Kuidas GMO "kuldne riis" oleks päästnud sadu tuhandeid
Ajakirja Prospect viimane kaanelugu oli GMO’dest. Kirjutatud veenvalt ja argumenteeritult koos hulgaliste näidetega, mis valgustavad seda huvitavat ja inimkonna jaoks pikemas perspektiivis üliolulist tehnoloogiat.
Artikli läbivaks küsimuseks näib olevat, miks pole GMO’d rohkem levinud kui nad saaksid iga aasta päästa sadu tuhandeid inimelusid. See ei ole mingi saladus, et GMO’sid üritatakse surnuks reguleerida, kuid millest on märksa vähem juttu olnud on selle reguleerimismaania algus:
Why is a technology which has so much to contribute impeded by regulations that make no sense? Part of the blame lies with the large agrobusinesses. They initially welcomed elaborate regulation to discourage competition from small companies that could not afford the cost. Indeed, they successfully resisted every attempt by advisers in the Reagan administration to regulate each GM crop simply as a new product, rather than by the process by which it was derived, an approach that would have treated GM and conventionally grown crops similarly and made more scientific sense. But the large companies won, and the concentration of agricultural biotechnology in the hands of a few giants, like Monsanto, is the result. Furthermore, although tight regulation was backed by some supporters of GM who believed it would reassure the public, it has had the opposite effect. If governments appear to think it necessary to take extreme precautions, the public will conclude that the technology must be dangerous. A third element has been mistrust of multinationals. This has intensified opposition to GM crops because it is widely felt that companies are the main, if not the only, beneficiaries—and that, since they are responsible for most of the development of the crops, this must be subject to the strictest possible regulation. The inept PR that accompanied Monsanto’s introduction of GM crops to Europe was also bitterly criticised by other agrobusinesses.
The broader driving force behind the excessive regulation of GM crops, however, is the cult of “back to nature,” which has also inspired the propaganda against agricultural biotechnology as a whole. This cult has many manifestations. One is the popularity of organic farming, which is based on the manifestly false principle that artificial chemicals are bad and natural chemicals good. Another is the rising fashion for alternative, non-evidence based medicine. The dogmatic opponents of GM crops in Europe believe that interference with the genetic make-up of plants is essentially a moral issue. It is to be condemned as part of mankind’s sinful attempt to control nature, which contributes to global warming, to epidemics of cancer and all the blights of modern life.
Artiklis on juttu ka ettevaatusprintsiibi laastavast mõjust poliitikute otsustusvõimele. Vabalogis sai ettevaatusprintsiibi riukalikkusest kirjutatud lausa kolm postitust 2005. aasta juulis.
Ühtlasi on siinkohal hea võimalus viidata Cass Sunsteiniga tehtud intervjuule halvimatest stsenaariumitest:
How should individuals and societies cope with low-probability events with potentially catastrophic consequences? In this conversation with EconTalk host Russ Roberts, Sunstein discusses the uselessness of the precautionary principle as a guide to behavior and the psychological challenges we all face in coping with uncertain, risky events. He also speculates why we have chosen politically to treat terrorism and global warming so differently.
Igal juhul on Prospect’i artikkel kohustuslik lugemine kõigile neile, kes on huvitatud inimeste elujärje parandamisest, kuid tüdinenud rikaste ja silmakirjalike orgaanofetishistide maailmalõpu kuulutamisest.
That’s right – I’m looking at you Roy Strider!
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