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Why were So Many Social Scientists Wrong about the Green Revolution? Learning from Bangladesh

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  • Alastair Orr

Abstract

Most social scientists once took a negative view of the socio-economic consequences of the Green Revolution. Events have since proved them wrong. Using Bangladesh as an example, we offer three reasons why social scientists were mistaken. One is the focus on village studies at the expense of nationally representative surveys. Another is insufficient appreciation of the technical limits of the new rice technology. The third is a misleading model of agrarian change. The inability of village studies to validate generalisations, the reluctance to abandon the historical model of de-peasantisation, and opposing beliefs about how to evaluate socio-economic consequences created a Rashomon Effect that made the controversy hard to resolve. Convictions are greater enemies of truth than lies. (Nietzsche)

Suggested Citation

  • Alastair Orr, 2012. "Why were So Many Social Scientists Wrong about the Green Revolution? Learning from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(11), pages 1565-1586, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:48:y:2012:i:11:p:1565-1586
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2012.663905
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    Cited by:

    1. Thornton, PK & Schuetz, T & Förch, W & Cramer, L & Abreu, D & Vermeulen, S & Campbell, BM, 2017. "Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 145-153.

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