Space settlements and food security

Food security is defined by Wikipedia as “the availability of food and one’s access to it”. Usually we speak about individuals when we talk on food security, but we can easily extend this concept to societies at large. A society enjoys food security if there is enough food available for its members, and they have access to this food.

A society has two ways to ensure that the supply of food is sufficient: by producing its own food, or by importing such food. Once enough food is available, ensuring that each member of society has access to sufficient food is the big concern. The implementation of an adequate basic income guarantee will provide everyone with the means to buy food. Hence the sole concern would be availability of sufficient amount of food.

Related to food security is the concept of food power, which is the use of food as a mean to exert power. If country A depends on the import of food from country B, the latter country can exert power on country A by denying supply if A does not meet certain conditions establish by B. These condition might be unfavourable to A, and hence this country looses sovereignty.

Space settlements has to choose between producing or importing food.  If the latter option is chosen, the space settlements became vulnerable to the exertion of food power by Earth. In this way terrestrial governments might force space settlements to implement policies, which are in violation of their own preferences. If, however, the former option is chosen, a powerful weapon is denied to terrestrial governments to influence the (domestic) policies of space settlements.

If we want to implement the social reforms we desire in space settlements, such as our proposals for monetary and banking reform, it’s of great importance that these settlements have a certain degree of independence. Therefore space settlements should be able to produce their own food. In another post we will discuss how space settlements can grow food.

See also

Space settlements and vegetarianism

Molecular farming and Space colonization

8 thoughts on “Space settlements and food security”

    1. Too many would dismiss this as “trivial”, but countries as the US have seriously contemplated to use food power as a tool in a reaction to the OPEC made oil crisis.

        1. Water supply is probably the major cause of conflicts in these century, see for instance Singapore which has no internal fresh water supply and used to import its water from arch nemesis Malaysia. However, the problem of fresh water can be solved easily: 1st, 2% of all fresh water is located at Antarctica, shipping icebergs to countries in need of fresh water has been proposed since at least the 1950s. 2nd, solar desalination can produce fresh water from seawater at modest costs.

          1. Modest costs, but it requires space and time. If we can marry wave farms to desalination plants (which are hugely energy demanding) then we might solve some of the water problems for people close to the ocean.

  1. I agree with JZ, this is a very important consideration given that food can be a source of riots that eventually lead to destabilization of the government

  2. Given the harshness of space–I have been enjoying your posts. And, I will admit there are many thorny questions that you have considered. Keep up the good work.

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