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Seeds of Change: Hybrid Corn, Monopoly, and the Hunt for Superprofits


  • Elizabeth A. Ramey

    (Hobart & William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY,


Hybrid corn is widely acknowledged to be the cornerstone of twentieth century breakthroughs in agricultural technology, an essential step toward achieving the “pushbutton cornucopia†to which modern agriculture aspires. This paper challenges this view by examining the social causes and consequences of technical change in corn production, and shows how the development and adoption of hybrid technologies has contributed to the perpetual crisis of corn farming, while sustaining the expansion of the seed corn industry. JEL classification: B51, Q16, O33

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth A. Ramey, 2010. "Seeds of Change: Hybrid Corn, Monopoly, and the Hunt for Superprofits," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 42(3), pages 381-386, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:42:y:2010:i:3:p:381-386

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    technology adoption; Marxian theory; corn; agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes


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