“He Only Saved a Billion People”

Newsweek has a story on Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution, whose advances in biotechnology saved a billion people from starvation in impoverished Third World countries like India, China, and Pakistan. It’s aptly titled “He Only Saved a Billion People.”

Biotechnology gets a bad rap today, from anti-technology environmentalists and technophobes, but the world would be starving without it.

Mexico, which today has an obesity problem like the U.S., was once plagued by recurrent famines, which Borlaug helped end by introducing a variety of “dwarf wheat” that tripled grain production there.

Borlaug is a winner of the Nobel Prize, but he is virtually unknown to the public, because he is an agronomist, and most of the media doesn’t understand or care about technology, the way it cares about things like Hollywood, protest marches, or race and gender politics.

Borlaug also insists on telling inconvenient truths that politicians would rather not hear. For example, he points out that agricultural subsidies in the U.S. and Europe increase poverty in the Third World, even as they cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year to pay for corporate welfare.