Another Wonder from the Archives

March 21, 2016


Sorry I cut that off at the bottom.  I found this on my bookshelf, Scientific American Magazine from September, 1976 – an entire issue on Food and Agriculture. (Scientific American, incidentally, is the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States.)

It’s very dense and makes extraordinary reading. With each article I reminded myself that this was published in the days when Earl Butz, who famously (and often disastrously)  told farmers to “get big or get out,” was Secretary of Agriculture. There was a hopeful notion that science was going to save us all.  The issue’s opening essay begins, “The world food situation is serious, even precarious.” This is how it ends:

“Clearly more is at stake than the alleviation of world hunger, crucial as that is…. Enhanced agricultural productivity is the best lever for economic development and social progress….. and it is clear enough that without such development and progress there can be no long-term assurance of increased well-being or of peace anywhere in the world.  The existence of new technological, financial and organizational capabilities offers a magnificent opportunity, although perhaps a fleeting one, to take effective action. The crucial question is whether or not governments will have the wisdom to act.”

Here’s the table of contents:

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And, as always, the ads are as instructive as the editorial.  There are ads from Monsanto (“the science company”), Shearson, Olin, Allis-Chalmers, the Navy (“if you want to get into nuclear engineering, start by getting into the Nuclear Navy”), John Deere, HP, Perkin-Elmer…. This ad is from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

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And just as a little reminder as to exactly how long ago this was, there’s this:

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