David Mandl on Fri, 18 May 2001 21:14:57 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> DNA bombs against DNA

On Fri, 18 May 2001, Ian andrews wrote:

[Not sure who wrote this:]

> >Certain grasses are the most successful plants on the planet --
> >they selected humans such that we spread them practically
> >everywhere we go. And of course all agricultural crops and animals
> >are 'GM' by virtue of selective breeding anyway.

This is exactly the kind of reductionism that is used to push through
every dangerous new technology (or use of technology).  There's always
some existing technology that the new one is "just like."  In most
cases the existing one was either forced through using this same
disingenuous logic, or it's "just like" the new one using some
gargantuan stretch of the imagination (dog-breeding is just like
cloning).  Using this logic, a line never gets drawn, and every single
use of technology is eventually deemed OK, even if it takes slower,
more incremental steps to get there.

> Scot, there is one major difference between GM crops and non GM
> crops and that is that the (Monsanto) seeds are engineered to be
> barren in the next generation, requiring the farmer to purchase more
> seeds for the next crop.

I wouldn't agree that this is the "one major difference," as this
focuses completely on the economic side.  Certainly this is bad (it's
yet another way to drive small farmers out in favor of huge ones,
another way to jack up the monthly "rent" to chemical companies), but
ultimately it's dwarfed by the potential for environmental
catastrophe.  Think of all the automobile recalls that happen in a
year, and all the nasty side effects (or worse) of drugs discovered in
a year, and now imagine those kinds of technological failures
happening when the "patient" or the "product" is the fabric of the
planet.  I think that has always been the biggest concern, though
obviously the economic consequences are socially (as opposed to
enviromentally) devastating.



Dave Mandl

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