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Wolf Richter: Lobbying And GMO Giant Monsanto Buckles In Europe

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By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit.

The “March Against Monsanto” in 52 countries, an unapproved strain of its genetically modified wheat growing profusely in Oregon, cancelled wheat export orders…. A rough week for Monsanto.

But now it threw in the towel in Europe – where its genetically modified seeds have faced stiff resistance at every twist and turn. Even its deep corporate pockets and mastery of lobbying have failed: “It’s counterproductive to fight against windmills,” its spokesman told the Tageszeitung.

The propitious week started last Saturday with the “March Against Monsanto,” when people in over 400 cities in 52 countries protested against the company, its influence over governments, and its GMO seeds. Much of it was focused on the mundane issue of labeling. Protesters wanted GMO ingredients in food to show up on the label, just like fat or protein. A simple solution to the controversy: let consumers decide.

But a red line for the industry. It’s worried that consumers will read the label – and choose an alternative. So Monsanto continued to assure us through its minions that labeling would be too costly, that it would kill the cupcake shop down the street, that we don’t need to know anyway because GMO foods are safe for human consumption, etc. etc.

These assurances bring up echoes from the past. Monsanto’s previous flagship products included the once harmless DDT, now banned worldwide; a family of industrial chemicals called PCBs that are now considered highly toxic; Agent Orange, the defoliant liberally used during the Vietnam War and promoted as harmless to people, with grave results for the Vietnamese and US soldiers who came in contact with it. And there was saccharine, the sweetener that ended up being a carcinogen. More recently, Monsanto reinvented itself and decided to save mankind not with a DDT successor, but with genetically modified seeds, whether people wanted them or not.

The hubbub of the “March Against Monsanto” had barely died down when the USDA confirmed that genetically modified wheat was mysteriously growing on a farm in Oregon. Something that we’d been assured could never happen. Numerous impenetrable precautions would prevent that. Monsanto had developed that strain years ago, but field trials ended in 2004, and the thing had never been approved for sale or consumption. The reaction was immediate.

Japan would “refrain from buying western white and feed wheat effective today,” a Japanese farm ministry official announced on Thursday, adding that the ministry is pressing the USDA for details of its investigation. US wheat imports would be on hold until at least a test kit is available to identify GMO wheat, he said. South Korea, which bought about half of its wheat imports from the US last year, announced that it would suspend imports of US wheat. The EU’s consumer protection office announced that any shipments that tested positive for GMO could not be sold in the EU. Other countries were making similar announcements. And everyone is badgering Washington for more information.

GMO contaminations have occurred before, most notoriously in 2006, when much of the US long-grain rice crop had been contaminated by an experimental strain of genetically modified rice concocted by Bayer CropScience. Japan and Europe banned imports of American rice, which caused its price to collapse in the US. The company settled with rice farmers in 2011 for $750 million. But rice export is small business in the US, compared to wheat. And this time, it’s Monsanto that is on the hot seat.

And now Monsanto threw in the towel in Europe where its efforts to bamboozle people into loving its seeds have had mixed results. “We won’t lobby any longer for cultivation in Europe,” Brandon Mitchener, Monsanto’s public affairs lead for Europe, told the Tageszeitung. They had no plans to apply for the approval of new genetically modified crops “at this time,” he said, and the company would also forgo new field trials with GMO seeds.

Monsanto’s largest European competitors – Bayer CropScience, BASF, and Syngenta – had already pulled out of the GMO crop business in Germany and many other Member States. “We understand that this doesn’t have wide acceptance right now,” chimed in Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane, Monsanto’s spokeswoman in Germany.

Mitchener blamed it on the lack of interest from farmers. They have their reasons: in Germany, the cultivation of genetically modified crops is banned; and GMO foods, broadly rejected by consumers, are practically unsalable. Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner, who’d thrown her weight around in 2009 to stop the cultivation of MON810 corn in Germany, explained it this way: “For agriculture in Europe, the promises of salvation made by the gene-technology industry have so far not been fulfilled.”

Monsanto’s surrender was only partial, however. In Spain, Portugal, and Romania, where laws and consumers were less squeamish about GMO crops, Monsanto would continue to hawk is MON810, Mitchener said. Nor was Monsanto finished lobbying in the EU: it would still try to get the EU to allow the import of GMO animal feed. But in terms of cultivation in Europe, Monsanto would focus on conventional seeds for corn, canola, and veggies.

