Green Revolutions: Rockefeller Agronomy from the American South to Mexico

Jan 01, 2012 | by
  • Description

In March of 1968, United States Agency for International Development director William S. Gaud forged an enduring myth in the imaginary of Third World development. Just a month after the Tet Offensive had threatened America's narrative of military progress in South Vietnam, Gaud announced that the road to victory in Southeast Asia was paved not with guns or grenades, but rice seed. Celebrating the efforts of the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in reforming Indian, Filipino, and Vietnamese agriculture through the introduction of fertilizer, pesticides, and improved seed, Gaud coined a term that would long outlive him: Throughout much [of] the developing world - and particularly in Asia - we are on the verge of an agricultural revolutionÂ… It is not a violent Red Revolution like that of the Soviets, nor is it a White revolution like that of the Shah of Iran. I call it the Green Revolution. It was thus in the context of the Cold War at its hottest that Gaud's Green Revolution was born, and its mythological career fared somewhat like that of the Vietnamese war that it was meant to support.