A Faustian Bargain? The Modern Corporate Plantation in the Age of Scientific Agriculture

Lecture Description

This lecture considers the advent of the corporate plantation (what Whayne calls the portfolio plantation), particularly in the 21st century. Whayne argues that this is one more incarnation of a very old institution (dating back to the latifundia of ancient Rome) and suggests that there is reason to be concerned about this newest version of it given the emergence of modern agricultural practices. Never before has so much capital been combined with such advanced technology (including the use of an array of dangerous chemicals). The talk places the plantation in the larger world context across time but moves quickly to a consideration of the North American version beginning in early 17th century Virginia and following through to the early 21st century. It focuses specifically on the environmental impact of plantation farming practices over time and concludes with some thoughts about how the 21st century plantation brings something new to the table.


Agricultural Environment and Natural Resources

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