Hi E. Ann,
Thursday, March 09, 2000, 11:07:42 AM, you wrote:
EAC> Folks: I'm trying to follow this issue, and have become confused on a
EAC> couple of points.
EAC> ... how then is golden rice going to rectify Vit A deficiency if
EAC> the real problem is simply such extreme poverty or deprivation as
EAC> to prevent the unavoidable intake of sufficient Vit A
It's not. But then, it isn't really supposed to. It's supposed to
legitimize GMOs in the face massive (and unexpected) resistance.
EAC> As a corollary, if malnutrition were alleviated, would not the
EAC> Vit A deficiency, by definition, likewise be alleviated?
Of course. But where's the profit in that? (Explained below).
EAC> Conversely, alleviating Vit A deficiency through
EAC> golden rice, or indeed, any approach that involves money or
EAC> access issues, would by definition fail because the people who
EAC> are poor enough to be so profoundly malnourished in the first
EAC> place will not have the funds or access to obtain the golden
EAC> Have I got this right?
Yes on both counts. First, your logic is sound. Second (going back to
your first sentence), you ARE indeed confused (or confusing) politics
with agriculture. Agriculture is by nature a biological activity
intended to provide an adequate source of nutrients for biological
organisms (man or beast).
However, some of those in agribizness see agriculture as a means to
accumulate "wealth", itself a nebulous term unfounded in concrete
objectives. Not grounded in a specific biological base and unlimited
by organic forms or growth patterns, the concept lends itself to
delusions of grandeur, power and control (by assumption, over others -
and food is a basic need for all) in a pervasive and unavoidable
Here anything is feasible - including GMos, with are proprietary and
salable, if the public will buy them - except in this case, large
segments of the population haven't and don't intend to contaminate the
integrity (both biological and moral) still present in an imperfect
world with these unneeded "solutions" that imply so many unidentified
threats, regardless of the investments made by those hoping to be
rewarded for it.
Therefore, the goal here is to legitimize recombinant biotechnology
via a seemingly virtuous, altruistic effort in favor of the poor and
the greater public good, so that GMOs (and the logic underlying all of
this) can slip in unnoticed, and "business can go on as usual". The
name of the game is consumerism - man as homo compradorus (buyer of
The inherent contradiction you refer to regarding GMOs is there all
right, and too much attention has been given to it for their corporate
owners to fully accomplish their goals. It's no coincidence that as
this seemingly virtuous face of GMOs arises, it coincides with a
series of vicious attacks on organic agriculture on the one hand and
those who question GMOs on the other. The whole thing is so obvious
and gross it's almost boring - or enough to get anyone congruent
righteously indignant - yet people bred to be consumers (and suspend
judgment) may fall for it (as many seem to).
EAC> 2. Is it indeed the case that prior to the advent of green
EAC> revolution (GR) rice, people in the IRRI target regions of Asia
EAC> suffered less Vit A deficiency and blindness? What does the
EAC> historic trendline for these problems look like, spanning the
EAC> pre- and post-GR intervals through to the present?
EAC> If Vit A precursors are so readily available in so many
EAC> foodstuffs, and if the GR has deprived people of access to such
EAC> foodstuffs, then there should be a substantive change in
EAC> blindness/deficiency incidence in the post-GR era - no?
By thinking that logically and deeply, you're likely to get yourself
labeled as a dangerous radical.
EAC> Can anyone help on this?
I'd like to see it too. There's bound be pertinent data out there.
Todo el mundo cabe en un jarrito, sabiéndolo acomodar.
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