ignored, as in the "Fresh Look" Space Solar (Solar Power Sat) study of the 90s. When announced, it was stipulated that lunar resource use was too *far out* and would not be considered. I laughed and ignored the study. You know from O'Neill that In Space Resource Use is done both to avoid launch costs, initially, and to avoid tiny Earth shortages of material overall. When the study was released, it had found that SPSs were too expensive because of high launch costs. Really! Now, the military is still worried about launch costs for their Space Solar, but they may be able to think of something. They are seeing the ISM advantage, as it is absolute, not merely about costs. But they will start with launched raw materials, good for testing for sure!
No, unions, students uprising, BLM (which is nothing else than the embodied universal struggle for emancipation of the oppressed) are at least a hundred years old. What was new was the financial deregulation that led to the big collapse in 2008. When you see discontent among entire masses of people, the blame maybe is to be placed elsewhere, like on the structure itself, and not on the individual. Opportunity, yes, but for whom to do what?
"You could load lightweight solar into the 100 ton payload capacity and start bootstrapping this stuff." This brings up an interesting driver, with an unexpected result. The driver is that cheaper launch means more can be launched, pretty obvious. The unexpected result is that cheaper launch means that *bootstrapping*, extraterrestrial resource use, is more urgent, not less. With expensive launch, In Space Resource Use is needed to save money. With cheap launch, ISM/RU is needed for a more direct O'Neill reason: Earth is tiny, not enuf resources *even with* free launch, too hard to build stuff. Cheap launch means we need to get to Space based economy before we cost ourselves out. Have you seen the price of Nickel! Outrageous, why I can get that stuff from NEOs for free!
If you were to understand O'Neill (thanx for correct spelling!) rather than *know* about him, sort of like *knowing* where a book is rather than having read it, you would know that heavy launch means faster start of O'Neill, not somehow that he was wrong, or any delay was justified. There probably will be some demo projects, but Space Solar is same as big comm sat. Criswell for example sez demo is waste of time, we understand it. Same for power beaming, same as military radar. DARPA and military more going for ISM studies, primarily for Space Solar orbital, but not with Space Resources, just launched raw material at first, but good. They say there has been no significant engineering study of ISM yet. THAT is a big problem! Bezos may take your advice on buying Musk rockets, unless his turn out just as good. His engines are already better. (edit: all of Bezos stuff is designed to be crew rated from the start. New Glenn will be FH sized crew rated rocket. His reuse is superior in two ways, better (moving) landing barge, better already tested landing guidance system, altho Musk can do this too) Criswell high *break even* estimate, before Musk launch costs, was .5 T $ 10 years ago. NOT multi hundred T as you state, to solve the climate weirding problem totally. All of this is far more likely than fusion, which you DO cover extensively, in climate salvation. Could already have Space Solar if we had started in 1977.
You are wrong on two counts, there are finally O'Neill efforts, exactly as he stated in 1977, by Bezos and even DARPA. And, you merely restate the problem, that this all did not start in 1977. Nothing important has changed since then as far as whether to start O'Neill. Pointing out that people are collectively pretty slow mentally does not justify being pretty slow mentally!
Now, the nuclear material needs to go off world.
Something I saw at phys.org, IIRC. You can put some solar film on greenhouses as a two-get.
Now…why not go for a three-fer?
Imagine a coal plant that exhausts into a greenhouse with crops modified to work in an all CO2 environment. Phytomining removes rare earths. The greenhouse is vast. Some of it forming a giant Arecibo dish with a central tower. Nearby is a river…Russia had three huge rivers up north. Nickel/Iron battlolysers … batteries that store power and make hydrogen…are also there.
Everything works together
Something like this will become necessary just to stop the continual genocide of insect species that we are doing. We will either have to separate ourselves from the insects or start eating them.
Dan, of course I know about the O'Neill and I know about the lunar solar power plans. Power beaming over large distances has not been done at any significant power level. SpaceX Super Heavy Starship will make orbital and lunar space transportation far cheaper. You could load lightweight solar into the 100 ton payload capacity and start bootstrapping this stuff. Especially with any rudimentary construction capability. Find 10% for the deposit on a SpaceX rocket and start proving the first parts of this.
You are fantasizing here. There are no O'Neill-ian space settlement and ISRU efforts ongoing yet, there won't be for a while.
Poor countries would be better off in the short term by just catching up with Western technologies and methods, and avoiding the traps of Luddite ideology neo-colonialism.
That's precisely the root of the victim culture.
It must be always someone else's fault, and any charlatan deceiving people with that pleasant lie will gain a lot of followers.
