GENTECH archive


Re: scientist / master conductor

 >Herve LE MEUR wrote: 
 > must be a human activity, with the goal of the populations,
 >and not the knowledge, or, even worse, productivity or profitability.
 >Do you agree? 
 >Robert Cohen wrote:
 >When there exist one billion hungry bellies, the priorities of those
 >starving people are that they receive 365 billion dollars so that they
 >might eat a daily lunch and then fertilize a barren planet.  How can we
 >justify financing the means to cure society's ills?  Without the profit
 >motive, who would then perform the research?

It is curious that you think of financing. Most farmers are hungry
because their subsistence practices (food production as priority,
perhaps supplemented with some cash crops) have been undermined
principally by past colonial practices and later by globalization,
which turned food farms into huge plantations for export and other
business-oriented and corporate- or government-directed land-uses.

Their priority therefore is not to receive a dollar a day from some
financiers, but to be left alone to till their lands and feed their

It is the profit-motive, particularly in its pure form as expressed in
the corporation, which keeps these people poor. It is the limitless
pursuit of production, growth and profit -- with its corollary
limitless need for raw materials and energy -- which is the real cause
of the destruction of the land, the environment, and of communities.
People (and academia) have been doing research all the time without
the profit-motive. "Research" is often a mask, behind which
profit-maximizers pursue their single-minded goal. "Research" is the
same excuse we hear from GE companies like Monsanto who are today
insisting to field-test their GE products in our countries despite our
strong opposition.

Your suggestion to hand over money to people who are hungry may work
briefly, but in the long run, this is one of the practices which
bankrupted the local food producers in many developing countries, as
rich countries dumped "food aid" into poor countries, and is therefore
in fact one of the root causes of hunger.

On Herve's point that GE can feed the hungry: sorry, I don't believe
so. GE represents an effort to take control of food provision away
from ordinary farmers into corporate hands. Organic/ecological
agriculture by farmers themsevles can feed the hungry better -- and
with healthier foods.

Roberto Verzola