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Title: The determinants of the path of technological change in agriculture
Author: Hogg, D. F.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis suggests that agriculture has become locked-in to a particular way of growing the food we eat. It is argued that alternative technologies and techniques exist which are, arguably, less damaging in environmental terms, and which need not incur unacceptable yield penalties. It is suggested that the increasingly important linchpin of this way of doing agriculture is the seed, in particular, genetically uniform elite varieties bred for uniformity. A critique of orthodox theories of technological change in agriculture, including those of Boserup and Hayami and Ruttan, is offered before undertaking an exploration of other concepts which have emerged from recent work in the study of science and technology. An attempt is made to develop an unorthodox framework for understanding the development of technical change in agriculture by drawing on these concepts. Three case studies are offered, those of hybrid maize in the United States, the early days of the Green Revolution in Mexico, and the changes, especially in the realm of intellectual property rights legislation, brought forward to foster the development of new biotechniques. In each case, it is shown that alternatives ways of doing agriculture could have been developed, but for one or other reason, the development of research was such that one path, the one dependent on genetic uniformity, was chosen. In concluding, the thesis notes the problems associated with trying to change the prevailing mode of practising agriculture which appears to be locked-in to genetic uniformity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available