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First the Seed

First the Seed
Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology
by Jack Ralph Kloppenburg

Never mind the politicians and the revolutionaries, the lawyers and the social reformers. No group has had more impact, or caused more changes, in the social structure of the U.S. over the last 40 years than agronomists. New crops and new agricultural technologies have profoundly and irrevocably altered American society, rendering thousand of farms economically superfluous and driving millions of farm workers from the country to the city.

Agronomy, more than any other science, made rural America urban America.

Sixteen years after its initial publication, this study of the politics and economics driving biotechnology has become as much an historical record as an analysis of emerging trends. It recounts the history of plant breeding and the growth of the modern seed industry, showing how scientists, politicians and corporate leaders have worked together to gain control of the most essential input in agricultural production -- the seed.

The original 10 chapters of the book trace historical developments in plant breeding and seed production in the U.S., showing how they have shaped and conditioned the biotechnology sector. A new chapter, added for this edition, assesses developments since 1988.

"The major difference between 1988 and 2004," Jack Ralph Kloppenburg writes, "is that over the last decade opposition to the way in which private industry has chosen to develop biotechnology has emerged in robust, globally distributed, and increasingly well organized forms."
 
 

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First The Seed
The Political Economy Of Plant Biotechnology
by Jack Ralph Kloppenburg 
University of Wisconsin Press, 2005
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European governments are not necessarily hostile to genetic engineering, but they would prefer to follow a precautionary approach to introducing GMOs into the food system...

There is a clear and explicit recognition that corporate power is the chief force shaping and conditioning the context within which public plant science operates.

SIf crop production is to be shaped to meet uman needs rather than to make profits in the twenty-first century, then public agricultural research institutions must find a way to play a key role in that endeavor.

M. Hofferber Books 
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