A Message To Genetic Engineers
Posted on June 5, 2017
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.