I’ve decided that an outline of my paper would be a good thing to do because then I can write down all my thoughts and organize them. This way when I write the paper, I can just go down through my bullet points and elaborate on them just a bit. So this is the outline that I have for my paper:

Introduction: Give a little history and then a brief overview of my case study

  • how the Green Revolution began
  • impact(s) of the Green Revolution
  • Colombian palm oil industry
  • impact(s) of the palm oil industry

Introduce my theories/theorists

  • Neo-colonialism (Goldsmith)
  • Power and discourse/knowledge (Foucault)

History: Green Revolution

  • began in Mexico in the 1940s
  • high yield wheat varieties were developed in Mexico with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation
  • crops were bred to be resistant to pests and diseases, to have a lot of grain, and to not need a lot of sun
  • crops needed a lot of fertilizer to survive and were unable to produce seed for the next year
  • in the 1960s-70s, green technology spread around the world enabling other countries to become self-sufficient as well
  • took hold in Asia, especially India and China
  • didn’t take off in Latin American due to lack of government support and land reform

Case Study: Colombian Palm Oil Industry
Palm Oil

  • it’s used in biofuel, food, lubricants, make up, etc.
  • processed food w/palm oil is considered “healthier”
  • considered greener than most things which is why people in North America want to consume palm oil
  • “Because palm oil seeds are renewable, consume carbon, and give more oil per seed than other products, some people believe palm oil can allow citizens of the global north to continue their over-consumption and avoid the ecological crisis.” (source 5)
  • Colombia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil


  • there’s been a 40 year civil war in Colombia with the government and paramilitary groups on one side and left-wing guerillas on the other
  • 4.2 million people have been displaced as a result of the civil war
  • 2nd largest amount of internally displaced people after Sudan
  • October 1996: the “Genesis Operation” occurred where the paramilitary went in the Chocó region and told people to leave
  • the Chocó region is home to mostly people of African descent, indigenous people, and people of mixed races and it’s the region with the largest amount of displacement
  • 2000: police told peasants to sign papers allowing military bases to be established but really the papers were giving big agricultural businesses the right to develop a monoculture in the area


  • “Under Colombian law, after occupying and working land for a period of five years or more, communities have the right to receive titles to their holdings.”
  • was often disregarded
  • companies that grow, process, and sell palm oil force farmers off their land “through deceit, intimidation and even murder”
  • there’s 100,000 hectares of palm planted and President Uribe wants to increase it to 250,000
  • Colombian President Uribe wants to make Colombia the world’s biggest producer of palm oil by 2020
  • Colombian authorities and paramilitaries have forced 100s of people off their land to achieve this goal
  • in an effort to alleviate the loss of these displace people, humanitarian zones were created for them to reside
  • humanitarian zones were created in Chocó but they were usually in the middle of plantations and not anywhere close to usable agricultural land

Theory: Goldsmith and Foucault

  • Neo-colonialism is where former colonial powers still economically control their colonies
  • “…formal colonialism came to an end not because the colonial powers had decided to forego the economic advantages it provided, but because, in the new conditions, these could now largely be obtained by more politically acceptable and more effective methods.”
  • former colonies seem independent, but their “governments” are puppets of either corporations or more powerful governments


  • the only knowledge allowed, is the knowledge that agrees with the ruling ideology
  • those who have the power, create the discourse
  • “…the state consists in the codification of a whole number of power relations which render its functioning possible…” (64)

Relating Theory and Case Study

Colombia is economically controlled by the US

  • US demands palm oil products, Colombia is trying to be #1 producer
  • palm oil is Colombia’s only viable industry, needs the demand of the US
  • neo-colonialism at its finest
  • isn’t good for the people because Colombia will do whatever it takes to ensure the vitality of the palm oil industry i.e. uproot its own people

the Colombian military is in power and controls the ideology that rules Colombia

  • military dictates what people believe i.e. the people trying to hold on to their land are really trying to produce cocaine
  • allows military to rule without question since they’re seen as helping/protecting the people
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