In June of 2020 the Australian ship called the Topas left the port of Queensland in Australia with 90,000 tons of coal as its cargo. Its destination was the port of Jingtang, where it was set to unload its coal, and then travel back to Australia over the course of a few days.
But that’s not what happened. Because once the topas reached the port of jingtang, it was not allowed into the Chinese port. So, it waited. One month passed, two months, 6 months, then 10 months. eventually, and the ship, and all its crew found itself being stranded at sea for nearly an entire year, with no end in sight.
And as it turns out, this event would foreshadow one of the biggest economic issues….that we are currently witnessing today.
But to explain why this event was so important, and why its creating a global crisis today…you must know that this crisis that we are currently experiencing… may have actually started with a small bird, just a few decades ago. A bird, that caused one of the biggest crises in history.
This is a Chinese Sparrow. In the 1950s, the chinese government didn’t know much about these birds except for one thing. What they found out was that these sparrows at on average 4 pounds of chinese grain per year, per bird. Now on its surface, this may not seem like much, when you consider that all the sparrows in china consume only a fraction of one percent of the grain in China. But at the time, the Chinese government did not like this at all.
You see, china in the 1950’s was trying its best to adopt communist economic policies, while becoming completely self sufficient in regards to its agriculture. So, in order to accomplish their goal, the banned the privatization of all agricultural production within the country. They also decided that all food shall be collected and then distributed by the government, they changed their farming techniques to match that of the soviet union, they decreased crop diversity to help boost production quotas, and lastly, they stopped trading resources with all western nations, in hopes of becoming self sufficient.
And all of the policy effects took place virtually overnight, which caused a massive shock to China’s agricultural system. And soon, China would begin to experience a decrease in food production, and a very serious national famine.
However, there was one thing that would push this crisis over the edge. And of course that was the sparrow.
Remember how the chinese government didn’t like that the sparrows ate a small amount of their grain? Well…as it turns out, the chinese government decided to order the extermination of all sparrows from the country, in hopes of boosting food production. And so…over the course of a few years, millions of sparrows in China were killed, and the sparrow became nearly extinct.
And it would not take too long before china realized it had made one of the largest mistakes in the countries history. This one single policy change, ended up making their famine even worse. You see, what china did not know, was that sparrows were the main predators for all of the pests in their crop fields. Meaning that as soon as the sparrows went away, the crop eating pests, mainly locusts, began swarming the entire country. And these locusts were not eating just a small fraction of one percent of the food. Some swarms literally destroyed entire farms or even villages of crops at a time.
And it was this event that ended up making the Famine in China turn into the Great Chinese Famine. A crisis that caused tens of millions of people to starve to death over a 5 year span.
All it took, was a few policy changes, and one hasty economic decision, to cause a crisis on a global scale…
And that brings us to today.
Remember that ship of the Topas, that we last saw being stranded at sea? Well, as it turns out, this was also because of a hasty economic decision that came from the Chinese government.
You see, in June of 2020, just a few months into the pandemic, Australian Prime Minister called for an investigation into the origin of pandemic in China.
Now this on its surface, may not have seemed like much of a story at the time, but in reality this would be the instigator for a global crisis.
Article by Jack Chapple,