Triumphs against multinational lobbying giants are rare. So, even mini triumphs count. And Monsanto’s admission that it would quit trying to force GMO crops down people’s throats in Europe, limited as this admission may be, is now celebrated as one of them.

Meanwhile, hunger is spreading from its strongholds in the global south to depression-hit Southern Europe. In Greece, reports are growing of children having to scrounge for food from classmates, while in Spain city dwellers have become inured to the spectacle of people rummaging in trash cans for a bite to eat. But there’s a reason. Read…. Starving the World for Power and Profit: The Global Agribusiness Model.

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31 comments

  1. Chris Engel

    Here in Denmark they’ve kicked them out completely: http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Andre_sprog/English/2013/05/29/130741.htm

    Danish authorities confirm that this spells the end of GMO crops in Denmark.
    “At the moment, there are no Danish trials of GMO crops registered with the Danish AgriFish Agency,” said Kristine Riskær, head of the Seed and Plants department at the Danish AgriFish Agency, which holds authority over testing involving GMO crops in Denmark in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency.

  2. AbyNormal

    and do we understand Why monsanto (satan’s seed) is backing off the EU at this time? OF COURSE we do…as monsanto’s creator an largest shareholder has stated, “BEGGARS CAN’T BE CHOOSEY”.

    they’ll give austerity & drought its 15 more minutes of fame and lift-off…bon appétit my way OR the highway of starvation!

    http://www.gastronomica.org/gm-death-food-choice-zambia/

    http://sitemaker.umich.edu/africa.gmo/health

    Bill Gates (satan’s orbitofrontal cortex): Accept GMOs, or Millions Will Starve
    In the face of climate change devastation, Gates says world leaders must invest in agricultural technology.
    http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/01/25/bill-gates-accept-gmos-or-let-millions-starve-0

    The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.
    fidel castro

  3. diptherio

    Genetically modified wheat somehow growing in Oregon, where it ain’t supposed to be? There’s only one solution: sue the farmer whose crop has been contaminated. Isn’t that their normal course of action?

    MonSatan needs the corporate death-penalty, and the sooner the better…

  4. Lafayette

    Giant Monsanto Buckles In Europe

    Oh, really?

    They’ll probably come in the back door. That is, there is so much GMO already planted in Europe, that even the least educated farmers understand that (for an hour of labor) they get twice the harvest (or thereabout).

    It is difficult to combat the financials at the farmer’s level. And, though France may have conniptions about planting GMOs, then plenty of other EU countries are see-sawing on the matter.

    After all, the scientific proof of harm to humans is not all that well substantiated – and the French are hung on a legal concept that is called “preventive action”. Meaning until proof of no harm is patently evident, then the authorities must not allow widespread usage of a non-natural, chemically or genetically elaborated product.

    Of course, had they thought that way about pesticides over the past thirty-years, French farmers would not be dying of cancer at a particularly dangerous rate, would they?

  5. RueTheDay

    A lot of these articles seem to be glossing over the key point. Unlike GMO corn and GMO soybeans, GMO wheat is not approved for sale in the US or anywhere else in the world. Monsanto experimented with it years back, but then abandoned it and never sought FDA approval. It escaped into the wild and contaminated non-GMO wheat. This contaminated wheat is illegal to sell in the US and the rest of the world. The EU/China/Japan/SK/etc are 100% in the legal right in their actions. The US government should follow their lead and go a step further, seizing all of this illegal wheat and burning it. When all the US farmers complain that they will be bankrupted, the government should tell them to sue Monsanto for damages. This is about as open and shut of a case as you get.

  6. banger

    Well, we seem to live in a kind of dark Batman world without Batman–Monsanto and its high executives are about as close as you can get to cartoon villains and Jamie Dimon as you can get. Why is there no true opposition movement in this country? Where are the Batmans to save us?

    What weird NWO would we have without Europeans to keep things from degenerating too fast? They don’t do much in most areas but at least they recognize the importance of food.

    1. mk

      you are the batman you’ve been waiting for…

      eat organic, support your local farmers market, help build local economies…

  7. Brooklin Bridge

    Meanwhile, last week the Senate, “voted overwhelmingly — 71 to 27 — against an amendment[...]“, that would at least allow states to decide individually whether to permit labeling of GMO foods or not.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/gmo-labeling-bill-genetically-modified-food_n_3325972.html

    And yes, as usual now-a-days, the big fly in the ointment of letting the marketplace decide was a Democrat,
    Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the chair of the Agriculture Committee, [who] argued that the measure [states to allow labelling without fear of law suit by Monsantos et al] “is not germane to the farm bill” in the first place. She also said the labels run counter to science and the public interest in healthy food.

