What happens when you don’t think

It’s the story of cotton farmers in India and how they choose the seed for their crop.

Stone argues that the previously undocumented pattern of fads, in which each village lurches from seed to seed, reflects a breakdown of the process of “environmental learning,” leaving farmers to rely purely on “social learning.” Bt cotton was not the cause of this “deskilling,” but in Warangal it has exacerbated the problem.

Rather than learning from controlled experimentation and obtaining gradual improvement in both productivity and skill, it is the seed fad of the season and the appeal of marketing that govern decisions.

This article does have the taint of academic bias, though. This is in the presumption that it is marketing and presentation that manipulate the decision making process in this ‘de-skilling’ of the farmer. There is also a comment tossed out as an unsupported conclusion that, in another area, piracy that reduces corporate control over seed stock produces increase in farmer involvement in knowledge acquisition. These concepts support the view that critical reading is always necessary.

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