Green Revolution and GMOs

By: Jason Wu

Causes and Results of the Bengal Famine in 1943


  • There were many natural and human causes for the Bengal Famine. The natural factors included a cyclone, which hit Bengal on January 9, 1943, flooding the rice fields with salt water and killing 14,500 people, as well as an outbreak of the Helminthosporium oryzae fungus, which took a heavy toll on the remaining rice plants. Under ordinary circumstances, Bengal might have sought to import rice from neighboring Burma, also a British colony, but it had been captured by the Japanese Imperial Army. The human causes were mainly because the British Government denied all requests to help out Bengal. There were many requests by countries such as the United States and Canada but they were all denied.
  • Besides the fact that around 2-4 million people died from the Bengal Famine, it catalyzed the Green Revolution which saved Indian from the Bengal Famine ending it in 1944.

3 Basic Elements of the Green Revolution

  • Technology - Started using improving seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc.
  • Production Increase - Production increased dramatically
  • Economic Change - Many new jobs were created

2 Positive Results of the Green Revolution

Better Seeds - New seeds have been developed with better yield and disease fighting capability

Higher Yields - New biotechnology was developed and allowed for much higher yields on less land. In fact, to achieve comparable yields (1950-1999) with old farming methods, would have needed an additional 1.8 Billion hectares of land.

3 Positive Economic, Sociologic, or Political Results

  • Economic - The absolute number of poor people fell from 1.15 billion in 1975 to 825 million in 1995 despite a 60% increase in population which shows how much of an impact the Green revolution have given to Global Production.
  • Sociologic - The Green Revolution was a product of globalization as evidenced in the creation of international agricultural research centers that share information
  • Political - There is significant evidence that the Green Revolution weakened socialist movements in many nations. In countries such as India, Mexico, and the Philippines, technological solutions were sought as an alternative to expanding agrarian reform initiatives, the latter of which were often linked to socialist politics.

2 Limitations of the Green Revolution in India

  • Not ecologically sustainable: depletes soil, pesticide race. It also caused rural people to be displaced from land
  • Poor farmers could not buy seeds, fertilizer, irrigation to make Green Revolution work Wealthy corporations invested, got richer, drove out poor independent farmers to a neo-colonialism.