I’m sorry, but saying that the Green Revolution saved millions of lives is unscientific.
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, the president of the World Food Prize Foundation, recently made this widely repeated, but unscientific, claim in responding to columnist Rekha Basu. Basu recently criticized the foundation for awarding this year’s World Food Prize to three scientists who helped invent crop genetic modification. (Two of who are current or former vice presidents at Monsanto and Syngenta.) Quinn notes that the founder of the World Food Prize, famed Green Revolution researcher Norman Borlaug, specifically encouraged the foundation to consider these three scientists before his death. In his piece, Quinn admonishes Basu that “Dr. Borlaug would tell us it is our responsibility to use the power of science” to help solve widespread malnutrition. He does this shortly after lauding Borlaug as “the man who saved millions from famine and death in India and Pakistan.”
– See more at: http://www.iatp.org/blog#sthash.eSF37FjY.dpuf
I expect to have some push-back, and it will be great to see any evidence I missed for a larger role of the GR. (I found Robert Paarlberg’s lack of solid evidence rather than assertion… disturbing.) It is true that day-to-day people tend to “prove” the GR’s effects by pointing to food supply increasing, despite an insufficient food supply rarely (though not never) being the key cause of hunger. While it’s certainly possible that the GR was a different case, it’s definitely true that the popular version of the story doesn’t rise past “More Food therefore Less Hunger”, despite more sophisticated analyses that put the effects of growing food supply as more or less the second strongest determinant of decreased hunger (after women’s education). Yet it doesn’t seem to get the second most attention. Anyway. I look forward to a good conversation!