El fusil de Malthus

WASHINGTON – La ciencia y la tecnología transformaron la agricultura profundamente en el siglo XX. En la actualidad, gran parte de la agricultura del mundo desarrollado es una empresa en gran escala: mecanizada, controlada informáticamente y basada en un uso complejo de la química y de los conocimientos de la fisiología de las plantas y del suelo.

La invención de los fertilizantes químicos a comienzos del siglo y su utilización en aumento, junto con la mecanización y la creación de variedades de cereales muy productivas, contribuyeron al aumento de la productividad agrícola en el mundo desarrollado. La “revolución verde” brindó esos beneficios a naciones menos desarrolladas.

Gracias a ello, y pese a la triplicación de la población mundial, hasta ahora nos hemos librado de la predicción de Malthus en 1798 de que el aumento de la población humana superaría inevitablemente nuestra capacidad para producir alimentos. A lo largo de la segunda mitad del siglo XX, los hambrientos de la Tierra se redujeron de la mitad de sus 3.000 millones de habitantes a menos de 1.000 millones de sus actuales 6.500 millones.

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