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06seruer readers are SMART PROGRESSIVE INVOLVED INFLUENTIAL GOOD LOOKING \($\(9 are 06server oavertisersr Get noticed by Texas Observer folks all over the state and nation. Let them know about your bookstore, service, restaurant, non-profit organization, event, political candidate, shoe store, coffee house, boutique, salon, yoga studio, law practice, etc. TheTexasObserver ADVERTISE IN THE OBSERVER! REASONABLE RATES GREAT EXPOSURE Call 512-477-0746 and ask for Julia Austin or e-mail [email protected] keg, \(lserver readers r Consider advertising your business or non-profit in the Observer. GOOD FOR YOU GOOD FOR THE OBSERVER as their Luddite view than exploring the underlying nature of Africa’s caution. Despite his reluctance to engage the more nuanced negatives associated with GM technology, Paarlberg demonstrates well how the Zambian logic has been praised and perpetuated by NGOs. He rails against their tendency to approach African agriculture as a ripe opportunity to create a continent of organic farmers. It’s a questionable goal at best, and in all likelihood one that’s out of touch with Africa’s true agricultural issues. For one thing, the vast majority of African farmers already practice organic methods, if for no other reason than that they can’t afford chemicals. Thus we have first-world reformerscoming from countries where a mere 2 to 5 percent of the population farmstrying to turn 70 percent of Africa’s population from de facto to de jure organic farmers. “[M]any international NGOs do not take poverty and hunger as a starting point,” Paarlberg writes. “Many are in the business of exporting to Africa visions of environmentalism, anti-corporate populism, and organic food purity that exclude science and are a mismatch to Africa’s needs.” In support of this proposition, Paarlberg quotes Greenpeace scientist Doug Parr, who says, “There is no direct relationship between the amount of food a country produces and the number of hungry people who live there.” It’s worth wondering what a hungry person might think of such an assessment. Paarlberg has, resulting in an insightful book that deftly balances the benefits and drawbacks of globalization, all within parameters conforming to the real world, the one in which we live. So, yes, globalization is a double-edged sword. In Sick Planet, Cox does the critically important work of illuminating the abuses that globalization has spawned, but his solution skirts political and economic reality. Paarlberg, by contrast, offers not only a concise argument about a specific issueGM crops in Africa but also a clarion call for corporations and NGOs alike to revisit issues that have been ideologically polarized rather than rationally examined. How else to seek realistic answers to the challenges that Cox so deftly portrays? Contributing writer James E. McWilliams is a fellow in the Agrarian Studies program at Yale. His book, American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT, will be published in July. JUNE 27, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29