By Jack Ralph Kloppenburg Jr.

First the Seed spotlights the historical past of plant breeding and exhibits how efforts to regulate the seed have formed the emergence of the rural biotechnology undefined. This moment variation of a vintage paintings within the political economic system of technology contains an intensive, new bankruptcy updating the research to incorporate the newest advancements within the fight over the course of crop genetic engineering.

1988 textile, 1990 Paperback, Cambridge college Press
Winner of the Theodore Saloutos Award of the rural historical past Society
Winner of the Robert ok. Merton Award of the yank Sociological organization

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Additional info for First the Seed: The Political Economy of Plant Biotechnology (Science and Technology in Society)

Sample text

In the Communist Manifesto we find that First the seed The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the means of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones.

As such, agricultural research can also be seen as an important means of eliminating the barriers to the penetration of agriculture by capital. This theoretical approach to agricultural research has special explanatory power when it is applied to the case of plant breeding and seed production. Included in any compendium of "obstacles to the capitalist penetration of agriculture" should be the natural characteristics of the seed itself. Like the Phoenix of myth, the seed reemerges from the ashes of the production process in which it is consumed.

Plant breeding began to move from a craft foundation to a truly scientific basis with the rediscovery of Mendel's work in 1900. Simple mass selection of chance crosses was replaced with the purposeful recombination of varieties for the transfer of specific traits. As breeding methodologies became more powerful, the flow of improved cultivars from public breeding plots quickened considerably. In order to distribute effi- Introduction I3 ciently the seed of the new "college-bred" varieties to farmers, the SAES/ LGUs encouraged the establishment of crop improvement associations and seed certification programs.

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