    Seriously, who needs Republicans? Well, I guess they do play a role in keeping the ship pointed towards the rocks with their constant war cries, “further to the right, you deadbeats”, (and the only ones who can keep a straight face while doing so).

    1. Massinissa

      “The labels run counter to corporate profits”

      There, I fixed Debbie Spenditnow’s statement to make it factually correct. She should totally thank me.

      I honestly dont see why anyone votes anymore. They get the same clowns no matter what anyway.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        An election, such as for the Senate, where no one came to vote would be as powerful a message as any we could ever hope to send and it would make it hard for Obama to throw every one in jail for such a serious threat to national security as non compliance with government Punch and Judy theater. Isn’t rejection of official government propaganda illegal now? If not, how unpatriotic!!!

        Still, as far as not showing up at required events goes, I’m not holding my breath… And if the impossible happened, the reaction would be one of three things: 1) It didn’t happen, move along folks 2) OK, we’ll eliminate voting altogether, but don’t say we didn’t warn you or 3) For the continuing protection and health of democracy, we are now passing a law requiring citizens to vote for the party they have been assigned to.

        1. Nathanael

          “An election, such as for the Senate, where no one came to vote would be as powerful a message as any we could ever hope to send”

          No, it wouldn’t. Look at the history of “election boycotts”; they are almost never effective.

          An election where everyone put in write-in anmes would be far more effective.

  8. Deloss

    There is a factor that is working in our favor: the all-powerful, always-right free marketplace. The Chicago Board of Trade posted this analysis on Friday:

    Wheat futures are called to open 3 to 6 cents lower.
    By Pro Farmer – Fri 31 May 2013 08:33:36 CT
    Related Keywords: Agriculture
    Wheat futures were under pressure overnight, with Chicago and Kansas City contracts leading the price decline.
    Additional fallout from the GMO wheat discovery in Oregon continues to weigh on wheat futures. South Korea now says it will halt U.S. wheat shipments until tests are conducted on recent shipments, joining Japan in temporarily suspending U.S. wheat shipments. Taiwan says it is “reviewing” U.S. wheat shipments and may ask exporters to guarantee they are GMO-free.
    Weekly wheat export sales were stronger than anticipated at 35,900 MT for 2012-13 and 728,300 MT for 2013-14. But given the concerns with the GMO situation, traders aren’t focused on weekly sales data.
    Strength in the U.S. index is also negative for wheat this morning.

    http://www.cmegroup.com/education/market-commentary/ag/2013/05/pre-open-wheat_6602.html

    1. AbyNormal

      there is no glossing over this chart
      http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=MON&p=D&yr=0&mn=3&dy=0&id=p51644484550
      doubt it’ll get more interesting…they got lotsa freends

      (monsanto) recently managed to have an outrageous rider slipped into the 587-page funding bill Congress sent to President Obama.[1]

      The rider essentially prohibits the Department of Agriculture from stopping production of any genetically engineered crop once it’s in the ground, even if there is evidence that it is harmful.

      That’s a pre-emptive Congressional override of the judicial system, since it is the courts that are most likely to ask the U.S.D.A. to halt planting or harvest of a particular crop. President Obama signed the bill last week (he kind of had to, to prevent a government shutdown) without mentioning the offensive rider [2] (he might have), despite the gathering of more than 250,000 signatures protesting the rider by the organization Food Democracy Now!
      http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/why-do-g-m-o-s-need-protection/?src=recg

      Seven Monsanto executives have held top positions in government since the 1980s. At present Michael Taylor is the Deputy Commissioner of Foods for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Taylor led the push to prevent labeling of GE foods and to consider GE foods as “substantially equivalent” to traditional foods in the 1990s. These actions have had the effect of keeping the public in the dark about GE foods and their health and environmental effects. Rather than protecting the public, which should be the role of a public food commissioner, Taylor has placed the public at risk to benefit Monsanto.

