[Marxism] Frankenpolitics: The Left defence of GMOs

Greg McDonald gregmc59 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 9 02:51:12 MST 2014

On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 4:38 AM, David P Á <david at miradoiro.com> wrote:

> Thanks for writing this article. It is clear that in certain areas the
> justifiable suspicion of capitalism and its institutions have brought
> people on the left to very bad places. Love for localism or smallism
> (this includes so-called appropriate technology), irrational opposition
> to the safest scalable energy generation regime (nuclear fission) and,
> of course, genetically modified food.
> Glad to see that there are more people on the left concerned about
> scientific accuracy and truth in regard to these issues.
> --David.
> http://grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-03-10-debunking-myth-that-only-industrial-agriculture-can-feed-world/
> http://commonground.ca/OLD/iss/240/cg240_suzuki.shtml
> "According to a review of scientific literature by Michael Jahi Chappell
> and Liliana Lavalle, published in the journal *Agriculture and Human
> Values*, agricultural development is a major factor in the rapid decline
> in global biodiversity.
> In their study, “Food Security and Biodiversity: Can We Have Both?” the
> authors note that agriculture, which takes up about 40 percent of the
> world’s land surface (excluding Antarctica), “represents perhaps the
> biggest challenge to biodiversity” because of the natural habitat that gets
> converted or destroyed.
> Concerns about industrial agriculture as a solution to world hunger are
> not new. As author and organic farmer Eliot Coleman points out in an
> article for Grist.org, in the 19th century when farming was shifting from
> small-scale to large, some agriculturists argued “the thinking behind
> industrial agriculture was based upon the mistaken premise that nature is
> inadequate and needs to be replaced with human systems…”
> Volumes of research clearly show that small-scale farming, especially
> using “organic” methods, is much better in terms of environmental and
> biodiversity impact. But is it a practical way to feed seven billion people?
> Chappell and Lavalle point to research showing “small farms using
> alternative agricultural techniques may be two to four times more energy
> efficient than large conventional farms.” They also found studies
> demonstrating “small farms almost always produce higher output levels per
> unit area than larger farms.” One of the studies they looked at concluded
> “alternative methods could produce enough food on a global basis to sustain
> the current human population and potentially an even larger population,
> without increasing the agricultural land base.”
> This is in part because the global food shortage is a myth. The fact that
> we live in a world where hunger and obesity are epidemic shows that the
> problem is more of equity and distribution than shortage. With globalized
> food markets and large-scale farming, those with the most money get the
> most food.
> It’s a crucial issue that requires more study… but it’s hard to disagree
> with Chappell and Lavalle’s conclusion: “If it is ... possible for
> alternative agriculture to provide sufficient yields, maintain a higher
> level of biodiversity, and avoid pressure to expand the agricultural land
> base, it would indicate that the best solution to both food security and
> biodiversity problems would be widespread conversion to alternative
> practices.”
> We need to grow food in ways that make feeding people a bigger priority
> than generating profits for large agribusinesses."

More information about the Marxism mailing list