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Scale, sustainability and democracy: Comparing agricultural transformations in the US and Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries
The twentieth century was a transformative period for agriculture in advanced economies. New technologies, an emphasis on scale and specialization, and a distinctive regulatory presence of the state in agrarian life characterized the transition. Principles of production, organization and regulation, even conceptions of the farm as a form of property, were all modelled after practices diffusing in the industrial and service economy more broadly at roughly the same time. The consequences of this transformation were radical. The limits of “industrial agriculture” and its consequences are now under intense scrutiny in academic, policy and media circles. This workshop convenes a conversation about the shared and divergent historical evolution of agriculture in developed economies since the middle of the twentieth century. How have different historical experiences informed contemporary approaches to agricultural adjustment and sustainability in different polities and economies?
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