Political Neo-Malthusianism and India’s Green Revolution

Adam B. Lerner is a PhD student with the Centre of Development Studies and St John’s College at the University of Cambridge. He has just published an article with JCA, now available online at the publisher’s website.

The abstract for “Political Neo-Malthusianism and the Progression of India’s Green Revolution” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1422187) states:

Academic literature on India’s economic history often portrays the nation’s Green Revolution as a single package of technocratic reforms that eventually led to sustained growth in India’s total agricultural production – the quintessential triumph of science over political resistance. This account, though, is a dramatic oversimplification, which has led both social and natural scientists to criticise the Green Revolution’s normative consequences without fully addressing the political and economic forces that led to its varied results. To date, India’s Green Revolution lacks the established historical periodisation necessary to begin putting these accounts in dialogue. To remedy these issues, this article introduces the adapted concept of political neo-Malthusianism, which deconstructs the relationship between agricultural production, dependence on foreign aid, and the period’s political battles. Understanding this nexus allows not only for a deeper understanding of the politics that shaped various Green Revolution policies’ implementation, but also moves towards an understanding of its larger place in Indian economic history.

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