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Sun Oct 30, 2016, 03:38 PM


New York Times: Broken Promises of GMO Crops [View all]

Broken Promises of Genetically Modified Crops

Always amazing when you see what we all should already know finally covered in the New York Times: GMOs do not increase crop yield, let alone present a solution to problems of nutrition or world hunger, as Russell and Hakim report.

Nothwithstanding unproven claims about the health effects of the GMO food itself, GMOs have had two main impacts:

(1) Pesticide and herbicide resistant crops mean that farmers use more pesticides and herbicides, so that higher concentrations of these poisons end up in the environment and in our bodies.

(2) Corporations claim patent and ownership on seeds harvested by farmers to the nth generation, effectively acting as feudal lords demanding annual tribute from peasants. Thus the evil is not in the product itself, but in the radically new business model it enables, which overturns 10,000 years of social and agricultural practice. Farmers do not own the seeds they grow.

This profit-making combination is why the world's biggest chemicals producer, Bayer, is attempting to merge with the world's biggest producer of GMO seeds, Monsanto. The neoliberal trade treaties TPP and TTIP, if they go into effect, would allow such companies a new and near-absolute power to overturn potential governmental regulations of their products and markets. It would mean more GMO production, more patenting of organisms and claims on the incomes of farmers globally, and more poisons in the environment.

The great lie of the GMO-producing corporations has been that GMOs produce higher yields and thus possible solutions to hunger. They have coupled this with lies about enhanced nutritional value, such as the "golden rice" with extra Vitamin A (betacarotenes, actually) they always advertise but have chosen not to introduce, probably because it does not work. And if "golden rice" is supposed to be a humanitarian move, why would they not give away the technology, as Norman Borlaug did during the Green Revolution?

Meanwhile the world produces much more food than all of its people need to eat. Hunger is a problem of poverty, inequality, markets and distribution, as well as regional ecological disasters. The pro-GMO ideology makes things worse by distracting from the real problems, by implying there is global scarcity that can be addressed by a capitalist, technocratic quick-fix. Stop worrying about poverty - GMOs will feed everyone! (One factor that always interests me is the incredible way the U.S. puts nearly half of its corn into gas tanks, at a net energy gain of near-zero.)

Meanwhile the industrial farming mentality that promotes GMOs has also encouraged the spread of monoculture farming, with attendant impact on what quality of food ends up at the supermarket at what prices.

By the way, my prediction is that you will see the Times publish some kind of outraged corporate damage control attacking this as "unscientific."

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Reply New York Times: Broken Promises of GMO Crops [View all]
JackRiddler Oct 2016 OP
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #1
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #15
yellowcanine Oct 2016 #16
JackRiddler Nov 2016 #19
yellowcanine Nov 2016 #23
JackRiddler Nov 2016 #26
progressoid Nov 2016 #18
kristopher Nov 2016 #22
CentralMass Oct 2016 #2
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #10
kristopher Nov 2016 #24
JackRiddler Nov 2016 #25
Wilms Oct 2016 #3
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #6
upaloopa Oct 2016 #4
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #7
nationalize the fed Oct 2016 #5
druidity33 Oct 2016 #8
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #9
Archae Oct 2016 #11
nationalize the fed Oct 2016 #12
PufPuf23 Oct 2016 #13
JackRiddler Oct 2016 #14
kristopher Oct 2016 #17
Doremus Nov 2016 #21
bhikkhu Nov 2016 #27
JackRiddler Nov 2016 #28
JackRiddler Nov 2016 #29