      This year, Monsanto won a great legal victory through its stealth passage of the so-called Farmer Assurance Provision, which is known as the Monsanto Protection Act. This law prevents the courts from stopping the growing or selling of GE crops even if they are proven to be harmful to the public.
      http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/ecology-what-must-be-done-about-monsanto-corporation-and-why

      p l e a s e someone save us from ourselves

      1. Chris Engel

        At least the famed “Monsanto Protection Act” (I love how the corporate defenders jump on the use of this term to refer to the rider, whose technical name would yield no understanding of the content of the bill) will be running out in some months (wasn’t it just for six months as part of the CR?)

        The backlash has already come and awareness is growing.

        I don’t like demonizing GMO’s, simply because they have the capacity to be extremely useful if it weren’t for the corporate psychopathy that led to the “innovations” like the terminator seed and harassment of farmers who get their crops pollinated unintentionally by neighbors.

        There’s really so much good that can come from GMO’s if the development of certain features was more “open source” so that we could say “okay, this particular GMO is deleterious to human health, but GMO XYZ is actually a good one”.

        The debate about GMO’s is really multi-faceted and it’s important to keep it as scientific as possible and not just cringe at the idea of “playing with nature” or anything like that (similar to how anti-nuclear activists tend to get a little unscientific in their zeal to fight powerplants).

        1. AbyNormal

          The system in place today will NEVER allow Safety to Trump Profits. You an Yours go 1st Chris…

          It has been assumed that virus genes are not present in the plant once it is grown in the field and reaches consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case.

          A review of the EFSA research in Independent Science News said the presence of the viral gene appears to have been missed by biotech companies, universities and government regulators.

          ‘This situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure,’ it said. ‘There are clear indications that this viral gene might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

          ‘A reasonable concern is that the protein produced by *Gene VI* might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.’

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2266143/Uncovered-toxic-gene-hiding-GM-crops-Revelation-throws-new-doubt-safety-foods.html

          1. Chris Engel

            There’s undoubtedly some negative GMO’s out there.

            And you’re right that when the profit motive is there, the impetus is for corporations to “innovate” features for GMO’s that will maximize their bottom line rather than benefit humanity at the peril of their shareholders.

            I just don’t like the characterization of GMO’s as being universally bad, which is part of the mood here in Europe. It’s more of a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of fiddling with nature than a scientific analysis of pro’s and con’s of various applications of GMO’s. I’ve spoken with chemists and bioengineers who have expressed passionately the potential for GMO’s — not in the profit potential but in the way they can be designed to really “weather” the change in climate that’s coming about from global warming.

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            I just don’t like the characterization of GMO’s as being universally bad, which is part of the mood here in Europe. It’s more of a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of fiddling with nature than a scientific analysis of pro’s and con’s of various applications of GMO’s.

            The GMOs available commercially are exclusively engineered by corporations that have two interests and two interests only; money and monopoly. Right now, the average European is being a lot more “scientific” in their rejection of GMO’s than the big corporations are being “scientific” in their assurances that, “All is well, now just shut up and let me ruin another community of small farmers in court, and let our lobbyists do their work writing the legislation that makes it it impossible/illegal to take any measure, never mind labeling GMO foods, if crops already planted prove dangerous to humans. Yea right, those superstitious Europeans that aren’t willing to swallow corporate propaganda unchallenged in any way…

            When GMOs are clearly labeled, when companies are not spending fortunes on making it illegal to question them in any way, when giant corporations are not attempting to ruin and crush small farmers, when they are not buying whole governments outright, when there is real transparancy as to the makeup of these products, when the biggest government in the world is not 100% in the bag for such corporations, THEN, perhaps we can talk about “scientific” objectivity and the potential for genetic modification to help society. We are clearly a long way away from such a “scientific” environment and it is pretty thin gruel indeed to talk condescendingly about European lack of scientific objectivity.

          3. Nathanael

            Chris: of course there’s potential for decent GMOs. Perhaps some carefully controlled university research could be done.

            The problem is that companies like Monsanto, and all the companies who actually make GMOs, should be prohibited forever from making GMOs, because they are making known-dangerous GMOs. The corporate death penalty is appropriate for Monsanto.

  9. Foppe

    quibble: The FDA removed Saccharine from the list of known carcinogens in 2000, as it felt claims of it being one were unsubstantiated. Not sure what to make of that, but anyway.

  10. Chris Rogers

    OK, given the amount of hunger present in the world, and desire to destroy this tainted crop of GMO-infected wheat, may I enquire, would it not be better to write the crop off, but instead of destroying it, mill it into flour and give it away free to those actually staving?

