As the GMO rackets and the corporate media collaborate in pushing a GMO domination strategy for Britain, we’re again hearing the “Feed the World” Big Lie, and arguments about GM yields. But anyone who starts with the question “which yields more?” is already surrendering vast ground to corporate agriculture. He’s probably running a scam. The real first question is:
Does corporate agriculture have any intention of feeding the world? Even better – Could it feed the world even if it wanted to?
We already know, from fifty years of experience, that the answer is No. That food corporatism can feed the world has been empirically proven to be false.
(And why would the answer be yes? Corporatism’s goal is artificial scarcity, since only this makes profit possible. Anyone who actually wanted to feed people wouldn’t put the food system in the hands of profiteers. It takes a very strange kind of mind to say, “we need to make food more universally available, so let’s organize it according to a system which needs to make it more scarce!”)
Therefore, questions of yield are moot compared to questions of systemic ability and intent. Organic agriculture can feed the world and wants to. Corporate ag doesn’t want to and therefore, if only for that reason, cannot.
The terms “intrinsic yield” and “operational yield” are often used to denote, respectively, how much of a crop can be grown in theory, under optimal conditions, as opposed to how much is actually grown in the real world.
Here too, the concepts are hermetic and therefore meaningless until we include the limitations of politico-economic systems. Today’s operational yield really means, intrinsic yield under corporatism, or corporatism’s political intrinsic yield. This is far more than enough to feed the world, but since corporatism artificially restricts access to food, the political operational yield, i.e. the amount which actually gets to the people as a whole, is much less. (Meanwhile the physical intrinsic yield is a meaningless abstraction and distraction.)
Meanwhile, with a system based on Food Sovereignty, the physical and political operational yields would be identical, while the physical intrinsic yield would stand as the aspiration for a much higher actual distribution of food to the people.
Even if it were true that industrial ag technically outproduces organic, its actual, i.e. politically distributed, yield is vastly lower than what organic ag would produce under Food Sovereignty.
So the supporters of industrial and corporate agriculture systematically suppress the fact that the question of food is first of all a question of political/economic systems. They try all they can to frame the questions in order to rig the answers for corporatism and against the truly organic.
That makes it all the more impressive that organic production, even in spite of all the real-world political and economic barriers to it and assaults upon it, and in spite of the conceptual elisions and suppressions and riggings in the data, has been proven to be at least as productive as industrial, and often more so, even under adverse status quo conditions.