Presentation on theme: "GMOs and the Commons January 2008 Susan Skalka. GMOs: Case Study French President Nicolas Sarkozy bans strain of GM corn, citing principle of precaution."— Presentation transcript:
GMOs and the Commons January 2008 Susan Skalka
GMOs: Case Study French President Nicolas Sarkozy bans strain of GM corn, citing principle of precaution. France’s Provisional High Authority on GM Organisms was said to have “serious doubts” about the safety of Mon 810, the only GM crop grown in France. Yet, 12 of the scientists who made the report said that it was misinterpreted.
GMOs: Definition Genetically modified organism. Genetic material is altered using genetic engineering techniques. DNA molecules from different sources are combined in vitro into one molecule to create a new gene.moleculesin vitro This DNA is then transferred into an organism and causes the expression of modified or novel traits.
GMOs: Terminator and Traitor GURT: Genetic Use Restriction Technology 2 nd generation seeds are sterile, so can’t gather seeds for next year USDA and Delta & Pine Land received U.S. patent Monstanto bought Delta and Pine Land (w/ patent), is now 2 nd largest seed company, w/1.3 Billion annual revenue for seeds.
GMOs: The Issues from Both Sides The company paid for the R&D investments, so it should get profits. The company makes excessive profits (rent?) and the savings/profits/benefits from the ‘better’ seeds are not passed on. If you don’t want these seeds, don’t buy them. Govt. agencies often dictate that these be used, it is difficult to keep the seeds separate, and the economically disadvantaged don’t have a real choice. Furthermore, food isn’t labeled so isn’t true free market –market requires available information.
GMOs: The Issues, cont. The new seeds are better and seed-collecting locks farmers into old seeds that are not as good or productive. The new seeds are dangerous for our ecosystem and we don’t understand enough about the (potentially irreversible) damage that they could cause yet. Therefore we should take precautions.
GMOs: Issues as Related to Commons BioPiracy- Corporate Theft of the Genetic Resources of the Planet The Danger is that a few transnational corps. will gain exclusive control over the whole food supply chain. Some argue these patents confer rights which go far beyond what the ‘inventor’ has really invented him or her self.
GMOs: Issues as Related to Commons Similar to pollution etc, Free Market isn’t protecting us from the negative externalities that could result from the use of GMOs. DNA and Genetic Material could be considered part of the Commons and thus should be shared, and companies should not profit from use of our shared common resource. What about the investment made to investigate and use the information – how should that be compensated? In a more fair way?