ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE IN WORLD AGRICULTURE:
A DEEPER POLITICAL EXPLANATION
Discussion Paper #2 (8 pp.)
by Robert L. Paarlberg
This paper discusses several common explanations of why many agricultural
systems, both industrial and traditional, inflict severe environmental
damage. These explanations include: farmers' poverty, high rural
population density or population growth, excessive use of technological
inputs, inadequate use of technological inputs, and imperfect economic
systems. The author contends that none of these by itself is
satisfactory, and that one must look to underlying power imbalances
between large and small farmers, between farmers and city dwellers, and
between farmers and governments.
Robert Paarlberg is Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College
and Associate at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University.
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