Kansas Progress Institute

Ad Astra Per Aspera ~ To the Stars Through Difficulties

A Message To Genetic Engineers

Posted on June 5, 2017

By David Burress

As such, the work you do is beautiful and admirable. GMOs may ultimately provide a large net positive benefit to humankind.


As applied, your outputs fully deserve the antagonism they receive in Europe and the third world. Here’s why.


1. In the first place, you (most of you at least) are in it for the money. For many of you that was not your original intent, but now it’s out there. Most likely one or two of you will end up as billionaires. There will be a number of centimillionaires and quite a few decamillionaires. Every one of you is well aware of all this. And you reveal your motives when you contract to patent your outputs and sell the patents to large corporations for maximum dollars, when instead you could sell them to the government for $1.00 to be put to common use. So please spare me your humanitarian bullshit.


2. All of that could be unimportant if the consequences were positive, but they aren’t. The one thing that economists left, right, and center agree on is that large corporations tend to maximize profits. (Otherwise no billionaires.) In the case of monopolies–and a patent is above all a monopoly–that means they sell for the maximum amount they can get. That usually means they proceed strategically and dynamically–they get some users hooked and then gradually increase the prices. This is all textbook economics. This is not a conspiracy theory because it all happens more or less out in the open (though no one brags on it).


3. Leaving out a lot of detail, what that means in practice is (in part) heavy exploitation of third world farmers. (And also first world farmers, which explains much of European opposition)
Which is why much of the third world quite legitimately hates your guts.


4. So also please spare me your accusations of antiscience, based on your straw man arguments about how healthy GMO foods are or are not. That is a secondary issue you focus on because your position on the primary issue of global inequality is indefensible.
It is you who are practicing science denial. Amartya Sen won a Nobel prize for pointing out some of the economic linkages I pointed to above.

1 thought on “A Message To Genetic Engineers”

  1. Tyler Smith says:

    1. Companies make the most money when they produce products that are both safe and effective. Why is it a bad thing that they are making money from their product? They spent millions of dollars inventing it and you just want them to give it away for free? All R&D investment would dry up overnight. These products only exist because these companies invested in their development.

    2. Again, companies make the most money when they sell safe and effective products. Patents drive innovation. Without patents we would see all R&D spending dry up. Not only that, but patents only last 20 years, so all the innovation becomes public domain in the end.

    As for hooking users and increasing prices… This is ridiculous. Farmers have lots of choice when it comes to seed sources. They make business decisions for their business. Why do you think farmers are so dumb that they would keep buying seeds from a company that keeps jacking up the price? You claim this is not a conspiracy theory and yet you offer no evidence to back anything in this section.

    3. Nope. Farmers in the “undeveloped countries” (we don’t say third world anymore) want the technology. I almost expect you to cite Vandana Shiva or Indian suicides in this section. BTW the indian suicide story has been thoroughly debunked. Genetically engineered crops help farmers all over the world, even in undeveloped countries.

    4. Why don’t you spare us your corporate conspiracies that are not based in reality and you claims that are counter to all the available evidence. If you oppose genetically engineered crops because “patents” or “profit” then you are a science denying conspiracy theorist. No other way to put it.

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