To many people of the year 2010 the 1953 book, The Road to Abundance, is a heretical, nightmarish vision of the future. Chemicals and factory farming are seen as the logical next step in the evolution of food production for mankind.
Jacob Rosin, co-writing with Max Eastman, describes the eventual "victory of chemistry over agriculture," and mankind's "bondage to the planet." The ultimate goal of Rosin's ambition was to be "more efficient than nature." In his advocacy of a completely synthetic diet Rosin called into question both the definition and the benefit of "natural foods."
It is therefore high time to remove the cloak of holiness from natural foods, and see them as what they are: a poorly assorted mixture of chemicals containing a large amount of indigestible materials, and a certain proportion of materials injurious to our health. This mixture has been, unfortunately, indispensable for our nutrition, since we have been unable up to now to obtain the chemicals required by our organism in a form entirely digestible and devoid of poison.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, each time I read a book like The Road to Abundance I can't help but imagine what the grocery stores of 2010 would look like had different marketing forces prevailed. One can picture yuppies and hipsters walking the aisles of a grocery store in some alternate universe, content in knowing that their unnatural, Certified Inorganic™ food was scientifically proven to maximize this and detoxify that. SuperPills: The All-Synthetic Food Emporium!
Previously on Paleo-Future:
- "Factory" Farms of the Future (1961)
- That Synthetic Food of the Future (1928)
- Farmer Jones and the Year 2000 (1956)
- Closer Than We Think! Fat Plants and Meat Beets (1958)