Imagine a biologist with a brilliant idea: perfect a strain of each major food crop so that each gives the best possible yield. Solve world hunger, right? End poverty! Now imagine that he’s so successful that pretty much every field in the world grows his crops.
The only real problem with an agricultural monoculture is a nasty susceptibility to things going wrong. All your eggs in one basket, as it were.
And that basket turns out to fail horribly a few decades later, when nobody really expects it.
Several of the poorer countries stopped answering phone calls entirely. The governments that were already a little wobbly just fell right over. Even the richer nations, buttressed with cash and nonperishable supplies and the infrastructure to ration what was left, saw a sharp drop in population. Gardening books actually got checked out of libraries.
It was really a shame when the Z-Virus decided to show up, because the human race was just about getting back on its feet.
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