Re: Genetic engineering, corporations, food summit
Tue, 19 Nov 1996 11:31:07 -0500
Pat has touched on the point I'm fond of making.
If you give people food, you may feed them for a day. If you teach them to
grow food sustainably, you feed them forever. (with apologies to the author)
It has long seemed to me that world hunger is more a problem of politics
than production. Rwanda now is a great case in point.
If you retool the distribution of water and land from the control and use
of the many to the few; if less than 10% of the world population uses over
25% of the world resources; if food (and clean water and air)is viewed and
treated as such a commodity that it is available only to the highest bidder;
if you concentrate the production of beans and grains to small (relatively)
areas and then limit the varieties grown; if the "highest and best use" of
land is viewed only in terms of the maximum dollars it can supply to the
owner of the moment THEN you have set up a situation where rolling famines
are guarenteed and all people are slaves of the few who can bring food from
the marginal, overworked lands remaining.
I have come to believe that "feed the world" is code for "control the
resources." There is no slavery like that of the empty stomach of your own
child. Why aren't we spending time and money to advance culturally
appropriate solutions to the political situations instead of flying in sacks
of genetically engineered staples produced by under-compensated farmers half
a world away? Cherche le buck. Who really benefits from this system?
Genetic engineering, broadly applied and controlled by a few, is just the
next step along a slippery slope of control and arrogance that I fear may
very well be the death nell of life as we currently know it.
I still believe the ethical/ecological argument--just cause ya can, don't
mean ya oughtta-- is where I'd prefer to hang my hat, but the political
reality of the above may be more compelling.
I'll step down (temporarily) from my soap box now and go cut broccoli.