a politically dangerous food crisis
A Banker Bets on Organic Farming
By MARK BITTMAN
It’s unlikely that large-scale changes in the so-called food system will happen without movement on the part of big investors. Sadly, most of these — like the corporations they support — take short-term, profit-maximizing views. (This, along with enthusiastic dabblers, is the basic reason we have bubbles.) But there are unconventional exceptions. Jeremy Grantham, the chief investment strategist for the unfortunately named G.M.O. (it stands for Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. LLC, and he is a company co-founder), is one of those.
Grantham, widely known in the investment community as a supercontrarian, came to my attention last month when I stumbled across an article he wrote in his firm’s quarterly newsletter entitled “Welcome to Dystopia! Entering a Long-Term and Politically Dangerous Food Crisis.” Next to this unexpected headline was a photo of (forgive the stereotype) an expectedly conventional-looking investment banker. Below it, however, were two quotes: one from Bob Marley (“Them belly full but we hungry . . .”) and one from Kenneth Boulding: “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” My attention was caught.
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