Coronavirus is teaching us one thing: nation states are insecure in the face of present-day pandemic shocks. They are as weak psychologically as they are confused scientifically. They find it difficult to prepare contingencies, and the resulting indecision can knock out entire economic systems. We will not starve, but thousands will lose their jobs and the nation will grow poorer. Security matters, and that includes food security. Lang has performed a public service.
There’s also exhausting repetition. Lang tells us six times in eight pages, for example, what Part Two of his book is going to communicate. The reader just wants him to get on with it. It’s a shame. David Attenborough’s TV pronouncements on plastic pollution are transforming attitudes - and Lang‘s arguments deserve a similar effect. But any hope that his new book might produce its own Blue Planet moment for the food industry looks likely to be dashed by its turgid style.