Political Neo-Malthusianism and the Progression of India’s Green Revolution

Adam Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Academic literature on India’s economic history often portrays the nation’s Green Revolution as a single package of technocratic reforms that eventually led to sustained growth in India’s total agricultural production – the quintessential triumph of science over political resistance. This account, though, is a dramatic oversimplification, which has led both social and natural scientists to criticise the Green Revolution’s normative consequences without fully addressing the political and economic forces that led to its varied results. To date, India’s Green Revolution lacks the established historical periodisation necessary to begin putting these accounts in dialogue. To remedy these issues, this article introduces the adapted concept of political neo-Malthusianism, which deconstructs the relationship between agricultural production, dependence on foreign aid, and the period’s political battles. Understanding this nexus allows not only for a deeper understanding of the politics that shaped various Green Revolution policies’ implementation, but also moves towards an understanding of its larger place in Indian economic history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-507
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2018

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