Critchfield, Richard
September 1982
Foreign Affairs;Fall1982, Vol. 61 Issue 1, p14
Academic Journal
The article discusses the emergent agricultural revolution being undertaken in developing countries with the aid of scientific innovations and approaches. If the 1920s and 1930s brought decisive change to American agriculture, the decade of the 1970s now is likely to be seen, if at a much lower level of technology, as the start of a similar turning point for many of the people of the Third World, particularly the Asians. These were the years when contraceptive devices the Pill and IUD, not widely available until the mid-1960s first reached the villages. Scientific agriculture did not fully win acceptance by Third World governments until the successful application of breakthroughs in tropical plant genetics in the late 1960s (and not until the late 1970s in China, where dwarf, fast-maturing, short-stemmed grain had to be crossed with local colder-climate varieties). For the Third World's agricultural revolution is coming just as millions of Americans are struggling to reconcile industrialized agriculture and its effect on rural society with emotions and values that lie deep in our past. A re-ruralization of the U.S. cannot, in followed more hesitatingly by the Malay-Javanese, with the Hindus in doubt but probably trailing behind. India, aside from its need for solar, hydroelectric and other energy technology, has the agricultural science; the Indian people inescapably have to solve the Hindu caste problem by themselves.


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