You are here

Let’s Toast to His Memory


One of Iowa’s greatest sons has died. Usually we raise a glass in memory, but in this case, it seems more appropriate to toast with bread.

Norman Borlaug, the man who saved more human lives than anyone else in history, has died at age 95. Borlaug was the Father of the Green Revolution, the dramatic improvement in agricultural productivity that swept the globe in the 1960s.

The scarcity that leads to human suffering is not a resource problem. It is technology problem. Humanity is swimming in abundance, but the cornucopia doesn’t fill itself. Our challenge is to find ever better ways to get the most from our resources. To do this, we apply the ultimate resource: the human mind.

Borlaug’s work not only saved lives. He freed minds from scratching for subsistence so they could go to work unlocking more secrets and creating more abundance.

In Pakistan, wheat yields rose from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 8.4 million in 1970. In India, they rose from 12.3 million tons to 20 million. And the yields continue to increase. Last year, India harvested a record 73.5 million tons of wheat, up 11.5 percent from 1998. Since Ehrlich's dire predictions in 1968, India's population has more than doubled, its wheat production has more than tripled, and its economy has grown nine-fold.

Over the last century, socialists and their fascist and communist offspring murdered tens of millions. They tried to perfect mankind, and mankind starved. In contrast, this Iowa farmboy cooperated with man and nature, and he saved billions.

That certainly deserves a toast. Maybe with butter and a little jam.

H/T: Maggie’s Farm