Despite the harm it has caused there is little sign that the Green Revolution will slow down any time soon; with a taste of the addictive idealism, David Nally summarizes its historical progress.
"The Green Revolution can be broadly defined as a great transformation in the organization of agriculture that took place during the early to mid twentieth century. The transformation was attendant upon the adoption of high-yielding varieties of major crops – especially wheat, maize and rice – and the application of scientific principles to their cultivation. While it is important to recognise that human beings have always organized themselves and adapted their environment to meet the needs of food production, the Green Revolution represents both a qualitative and quantitative intensification of those efforts. That is to say, the Green Revolution marks an effort to control, manage, and engineer biotic life in order to complement the new ideal of industrial living. Where did this model of agricultural change originate? And how did it achieve hegemonic status so quickly?
'To understand the changes in agriculture we need to understand the great changes to production that followed in the wake of the industrial revolution: the regimentation of labour to suit the nascent factory system; the ‘scaling up’ of the business enterprise and, consequently, the cannibalisation of small artisanal workers; the full exploitation of mechanical and technical innovations to increase the speed and quantity of production; an acceptance of the norms of capitalism including the commercialisation of many social functions; faith in the utility of science, lay expertise and the inevitability of progress – these are just some of the great changes witnessed in cities like Chicago and Manchester and later globalised around the world."--David Nally, HistPhil