Wisdom and individual responsibility are as scarce as ever.
it's called a business plan. Calculate your costs, find a product that makes a profit, and sell. Most businesses create better products just because their in-house costs have risen and they are forced to seek out better customers. And thus the world improves.
meh. unions, BLM, students, anti-trumps, anti-immigration, and other such malcontents just wanted a day-out or 2 to let off steam: "Rioting for Fun and Profit". The world is full of more opportunity than ever before – it is just that far fewer people are working for it and are therefore falling behind among a perceived inequality that they brought upon themselves. With easy remote-everything — people are fools not to embrace multiple opportunities – and giving only lip-service to the government, big business, and other groups that 'think' that there is no other opportunity than them. People who fail in this environment (at least in the G20) have no-one to blame but themselves.
i, for one, believe that the commercial-retail-entrepreneurs of the US, UK, and Canada have too much creativity and desire to be different that an over-riding megaCorp could ever completely squash — it will just manifest itself differently post-covid and post-online-domination — such as not taking up expensive storefronts on main streets. Also, they could work together – mom-pop storefronts could carry the most wanted items, supplied easily by amazon on things bought live (clothes, tools, and toys) and then include their own items, foodstuffs, etc. In-person shopping will never die – its part of being 'out there'. Besides mall owners and commercial landlords needed a reckoning on their tenant rents.
agreed, but the efficiency and opportunity of the new-build construction and its performance on crop success would likely pay for itself and encourage an entire industry of 'new and improved' designs – witness farm field equipment from 1950 to now. When you have something that depends on the specs (light transmission, condensation management, ventilation…etc., of its walls, roof, and interior conditions/ irrigation — you are always seeking to upgrade.
Long-tail seams rather irrelevant. There are big social problems in the westernized countries that originated after the big financial crises in 2008 (they gave rise to new populists and far right leaders, yellow vests, trumpism etc) pointing to the fact that decentralized mode of organisation passed its pick
not convinced that poor countries would accept such high-maintenance, high tech, standardized type of intervention (even based on improving education and wealth) — similar to the rejection of widespread reinforced concrete structures (outside of high density cities) in the 1950 – 1980s. Technology has to work with the local culture – some cultures are not into high-output, highly consumerist industrial models. People, of many non-G7 cultures, know how much they want to work, how much they produce, what their neighbors are doing, and what kind of technology and innovation is welcome. Beyond providing for moderate needs and allowing for some minor entrepreneurialism and shows of wealth — a techno-utopia – in exchange for a 40+ hour work week with focused division of labor – does not really appeal. Apart from some high-visibility forms of status – vehicle, phone, clothes; other forms of G7 comfort and convenience are not really that valued. Though:
"We" the O'Neill people, following his plan for Space Solar. A fusion plant exists, and Criswell has specific tech valid plans to use it. The rectennae would be at least 50% of the investment, perhaps 80% as Musk rockets make the Space part cheaper. Thus, poorer people will be able to build and own the rectennae, and invest in or buy the rest of a complete nationwide electric collection and distribution system. Totally free manufactured nukes (not currently avail) will boil water which costs more than Space Solar total to convert to electricity and distribute. Nukes may be good for heat, tho.
Yes. Therefore the response seems to be help other countries to be in the same route towards development Brazil took.
And that requires surprisingly little intervention: just don't impose unreasonable sanctions on things that help them develop (like carbon taxes and similar levies), and avoid promoting/imposing laws and ideologies with second intentions, the kind that while saying to "help", actually hinder their development. Like bans on nuclear energy or GMOs.
Fostering free exchange, fair trade and human rights in all commercial exchanges will also go a great length towards helping them develop all by themselves.
The devil, here, is in all of the associated upkeep costs. Structures don’t last forever and don’t maintain themselves. I’d figure on rebuilding these every twenty years.
Bill gates buying farmland should tell you something…
not convinced. too many entrepreneurs that 'just want to do their own thing' and enough consumers to buy 'artisan' . The long-tail lives on in G7/ westernized countries.
There was this '60 Minutes' episode about 'The City Of The Chocolate Eaters', which is a massive, atomic bomb fuel manufacturing complex, which was designed to keep cranking out refined Plutonium, even in the event of a World War III with the USA. After the 'Cold War' ended, it was largely abandoned, but it's still cranking out tons of refined nuclear fuel. So, if various new companies are making miniature nuclear power reactors, why not use them to provide heat and electricity, for a massive vertical farming complex, that they can build about 'The City Of The Chocolate Eaters', which already has all of the things needed to prevent any weapons grade Plutonium from being stolen. In theory, if your have an unlimited power source like that, you could recycle all of society's organic wastes into fertile compost, and use it grow food crops for most of Russia!
I sympathize with your concern, but the populations of the US, UK, and Canada, etc., would never embrace a standardized, hyper-regulated, top-down type of agricultural/food system (outside of minimum health); people just enjoy variety, entrepreneurialism, individuality, and the pursuit of a competitive-product/service environment too much. I know that its passe/ cliche to say that the US-protestant-work/etc values -and- Chinese cultural values are very different, but they truly are. Most chinese consider the government as a member of the family/ community; just trying to do well by their people – with the censorship and over-riding order as a kind of 'tough love', unfortunate and irritating and frustrating but meant to facilitate togetherness and growth. It's a shame they became so sensitive to foreign pressures and opinions and judgement.