    Anyway, that’s my two cents worth – yes, it sounds a bit extreme and unsafe for sure, however, if you are days away from death, does it actually matter 25 years down the line you may grow two heads. One’s not being callous, but facts are facts, this food crop could prevent death now, and may contribute to death later – but given the choice, I’d like to live a few additional days with food in my belly, and that of the kids, rather than die immediately of starvation.

    I’m all for being radical and having a dislike for unethical multinationals. I’m also a realist and would prefer to save lives, rather than destroy them.

    The farmers, as others have suggested, should not be bailed out by the government, rather a class action against Monsanto is required for their loss, hopefully, the fine will be large enough to bankrupt them – a very good idea in my book.

    1. AbyNormal

      “If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.”

      why poison the starving when monsanto giants and their shareholding minions have plenty of money & resources to stave off the immediate hunger pangs …from there its cake iced with commitment!

      There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.

      The irrigation water used globally to grow food that is wasted would be enough for the domestic needs (at 200 litres per person per day) of 9 billion people – the number expected on the planet by 2050. 10% of rich countries’ greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food that is never eaten.

      The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations. Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork.

      If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need, while the US has around four times more food than is needed, and up to three-quarters of the nutritional value is lost before it reaches people’s mouths.
      with Video
      http://marketwatch666.blogspot.com/2012/12/hunger-5th-course-americas-food-waste.html

      remove Lobbyist (satan’s lungs)
      http://marketwatch666.blogspot.com/2012/12/hunger-5-who-funds-prop-37.html

      put a fork in Speculation
      http://marketwatch666.blogspot.com/2012/11/hunger-4th-course.html
      &
      http://marketwatch666.blogspot.com/2012/11/hunger-4th-course-served-cold.html

      i got 3 more courses if you can handle it

      check this out:

      Feeding Nine Billion: A Solution to the Global Food Crisis by Dr. Evan Fraser (12min)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raSHAqV8K9c

      1. Chris Rogers

        Aby,

        We have people with hunger pangs across Europe and in the USA, the two largest and richest economic blocs globally.

        I’m aware of food wastage in the UK and USA – they’s rather the food rot than even give it to a charity, or prosecute you if you rummage through their waste bins at the end of the work day.

        Further, I agree the multinationals can feed all the world presently – although at great cost to the environment – my point was, and if we are talking millions of tonnage, its criminal to throw it away despite the fact that its tainted.

        1. skippy

          Before Cancer became the medical bogeyman under everyone’s bed it was gastrointestinal illness, we seem to be going backwards in this regard ie GMO related.

          Although how many understand the history and causality behind all of this, and how to move into an uncertain future. Unless – WE – absorb the totality of it all, rather than isolated features [for profit], its going to be a rough slog.

          Chapter 5Science and Technology for Disease Control: Past, Present, and Future

          David Weatherall, Brian Greenwood, Heng Leng Chee, and Prawase Wasi.

          “As examined in the report of the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (WHO 2001), considerable discussion is taking place about how to mobilize skills and resources of the industrial countries for the benefit of the health of the developing world. However, how this international effort should be organized or, even more important, funded is still far from clear. A number of models have been proposed, including the creation of a new global institute for health research and a global fund for health research with an independent, streamlined secretariat analogous to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Recently, a number of large donations have been given—either by governments or by philanthropic bodies—to tackle some of the major health problems of the developing world. Although many of these approaches are admirable, those that involve single donations raise the critical problem of sustainability. People with experience in developing interactions between the North and South will have no doubts about the long period of sustained work that is often required for a successful outcome.

          Because of the uncertainties about sustainability and the efficiency of large international bodies, it has been suggested that a virtual global network for health research be established in which the leading research agencies of the North and South take part, together with a coordinating council (Keusch and Medlin 2003). In this scheme or in a modified form (Pang 2003), both government funding agencies and philanthropic bodies would retain their autonomy and mechanisms of funding while at the same time their individual programs would be better integrated and directed toward the problems of global health.

