For because the present powers that be are committed to the status
quo – agriculture conceived as big business, big finance, high tech,
and bureaucracy – they naturally gear all their research efforts to those
ideals. The problems thrown up by truly Enlightened Agriculture are
neglected. So although it’s been recognized at least since classical times
that agriculture needs a special economic structure the main effort in the
highest circles is still to try to cram it, procrusteanly, into the dogma of
the neoliberal market: high capital (borrowed), maximum yield, and so
on. Or then again, Enlightened Agriculture must be primarily organic –
what people do unless there is very good reason to do otherwise – and
organic farming requires a more subtle kind of science. Modern biotech
including the much-vaunted GMOs is basically an extension of industrial
chemistry which conceptually is rooted in the determinism of the 18th
century; while organic farming is an exercize in applied ecology where
cause and effect is, as the physicists say, “non-linear”. The difference is
profound. Organic farming requires a quite different kind of thinking.
There is some excellent organic research already in train but again, like
most research that is truly to the point, it is marginalized. Tax-payers’
money and corporate profits are invested in the status quo.
All good research begins with a well-identified research project – a
puzzle that in practice should be solvable – and the first task must be to
identify what really needs to be done, and what in practice could be done.
This is the task of this section – to raise the right research questions. If we
had more people and resources we could carry out at least some of this
research, or at least set it in train. Then we really would have a College
for Enlightened Agriculture.