‘All right, […] let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of agriculture.
Advantage: Controllable food supply. You might have droughts or floods, but if you’re growing the crops and breeding them to be hardier, you have a better chance of not starving.
Disadvantage: In order to keep feeding people as the population grows you have to radically change the environment of the planet.
Advantage: Especially if you grow grain, you can create a food surplus, which makes cities possible and also the specialization of labour. Like, in the days before agriculture, everybody’s job was foraging, and it took about a thousand calories of work to create a thousand calories of food, and it was impossible to create large population centres.
But, if you have a surplus, agriculture can support people not directly involved in the production of food. Like, for instance, tradespeople, who can devote their lives to better farming equipment, which in turn makes it easier to produce more food more efficiently, which in time makes it possible for a corporation to turn a profit on this ninety-nine cent double cheeseburger. […]
Some would say that large and complex agricultural communities that can support cities and eventually inexpensive meat sandwiches are not necessarily beneficial to the planet or even to its human inhabitants. […]
Advantage: Agriculture can be practised all over the world, although in some cases it takes extensive manipulation of the environment, […] irrigation, controlled flooding, terracing, that kind of thing.
Disadvantage: Farming is hard. So hard, in fact, that one is tempted to claim ownership over other humans and then have them till the land on your behalf, which is the kind of non-ideal social order that tends to be associated with agricultural communities.’