Bihari Farmer Simulation Analysis
Green Revolution Report
I was able to successfully keep my simulated family alive for 14 years of the program before they all died of horrific and entirely preventable causes. I was initially proud of keeping them alive longer than 10 years until I realized how horrendous and morally wrong it is that people in our world today are living under such harsh restrictions and such brutal realities. It was extremely hard to make any type of a profit or invest any money in better farming equipment because of how hard the economic conditions are. It seemed like whenever I would start to make a profit, have a higher crop yield, or be successful in any way, the prices would rise and I would be stuck in my current position, unable to achieve any success or move up in society. It is completely unethical and morally appalling that third world countries are forced to suffer under these conditions imposed upon them by wealthy nations that reap the benefits from their work. It continuously shocks me how poor the conditions are in developing nations, but the simulation surprised me the most by the negative farming outcomes associated with civil war and political strife, crop diseases (human health, basic necessities), and dry seasons.
Throughout the news, I see headlines about civil wars and rebel soldiers torturing women and destroying villages, but I never realized their negative impact on crop yields and how prevalent they are in today’s society. In order for a nation to feel stable, they must have a secure government that they feel like they are a part of. In most developing nations, citizens don’t have faith in their government officials or government processes and civil wars and rebel crimes breakout that are disastrous for the entire civilization. During the simulation, my family was threatened by armed; rebel forces and a large portion of their crops were stolen. It is wrong for so many people in developing nations to feel so helpless in their own homes. They have no control of their government or their own livelihood and that is not morally acceptable. The ethical theory of rights and the utilitarian theory show that everyone is entitled to the same basic human rights, like water, shelter, food, and the ability to be self-sufficient, and these rebel forces are making that impossible and stripping them of their rights. The utilitarian theory says that choices should be made in order to appeal to the greatest amount of people. In this case, the farmers and all innocent civilians of developing nations are the greater good, but they are being controlled by the small rebel groups and powerful government officials that do not have the best interest of the greater population in mind. The loss of food production is heightened when exposed to conflict because the opportunities for recruitment are higher and social injustices are common (Buhaug, Wischnath, 2014). With India’s history being studied as a precedent, we see that political violence is related to harvest loss and impacts the economy in a severely negative way (Buhaug, Wischnath, 2014). Overall, political conflict and civil war issues not only make it challenging for families to survive and flourish, but they made it impossible for the country to thrive as a whole. A country will only flourish if it is unified and internal conflict eliminates that possibility completely.
The next large issue I was faced with in the simulation was crop disease and it’s negative impact on the economic status of the family farm and well as the health of the family members. For example, the potato crop already has more than 50 known viruses and they continue to grow, especially in warm, developing nations (Jones, 2014) people are most dependent on successful crop yields for survival. The Green Revolution supplied developing nations with crops that grow successfully, however they changed the entire structure of their society to rely on that one particular food. In some cases, they turned a food-insecure, developing nation that was rich in biodiversity but not in high crop yields into a society that relies only on one specific crop. This is great when that crop is flourishing and successful, but what if that crop gets a disease, they are in huge trouble. If a country relies on one crop and that crop produces no yield because of a disease, they have nothing to fall back on and make no profits. They have no way of providing food for their families with no crops or money to import goods and they then rely even more heavily on wealthier nations. This method of culture is not acceptable as a solution to hunger because it is not healthy for the people, their economies, or the future. The utilitarian theory is providing for the greater good and that is the opposite of what wealthy nations are doing. Wealthy nations are forcing developing nations to be even more reliant and even less self-sufficient and it is resulting in malnourished civilizations that result in death and war.
Another way wealthy nations are taking advantage of the developing nations in an unjust way is with water dependency and scarcity. In the simulation, my family suffered through times of dry seasons where they would make virtually no crop yield. This too ties back to the Green Revolution because countries are forced to irrigate crops more often because they are not native to that area. This results in depleted water sources; water sources contaminated by the pesticides the crops rely on, and increased dependency on wealthy nations. These wealthy nations are hiding under the façade of creating self-sufficient nations, but they result in being even more necessary to developing nations because they are needed for pesticides, water, and irrigation methods whenever there is a dry season or natural disaster. These issues are especially prevalent in India’s past, when they developed new irrigation methods to grow their new genetically modified crops (Frankel, 1971) and then had to pay for the negative repercussions. The new modified wheat that India began to grow was only successful if it had assured supplies of water (Frankel, 1971). This lead to small farms being unable to handle the economic demands and the high-yielding crops were pushed towards big farms that had the necessary equipment and access to water (Frankel, 1971). In this specific instance, the only people benefiting are people who already had access to large farm equipment and capabilities. For this reason, many small farmers continue to suffer and die, just like in the simulation.
Overall, wealthy nations attempted to help developing nations by providing crops with high yields in order to feed the hungry. This was extremely beneficial at first but had very negative responses in the long run and made countries even more reliant on wealthy nations and their technological advancements. There are high rates of mortality and civil war when developing nations suffer blows to their crop yields like disease or lack of water and it also negatively effects their economy and stops them from ever improving their status. All of these negative occurrences also rest on the moral implications of wealthy nations making profit off of the crops produced in developing nations when their society is crumbling and their people are dying.
Frankel, Francine R. India's Green Revolution; Economic Gains and Political Costs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1971. Print.
Jones, R. A. C. "Virus Disease Problems Facing Potato Industries Worldwide: Viruses Found, Climate Change Implications, Rationalizing Virus Strain Nomenclature, and Addressing the Potato Virus Y Issue." The Potato: Botany, Production and Uses (2014): 202-24. Web.
Wischnath, Gerdis, and Halvard Buhaug. "Rice or Riots: On Food Production and Conflict Severity across India." Political Geography 43 (2014): 6-15. Web.