Massive food producers hold too much power – and the regulators scarcely understand what is happening. Sound familiar?
For the past few years, scientists have been frantically sounding an alarm that governments refuse to hear: the global food system is beginning to look like the global financial system in the run-up to 2008.
While financial collapse would have been devastating to human welfare, food system collapse doesn’t bear thinking about. Yet the evidence that something is going badly wrong has been escalating rapidly. The current surge in food prices looks like the latest sign of systemic instability.
The FBI’s Cyber Division issued a warning about potential cyberattacks on agricultural cooperatives and food plants amid increasing media coverage of recent fires and explosions at food processing plants across the United States.
“Ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons, disrupting operations, causing financial loss, and negatively impacting the food supply chain,” the FBI’s recent notice said (pdf), adding that ransomware attacks in 2021 and early 2022 could disrupt the planting season by affecting “the supply of seeds and fertilizer.”
“A significant disruption of grain production could impact the entire food chain, since grain is not only consumed by humans but also used for animal feed,” the bureau also warned, adding that “a significant disruption of grain and corn production could impact commodities trading and stocks.”
Psychotherapists figured out a long time ago that a roundabout approach is necessary if you want to tease out the origins of any serious psychological problem. You won’t get there by any direct approach, since the defensive maneuvers the patient uses to keep from thinking about the real source of his problems will keep you from getting there either. That’s why dreams, slips of the tongue, and the like played so large a role in psychotherapy, back before the medical profession stopped helping people understand their problems and settled for the more lucrative option of drugging them into numbness instead. That strategy is also a viable option when the craziness we need to understand belongs to a society—ours, for example—rather than an individual.