On the road…again!
Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek




The stimulus to attempt another chronicle of the Essays variety owes its impetus to both a previous posting on social media and to a dream about that posting.  Hectarage, as the purported major factor in the status of the world economy, was introduced, explained, and dissected by the author as the main driver in the wealth of nations.  Although the author may not have been an economist, his views and some supporting data by unnamed reference sources were presented, in part, below:

    My first revelation was the finite nature of our planet. Earth possesses 12.2 billion hectares of productive land and water. If we were to divide this by the 8 billion inhabitants, each person should have access to 1.52 hectares. However, this is far from the reality we observe today. For instance, individuals fortunate enough to be born in the United States utilize an average of 8.5 hectares per person, while the poorest individuals on Earth make do with a mere 0.8 hectares. In Italy, the average is only 3.8 hectares, significantly less than what Americans consume. I'm not passing judgment on who uses what, but it raises concerns about the implications as the rest of the world develops and increases its hectare usage.

    It appears that a great struggle will ensue as those below the average hectare usage seek to acquire more hectares as they progress. Where will these additional hectares come from? My belief is that they will be taken from the gluttonous through practices like exploiting cheap wages and inflating prices. Let's consider a recent example: over the past 50 years, wages have become interchangeable globally. Manufacturers can now opt for low-wage labor in Vietnam instead of high-wage labor in Kansas, leading to the erosion of America's manufacturing sector. This has resulted in dwindling opportunities in American cities and states, with young men missing from the work force and, even worse, grappling with addiction to opioids like fentanyl.

    Can the planet endure such a trajectory? Will humanity survive?

   This marks the initial stages of a leveling process in terms of hectare usage worldwide. As people in developing nations strive for better standards of living, they will inevitably require cars, desks, computers, and other amenities we often take for granted. Consequently, I predict that these masses from the third world will demand an ever-increasing amount of hectares. Competition for these scarce hectares will drive up prices, prompting a redistribution from the excessive consumers to the deprived ones.

    Unless substantial changes occur, the developed world can anticipate a loss of access to the hectares they have grown accustomed to, and this transition will undoubtedly be challenging.

There are two other possible scenarios: either significantly reducing the global population through war or disease, or placing our hopes in the potential salvation brought about by robotics and AI, or both!


The iconoclastic Footloose Forester was impelled to evaluate the posting in the spirit of Euripides to question everything, learn something, and answer nothing.


 Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.  (Euripides...circa 410 B.C.)


There were enough red flags in the posting to at least recognize that a legitimate debate might be worthwhile.  With some educational background in economics and a priori knowledge of the ups and downs of natural resources such as land, the Footloose Forester was willing to assuage his own conscience about how he thinks about hectarage. 

Some nameless economists believe that Gross National Product (GNP) is not the best and proper way to report on the apparent wealth of individual nations, probably because income and standard of living are not shared equally among all its citizens nor are they distributed equally across all parts of the land.  The same can be said about hectarage, the subject of this dream-induced chronicle.

The finite area of land throughout the world can be measured and gazetted in tables and lists.  The total land area of each nation can then be reported as containing so many hectare units.  However, the objective counting of gross hectares in no way assigns them all as having equal value.  High-value land in urban and industrial areas has an implicit economic value greater than barren or uninhabited lands.  That is to say, all hectares are not equally valuable in terms of purchase price or productive potential.  Hence, the proposition made by the author named Prosper Landsmore (fictitious name) is that nations vie for enhanced wealth by acquiring more hectarage per capita for their citizens as a mark of their success.

Living space in farmland and in cities is not comparable 


Bluntly put, there has not been nor will not be more hectarage available to sovereign citizens except through acquisition by war, bloodless conquest, or by legal purchase in the open market.  As Mark Twain once said, “Buy land because they aren’t making it anymore.”  Not that all hectares have the same static market value in rural areas as in cities; remembering that barren desert land will cost less per hectare than commercial property located in urban areas where the associated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of local economies enhances the prospective purchase price of vacant land.  The cost of land usually goes up but it can also go down.

To suggest that Americans or other nationalities enjoy more wealth because they have the advantage of more hectarage than small countries is to suggest that the size of one’s land holdings is the key to greater wealth.  The size of the patrimony or land base does not change except by war or purchase.  China is far greater in size and population than Brunei and its gross GNP is also much larger, irrespective of the living space per capita.  Sovereign wealth in each and every country can be determined by a host of factors but living space in hectares per person is a poor indicator.

The physical units of land and their geospatial locations cannot be transferred from one continent to another, hence; the hectarage will remain the same in each country. Regardless of the inherent size of purported living space per person as determined and calculated at the time the data are compiled, the individual hectarage as living space will decline as long as the in-country population increases; and if human attrition due to wars and pandemics does not exceed normal mortality rates.  The individual living space does not determine prosperity.     

A Vision From Heaven
Don't Confuse Me With Facts...My Mind Is Made Up

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