"We spend billions of dollars trying to understand how crops and animals live, but only a smidgen on how humans and their communities can grow and develop," Bill Bishop of the Daily Yonder writes. It's understandable, he writes, that private businesses invest money in research and development that will earn high private returns, according to the economists who wrote the report, at least. However, a 2001 survey found that three-quarters of private crop breeding investments went to just three commodities: corn, soybeans and cotton, Bishop reports.
From 1980 to 2010, research spending by seed and biotech companies increased to more than $2 billion from $100 million. There was no increase in spending on social and community development research. "And that may be one reason why we know a heck of a lot about how to grow corn in a drought but not so much about how to develop rural communities that thrive," Bishop writes. "No wonder we have bountiful harvests and troubled towns." (Read more)