Franklin Halverson: Digging Potatoes
Franklin Halverson: Digging Potatoes

Written Assignment #3
Globalization of Agriculture


The reading assignments for Assignment #3 consist of an introduction to the globalization of agriculture, and an opinion statement that appeared in the Des Moines Register, where Robert Wolf compared Iowa to a Third-World country. This article pointed out some interesting parallels that exist in the economies of Iowa and developing countries.

Suggestions for Completing Homework Assignment #3

In answering the questions for this assignment, consider how this topic might best be placed within the context of the sociological perspective. From structure-function theory, this topic most closely relates to the goal-attainment function of a society. You might ask, "What are our goals for international development? What is the best way to achieve these goals? How do we work with different societies to help increase their standard of living? Or, should we not be intruding into the affairs of other societies?" If you choose to view this topic from a Marxian perspective, you will want to identify the dominant and secondary segments of the world system. Thus, "Who is in position to exploit resources from whom? How might development of other nations benefit the power elite of the world capitalist system?" If you choose to view this topic from the perspective of symbolic interactionism, you might want to explore the meaning of "development." What are developed nations attempting to achieve in their development efforts? What role do differences in culture play in designing and implementing development programs?

In addition to considering cloning from a sociological perspective, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages to different approaches to development.

Articles to read for Assignment #3 Written Assignment #3

This assignment is worth 20 points. Please limit your comments to five pages. Your paper should not summarize the material in the assigned readings; rather, it should use the information in the readings to answer the questions posed below.
  1. Select one of the three major theoretical perspectives to describe the important sociological issues of the globalization of agriculture. How can this issue be placed within the context of sociology? What are the key social issues that need to be considered?

  2. Using the descriptions of developing countries provided in the textbook and class lectures to frame your thoughts, to what extent do you agree with Wolf that Iowa has the characteristics of a third-world country?

  3. Wolf suggests that the development of "regional economies" might help Iowa to build a viable economic future for its citizens. To what extent do you agree with this opinion?