Sorry, I only just saw your comment!
I think Lysenko and Lysenkoism is completely fascinating, but kind of proves the quote above.
Lysenko was a biologist of sorts whose falsified, confused and just invented results on plants supported Stalinist and Marxist thinking on how people are not innate but created by environments, and then got brought into GOSPLAN to bring these insights to the economy. This is not because there was a lack of brilliant economists initially, just that those Stalin had were either cringing on his party lines, hidden in... (read more)
One thing that falls potentially into all three categories of difficulty is food stocks/reserves, which is an issue with high relevance to exposure to shocks and food insecurity, but really hard to track.
It's a tricky issue, but could really help many researchers inside and outside of EA to improve!
A few issues we have found which would be very useful to see developed are:
The USDA PSD and FAOSTAT both have estimates for crop year end, but as crop years do not line up effective stocks are higher than this figure. These results are based on a few... (read more)
There are EA groups working on food security as a system, such as ALLFED, however while some of the work looks at today's systems, much is concerned about future crop losses in the 5-10% range, up to nuclear winter and wars. It may be something to consider in the context of his tweet and your article, however it is more abstract than food aid today, more about designing ethical and resiliant ways to manufacture foods and the social systems needed to feed everyone in shocks - where the food equivalent of a bank run commonly occurs.