Today, in America right now, we only can think of growth in quantitative terms. And in a resource-constrained environment, how frickin’ stupid is that? You’re actually imposing your own death sentence by not being able to get over the grip of this quantitative dynamic.
The United States plants more than 170 million acres of corn and soybeans a year, more than any country in the world. And the primary mechanism in the US that we use to subsidize agriculture is actually called the Federal Crop Insurance Program. So, the crop insurance program in the US is also the largest such program globally, with over $100 billion in liabilities annually. So it’s a very big program.
Why did we pick the theme? It seems that when I’m with René or other chefs, younger cooks come up to us and they always ask, “How did you do it?” Or, “Why did you become successful?” Besides it being a team effort, I think it all starts with the seed, a plant of an idea, you know, planting an idea.
We are a communal animal that’s developed to believe that it’s the center of the universe. And we behave as such. You know, we want to conquer, because our brain is wired to want to eat and fuck another day, you know what I mean. That’s what we’re wired to do. That’s where our evil comes from. It’s our animal roots that cause us to need things, and desire things.
We know very little about complex financial systems and how systemic risk, as it’s called, is computed and how you would manage policies. And if you look back at the financial crisis, you can either say, as many economists do, “It all had to do with badly-designed rules,” which may be part of the story; it’s certainly part of the story. Or it may have to do with the interaction of those rules and human nature, like mortgage broker greed, optimism… And you see it not just in individuals who now have houses and foreclosure, but at the highest levels.
Although our ultimate goal is protecting biological diversity on the land and protecting the integrity of these natural communities, the strategic way to get there is to prevent these ranches from being sub-divided. And it turns out the issue that these ranches are having, you know, they get together and talk and say, “Wow our neighbor over here sold out and that ranch got sub-divided…” every time that happens, it puts pressure on the remaining ranchers who want to stay in ranching.