[Marxism] Frankenpolitics: The Left defence of GMOs

David P Á david at miradoiro.com
Thu Jan 9 03:05:23 MST 2014

On 09/01/2014 10:51, Greg McDonald wrote:
>> 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…”

That's because nature is inadequate and needs to be replaced with human
systems. Inadequate for what? Human needs, of course. This is a key part
of Marxism, I would have thought; that we use planning and engineering
to serve human needs. As Louis quoted the manifesto's planks regarding
the abolition of the differences between town and country regarding the
metabolic rift, we can also aduce plank number 7: Extension of factories
and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into
cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in
accordance with a common plan.

>> 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.”

I'd like more information on this, but in my view it ignores two key
issues. First, energy is not an issue given the existence of nuclear
fission. Fission can solve many other attendant problems through combine
heat processes, such as water desalination and liquid fuel synthesis
with nuclear "waste" heat. Second, it makes no reference to the required
labour inputs for such methods of cultivation, which tend to be
significantly higher. This means detracting socially necessary labour
from industrial tasks, and, in a word, regressing to a world where most
people are bound to the land, and to Marx's "idiocy of rural life". Who
wants that for a future?

>> 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.

This part is definitely true, but there is not an infinite amount of slack.


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