Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ag Biotechnology and the Poor

An old friend of mine, Paul Thompson, discusses agricultural biotechnology and poverty here at Science Progress. This is an issue that's only going to grow in salience. Paul is one of the very best on the planet on this issue. You should go read. A snippet:
...skeptics of mainstream development and mainstream agricultural science have powerful reasons to believe that it is time to look at an alternative approach. They may not have a persuasive vision of the alternative, but the jaundiced view they take on the agricultural technologies of the 20th century means that they are unlikely to take claims of promised benefits by the boosters of agricultural biotechnology very seriously.

This skepticism has very little to do with the use of genetic engineering, concerns about “playing God” or “yuk factor” responses to GMOs. It does not even rely particularly strongly on risks that biotechnology poses for biodiversity. It is a mindset whose pivots are found in the way that agricultural science has abetted technology-driven processes that lead to more and more concentration of ownership. The fact that biotechnology has become embroiled in controversies over patents only heightens a concern about concentration and control that exists independently of intellectual property conventions or the idea of “owning life.”

No comments: