Free To Choose Network | Johan Norberg's New and Improved - Artificial Fertilizer
Johan Norberg's New and Improved
Artificial Fertilizer
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Why did countries go to war over bird droppings in the 1800s? In this episode of Johan Norberg’s New and Improved, Norberg shares the extraordinary history and jaw-dropping numbers behind artificial fertilizer.

In the 1800s, over-farming left farmlands depleted. It was found that bird guano could reinvigorate the soil, but its scarcity led to violent conflict. After years of work, chemist Carl Bosch invented a machine that could mass-produce an artificial alternative…from air!

Before the invention of artificial fertilizer, the earth could feed around 4 billion people. Today it feeds nearly double that. Individuals free to pursue their interests and building off their predecessors set the stage for the abundance we enjoy today.

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