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It’s not scalable or practical, yet the food movement marches on

A recent Forbes article by Rich Karlgaard explains why effective teams are inherently small, whether it’s in the military or in business. He cites a lot of science but makes the case that humans are wired in our short-term memory to hold or capture five to nine pieces of information. As an example of this thinking, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, espouses a “two-pizza” rule. If it requires more than two pizzas to feed a team, the team is too big. 

Rich goes on to describe the mathematics of networks. He says that, with two members, there is one connection; with three members, there are three connections; four members equal six connections; and the numbers grow exponentially from there. With 16 members the connections grow to 256; and with 32 members, the connections rise to a staggering 1,024 connections.

Humans simply cannot handle that number of connections. That’s why, in most teams, people only typically keep up with five to six individuals. As the numbers grow, relationships quickly degrade. It’s also why socialism can only truly work on a very small scale – one in which all players are interconnected, buy fully into it and are willing to abide by its terms of shared sacrifice.

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I think the food movement is hampered by such mathematics as well. If you happen to live in one of those amazingly unique environments like Southern California, you might be able to get fresh, locally grown, organic vegetables all 12 months of the year. But, if you live in Phoenix, Chicago or New York City, you’ll be eating a lot of the same old stale items.

The food movement has seen by its adherents as being “morally cleansing,” in part because it involves sacrifice, costs more, and isn’t feasible for the vast majority of Americans. By its nature, it’s truly only practical for a select few. 

The irony is that its impracticality leads to a sense of superiority. We’ll likely never see the world change to more expensive and less abundant food supplies. Practicality, economics and science have a way of prevailing.

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However, it’s important to remember that the leaders in the food movement understand that. They merely want to coerce the current system to bend to their ideology. And they’re enjoying some success. The solution that the advocates of the food movement pursue, despite the fact that like socialism, their “solution” has been proven not to be scalable, is to convince everyone that the problem isn’t the failure of the ideology, but the existence of an alternative.

For socialism to succeed, capitalism must be destroyed. And for the food movement to achieve its aims, modern agriculture must cease to exist. 

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.

 

 

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