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Eating Liberally: Can a free market economy solve Africa’s food problems?

Posted Oct 07 2008 7:07pm

This week’s Eating Liberally Q and A is about my talk at a conference run by Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia a couple of weeks ago.  I had no idea that it was possible to cause so much consternation in such brief remarks (we were allotted four minutes), but it elicited a quite lengthy and angry rebuttal from Professor Sachs.  He took strong issue with my view that Capitalist economics might not help African agricultural development because farmers cannot afford to buy patented seeds, fertilizer, and machinery.  The lack of agricultural development seems to me to be a social rather than a technical problem and, therefore, one that requires social rather than technical solutions.  This seems pretty obvious to me, but not everyone agrees, apparently.

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