Norman Borlaug

by Don Boudreaux on May 20, 2004

in The Economy

Yesterday evening, the Competitive Enterprise Institute celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala dinner in DC. (Congratulations, Fred! You and your colleagues at CEI do important work.)

One of the guest speakers at the dinner was Norman Borlaug, father of the green revolution.

It isn’t often that any of us enjoys the privilege of being in the same room with someone who has saved over a billion lives, as Mr. Borlaug has.

Relatively few people recognize Mr. Borlaug’s name. Makes me think of the world as a place in which melodramatic loud-mouths thunder to and fro in the foreground while actually doing very little of any value but stealing all of the credit for civilization and its benefits. Meanwhile, in the background, millions upon millions of decent, creative people work diligently at their specialties – welding, waiting tables, writing computer code, performing orthopedic surgery, designing shopping malls, running think-tanks – each contributing to the prosperity of the rest. Some contributions are larger than others – as Dr. Borlaug’s certainly is – but even a contribution as colossal as his is quickly taken for granted, any potential notice of it submerged beneath the swagger and bellicosity of the political classes who pretend to be prosperity’s source. How wrong. How arrogant.

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