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What is the intellectual revolution all about?

• The Green Revolution, or Third Agricultural Revolution, is set of research technology

transfer initiatives occurring between 1950 and the late 1960s, that increased agricultural
production worldwide, particularly in the developing world, beginning most markedly in the late

• The initiatives resulted in the adoption of new technologies, including high-yielding varieties
(HYVs) of cereals, especially dwarf wheats and rices, in association with chemical fertilizers
and agro-chemicals,and with controlled water-supply (usually involving irrigation) and new
methods of cultivation, including mechanization. All of these together were seen as a 'package
of practices' to supersede 'traditional' technology and to be adopted as a whole.

Who are the key figures in the revolution?

• Both the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation were heavily involved
• One key leader was Norman Borlaug, the "Father of the Green Revolution", who received the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. He is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.
The basic approach was the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion
of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized
seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.

Norman Ernest Borlaug ( March 25, 1914 – September 12, 2009) was an American
agronomist who led initiatives worldwide that contributed to the extensive increases in
agricultural production termed the Green Revolution. Borlaug was awarded multiple honors for
his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the
Congressional Gold Medal.

How did the revolution advance modern science and scientific thinking at the time?

• Borlaug continually advocated increasing crop yields as a means to curb deforestation. The
large role he played in both increasing crop yields and promoting this view has led to this
methodology being called by agricultural economists the "Borlaug hypothesis", namely that
increasing the productivity of agriculture on the best farmland can help control deforestation by
reducing the demand for new farmland. According to this view, assuming that global food
demand is on the rise, restricting crop usage to traditional low-yield methods would also
require at least one of the following: the world population to decrease, either voluntarily or as a
result of mass starvations; or the conversion of forest land into crop land. It is thus argued that
high-yield techniques are ultimately saving ecosystems from destruction

What controversies met the revolution?

• Throughout his years of research, Borlaug's programs often faced opposition by people who
consider genetic crossbreeding to be unnatural or to have negative effects.Borlaug's work has
been criticized for bringing large-scale monoculture, input-intensive farming techniques to
countries that had previously relied on subsistence farming. These farming techniques often
reap large profits for U.S. agribusiness and agrochemical corporations and have been
criticized for widening social inequality in the countries owing to uneven food distribution while
forcing a capitalist agenda of U.S. corporations onto countries that had undergone land reform.

• Other concerns of his critics and critics of biotechnology in general include: that the
construction of roads in populated third-world areas could lead to the destruction of wilderness;
the crossing of genetic barriers; the inability of crops to fulfill all nutritional requirements; the
decreased biodiversity from planting a small number of varieties; the environmental and
economic effects of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides; the amount of herbicide sprayed on
fields of herbicide-resistant crops.