>> Sure, go ahead. You have complete freedom to do that [public
>> breeding], and it is in no way impeded by private plant breeding.
> Is this true? I would argue that it is precisely the tendency
> of the 'privatization of life-forms' to inhibit our (sic) freedom
> to do that. It seems to do this by various mechanisms, one of
> which is the discursive equation (like Dale's) of life forms with
IMO you are making a straw-man argument here. I am not talking about
patenting or PVP-ing "life-forms", just cultivars.
> I think the whole hubbabaloo around the 'terminator' gene speaks
> both to this tendency of privatization towards control/monopoly
> and to the very real feelings of people throughout the world of
> being 'impeded' by this very tendency.
I suspect, as I alluded to before, that underlying this debate is the issue
of control of the means of production. That is, the means of producing
cultivars. It used to be that any bright, industrious person could breed
competitive pigs or corn. The fact that this may no longer be the case, is
threatening, just as the automobile industry is threatening if you want to
build your own cars. I believe the view of agriculture as some special
bastion of individuality and self-sufficiency, is based on a romantic myth,
of which real farmers rarely partake.
> The equation life form=refrigerator seems in part to be based on
> this distinction between 'discovering' and 'making'. I think it
> apparent that I would not draw the line at the same place Dale
> would, but he is probably right in that it is an ethical problem
> (he regards seed patenting as ethically sound). Of course, it
> is for this very reason that I make the appeal to a political
> process rather than an economic one for the arbitration of this line.
Yes, this certainly is a political issue. But I still believe that if you
were more familiar with the breeding enterprise, you too would see it as
engineering rather than discovery.
> Dale may be basing his distinction on a change in breeding
> techniques (from selection to recombination?) which presumably
> corresponds to a change in intellectual processes (more
> individualized?), but I'm not so sure that's not also an
> arbitrarily placed line.
I think the current placement of the line is consistent with intellectual
property right laws in general. But you are right about the change from
selection to recombination. Protection of varieties began a long time ago,
when breeding became engineering.
> In the problematic of genetics we find such materialist
> arguments (e.g., certain things [resources] are just *there*
> for the taking) dissolving and I think we could approach the
> problem more fruitfully from the perspective of information
> ownership and control.
Equating open use of public genetic resources with "taking" is a straw-man
argument, since no exclusivity of use occurs. That is, the public resources
remain a *commons* despite use. BTW, what do you mean by "materialist" in
> Under this perspective we can make more fruitful equations,
> such as plant varieties with musical compositions within
> a discussion on intellectual property rights. If our goal is
> diversity (in both music and plantlife), what regime of
> ownership would be more conducive to that goal?
This is an excellent analogy, and copyright is analogous to PVP. There is
no doubt in anyones mind, that protection of varieties (and musical scores)
has led to an enormous amount of new composition.
>> Why should the results of anyones work be taken and placed
>> in the public domain? This is Socialism pure and simple.
>> I respect that position,
> nice save, but dangerously close to red-baiting
Red-baiting? Fuck....I'll bait who ever I want.
>> but I think it goes beyond this particular debate.
> On the contrary, this *is* the debate.
I guess you are right. So, we agree that the issue of Socialism (private vs
public control of the means of production) is THE central issue? Good. I
think that is an argument we should pursue. But I don't have time to pursue
it this morning. I just got back from the ASTA, and I have a huge amount of
mail to open.
> ...I don't pretend that I would prefer 'everything for everybody
> and nothing for me' or anything of the sort. But I do think
> the line has to be drawn somewhere, and the discussion over GMO's
> and the patenting of life-forms is probably the place to begin
> rethinking where this somewhere is, far beyond cold-war politics.
I agree. Cold-War politics are totally beside the point. Better jumping in
points might be agricultural populism of the 20's and 30's, the history of
agricultural collectivization, or the adequacy of Marxist analysis.
Unless we hear loud cries against pursuing this thread on Sanet, let's
debate (nice and slow) Socialism in the agricultural context.
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with the command
"unsubscribe sanet-mg". If you receive the digest format, use the command
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: