Using named examples, assess the extent to which technological motivation may have unforeseen social, environmental and economic costs (15 marks).

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedict's Catholic School
Using named examples, assess the extent to which technological
motivation may have unforeseen social, environmental and
economic costs (15 marks).
As Kranzberg first law states "technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it natural". Technology
has environmental and human consequences that go beyond the immediate purpose of
technology. In this essay I will outline a number of technology's that are positive for humanity on
different ways but have had consequences that were unforeseen and been simply ignored. The
green revolution was the introduction of high yielding varieties of crops such as rice and wheat;
these were created by selective breeding. The gene revolution was based on genetically modifying
varieties of cotton , rice, maize and soybean, bio-tech companies such as Byer and Syngenta
though genetic engineering create drought resistant alongside pesticides and pest restaurant. My
essay will mainly focus on these two revolutions and the social, economic and environmental
impacts of both.
The green revolution was supposed to have massive finical benefits for farmers, and for most
farmers' early profit was good but very soon those profits turned into debts which couldn't be
paid. A Thailand farmer once stated Thailand rice farmers were poor before the revolution and
they are still poor after, what difference has it actually made? The technology has had benefits on
a country scale wide scale and for large farms, with India's rice production increasing 10 fold and
Indonesia's yield increasing 85% yet subsistence farmers are not seeing any of these benefits, so
financially the increase yield helps the TNCs selling the seeds and consumers in TNCs as they are
receiving products at lower prices. The gene revolution had a similar result; the number of farms
fell by 60,000 as the area of GM soybean tripled. Large farms benefited while small ones didn't.
Back to the gene revolution, the very nature of hybrid crops makes it a very profitable business for
seed companies due to the fact that the seeds need to be purchased every season, Chinese
farmers are dependent on TNCs. Both GM and HYVs create dependency, HYVs are created in labs
not in real life scenarios the result is to get high crop yields high amounts of fertiliser are needed,
these fertilisers are bought of TNCs, the increased yield also means that new types of watering
systems and other agriculture technology is needed that's bought from TNCs.
Large-scale farms may have employed more people, experts in agriculture were employed but
there is many unforeseen consequences that have derived from both the gene and the green
revolutions. Both the gene and the green revolution over the years has led to the loss of native
species of rice and traditional ways of farming. Flood-resistant rice is now spreading as fast as the
waters themselves. 5 million farmers across the world are planting more than a dozen varieties of
rice with flood-resistant genes, collectively called "Sub 1" replacing 100s of different varieties; this
is changing the traditional ways of life for many Chinese people. HYVs are venerable to new strains
of diseases, such as Ug99, a fungus discovered in Uganda in the 1990 to which no known wheat
variety is resistant an outbreak of a disease can wipe out whole crops. The loss of land from
subsistence famers to large scale TNCs has caused social polarization, many have been left
unemployed while others succeeded.
With many technologies there is environmental consequences and agricultural development is no
difference. The obvious benefit is that on the same amount land a larger amount of food, the
expected result of this is more land conservation for nature and left in natural state yet this isn't

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Kieran Podbury
St Benedict's Catholic School
the case large scale farmers see the opportunity for further profit due to the increase yield caused
by the gene and the green revolution purchase more land. The use of large-scale fertilizers and
chemical pesticides for the HYV crops leads to eutrophication as well leaving the soil highly
polluted and improvised of natural nutrients.…read more


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