The Political Economy of Hybrid Corn

Authors

  • Jean-Pierre Berlan
  • Richard C. Lewontin

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-038-03-1986-07_5

Keywords:

Ecology

Abstract

The previous article provided an overview of how science and technology have been used to subordinate the largely precapitalist system of agricultural production to the domination of capital. In this article we provide a case study of the penetration of capital in corn cultivation with the spread of the use of hybrid corn, the flagship of the successful innovations of twentieth-century agricultural research. Geneticists, historians, sociologists, and economists have cited it as a prime example of the enormous yield increases derived from basic research motivated only by the quest for knowledge. Moreover, economists have made extravagant claims about the reaping of social—and only social—benefits from this innovation.

Published

1986-07-05

Issue

Section

Articles