The amazon thing is a bit different; they are the easy and low-hanging fruit of our capitalist-consumerist culture. I am typically unsympathetic with the notion that the walmarts of the country destroyed many main street small 'quaint' businesses and mom-pop shops — as to anyone that has frequented them, these boutiques are mostly miserable, poorly run and inefficient — with mediocre to crotchety customer service; though some one-off, truly original places likely suffered. The point: monopoly behavior — is amazon fitting a need and basic desire for service that we should really expect, or are they blatantly destroying all competition?
Sounds like a great leap forward to me.
We who? And Brazil does not need to be supplied with electricity. We just need to have more nuclear powerplants. All the 150 meter tall wind generators built in my state are pretty, but start to becoming an eyesore due to the huge area they occupy. And producing a fraction of Itaipu…
And the electricity is only useful for mechanized agriculture… which is o for Brazil, as most agriculture billionaires with huge areas already have mechanized hi tech agriculture.
The problem is larger in poorer countries, where small landowners don't have mechanization and larger landowners are foreigners who take a big slice to their own countries.
Plus, selling them hi tech greenhouses and machinery, while they sell back 20 years of production to repay the fertilizers only will not help
Don't know if you have noticed but centralization is winning, countries that will not welcome the Weltgeist will fall into backwardness. It's happening now.
If every country does this and become self-sufficient, what will become of the quarter trillion in ag exports between America and the Netherlands?
That's a lot of dividends to give up for a more "secure" future.
Not all beneficial progress is equally beneficial to all people.
It's important to understand that a major reason China is probably doing this, is a major reason we shouldn't: They're setting out to centralize food production, to get an even tighter stranglehold on their population.
That's not something we want happening here. We do NOT want food production to end up as concentrated as Amazon, or social media.
This are China costs probably not true for many parts of the world. You still need a power irrigation system and electricity for lighting anywhere you try to do that, of course you can design systems with renewable energy and batteries to overcome that when there is none, but with a significant added cost. Obviously that will become next world project, deeply infiltrating many third world countries food supply and gaining a lot of power and influence along the way.
We need to supply them with electricity, not replace what they sell. Space Solar would make them more efficient, with far less footprint, and a path to further development, such as greenhouses.
"a viable Earth to Moon transportation network, the start of an extractive and productive economy in space etc." That is exactly Bezos' plan! He has just tested the lunar lander deep throttle H engine. His big gas engine will probably be the first such engine to be used in an orbital launch booster. He is supplying the lander, crew rated. Set up to use lunar water and refuel. Refuel in lunar orbit! Live and work there. Nothing to do with Mars, which has been our focus for forty wasted years.
Poor countries often survive on exporting commodities.
If rich countries go all indoor farming, they will simply exterminate less developed and developing countries farming sector, increasing poverty ten fold
as libertarians observe, "War is the health of the State".
"plans that never pan out." A plan does not "pan out" when it is tried and some unexpected problem or weakness occurs, and it fails but not really too bad. O'Neill has been suppressed completely by Mars stuff, a true failing plan as we no longer even talk about it. In fact, the ISS doing O'Neill stuff in the 0g science/mfg area , ISM, is the big "pan out" story so far, not the finding that unneeded 0g living is hard or impossible. As we finally start looking at In Space Resource Use, the clear superiority of O'Neill's plan will be apparent to all. It will and already is succeeding.
I'm thinking we had started in 1977 with everything you mention except the launch being radically better. The rest is classic O'Neill, same now as it was then. Check it out. Nothing has changed in O'Neill outlook. Time to go do it. This is designed to avoid launch, not rely on it, but good launch certainly helps. I not only would love to see it happen, I am working for it instead of sitting on the sidelines and pointing out that O'Neill has been ignored successfully so far, for over four decades. "concrete steps towards the desirable situation" would start with a little more public education about the obvious O'Neill findings. Big question now is whether lunar base is orbital or on a planet surface, the Moon's. Is the surface of a planet the right place . . .? Always a good starting question, where do we do this?
This looks viable, if everyone had a standard of living like Singapore's.
There simply is too much poverty and illiteracy yet, to allow everyone to adopt these methods. We still need cheaper, easier methods.
But they are cool, and I fully endorse research on reducing our ecological footprint and producing more food.
If the developed countries start producing huge amounts of food from less, proving the methods can work, they can be copied and exported elsewhere.
Most poor countries are also gradually getting less poor and more educated. If war or corruption don't get on their way.
About it! We could solve hunger for half the US defense budget! But then you would have peace and prosperity on earth and the MIC wouldn't like that
Unfortunately, I see these plans as only viable once we have developed a radically different space launcher market and space economy, with reusable rockets, much lower cost per pound to LEO, and a whole lot of other things, like a viable Earth to Moon transportation network, the start of an extractive and productive economy in space etc.
We are too early in the process right now. And still with many unknowns if all or some -or none- of these goals are actually achievable.
Of course, I would love to see that happen. But after so many over-optimistic projections from the past, I'd prefer to see some concrete steps towards the desirable situation, rather than get excited about plans that never pan out.
"Bringing agriculture under indoor control would have trivial costs compared to the multi-hundred trillion dollar climate change mitigation plans." Altho probably not less than this effective and huge profit making ~ 1 T $ start up cost plan. Why not do this, get energy for the greenhouses too! Have you ever heard of it?
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