Sunday, October 20, 2013

* The Long Forgotten Mustard Seed

The Uncommon Man
 Alex Ross 

The New Yorker
Ocotber 14, 2013

Even more consequential was Wallace's role in the career of the agronomist Norman Borlaug who, in 1970, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in developing disease-resistant wheat. Borlaug, an Iowa native who grew up reading Wallace's Farmer, made early breakthroughs while working at a Mexican research station set up by the Rockefeller Foundation.  That project was, as Borlaug later said, "inspired by Henry Wallace." In 1940, shortly before being sworn in as Vice President, Wallace went on a driving tour of Mexico, with his wife and an aide. He was dismayed to see farmers struggling to harvest crops from depleted fields, and became convinced that new varieties of corn and wheat could bring enormous benefits. Knowing that congressional action was unlikely, he urged the Rockefeller Foundation to underwrite research. "Expand the means of subsistence," he said. Borlaugh's research is credited with with having ended famines around the world and saved billions of lives [BILLIONS!]. Wallace failed at politics, but as a bureaucrat he exhibited a kind of genius, and in that one meeting he accomplished more than most politicians do in a lifetime.


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