          A central problem of both private and public patterns of funding for medical research is that industrial countries have tended to focus their research on their own diseases and have, with a few exceptions, tended to ignore the broader problems of developing countries, a trend that has resulted in the well-known 10/90 gap in which more than 90 percent of the world’s expenditure on health research is directed at diseases that, numerically, affect a relatively small proportion of the world’s population. If the enormous potential of modern biomedical research is not to result in a widening of the gap in health care between North and South, this situation must be corrected. The governments of industrial countries may be able to encourage a more global view of research activity on the part of their pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries by various tax advantages and other mutually beneficial approaches. Progress in this direction seems likely to be slow, however. For this reason, moving quickly toward a virtual global network for research that would bring together the research agencies of the North and South holds many attractions. Although those of the North that rely on government and charitable funding may find it equally difficult to convince their governments that more of their budget should be spent on work in the developing world, they vitally need to move in this direction, possibly by turning at least some proportion of their overseas aid to this highly effective approach to developing North-South partnerships.

          In short, to produce the funding required for medical research in the future and to ensure that it takes on a much more global view of its objectives, a complete change in attitude is called for on the part of the industrial countries. This transformation, in turn, will require a similar change of outlook on the part of those who educate doctors and medical scientists. The introduction of considerable sums of research monies into the international scene by governments or philanthropic bodies as single, large donations, while welcome, will not form the basis for the kind of sustainable research program that is required. Rather, the attitudes of both government funding agencies and charitable bodies in industrial countries will have to change, with a greater proportion of their funding being directed at diseases of the developing world in the future. Achieving this end will require a major program of education on the global problems of disease at every level, including governments, industry, universities, charitable organizations, and every other body that is involved in the medical research endeavor.” – snip

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11740/

          Understanding Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases

          Typically, answers to these questions all involve an appeal to values. A value is something that has significance or worth in a given situation. One of the exciting events to witness in any discussion in ethics in a pluralist society is the varying ways in which the individuals involved assign value to things, persons, and states of affairs. Examples of values that students may appeal to in discussions of ethical issues include autonomy, freedom, privacy, protecting another from harm, promoting another’s good, justice, fairness, economic stability, relationships, scientific knowledge, and technological progress.

          Acknowledging the complex, multifaceted nature of ethical discussions is not to suggest that “anything goes.” Experts generally agree on the following features of ethics. First, ethics is a process of rational inquiry. It involves posing clearly formulated questions and seeking well-reasoned answers to those questions. For example, developing countries suffer particularly severely from many infectious diseases because conditions of crowding and poor sanitation are ideal for the growth and spread of pathogens. The same is true for many inner city environments. These places provide a constant reservoir of disease-causing agents. We can ask questions about what constitutes an appropriate ethical standard for allocating health care funds for curtailing the spread of infectious diseases. Should we expend public research dollars to develop drugs whose cost will be out of reach for developing countries or those in the inner cities? Is there any legal and ethical way for the United States to prevent over-the-counter sales of antibiotics in other countries, a practice that may enhance the evolution of antibiotic resistant pathogens? Well-reasoned answers to ethical questions constitute arguments. Ethical analysis and argument, then, result from successful ethical inquiry.

          Second, ethics requires a solid foundation of information and rigorous interpretation of that information. For example, one must have a solid understanding of infectious disease to discuss the ethics of requiring immunizations and reporting of infectious diseases. Ethics is not strictly a theoretical discipline but is concerned in vital ways with practical matters. This is especially true in a pluralist society.

          Third, because tradeoffs among interests are complex, constantly changing, and sometimes uncertain, discussions of ethical questions often lead to very different answers to questions about what is right and wrong and good and bad. For example, we acknowledge that individuals have a right to privacy regarding their infectious disease status. Yet, some argue that AIDS patients who knowingly infect others may have their right to privacy overridden so that partners may be notified of the risk of contracting AIDS.

          It is our hope that completing the activities in this module will help students see how understanding science can help individuals and society make reasoned decisions about issues relating to infectious diseases and health. Science provides evidence that can be used to support ways of understanding and treating human disease, illness, deformity, and dysfunction. But the relationships between scientific information and human choices, and between choices and behaviors, are not linear. Human choice allows individuals to choose against sound knowledge, and choice does not necessarily lead to particular actions.

          Nevertheless, it is increasingly difficult for most of us to deny the claims of science. We are continually presented with great amounts of relevant scientific and medical knowledge that is publicly accessible. As a consequence, we can think about the relationships among knowledge, choice, behavior, and human welfare in the following ways:

          Knowlage (what is and what is not known) plus choice = power

          power plus + behavior = increased human welfare (that is, personal and public health)

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20370/

          Skippy… Purchasing power – stores of value – corporate fiefdoms – egregious individualism… Priority’s of Barfdom methinks… sigh~

          1. AbyNormal

            appreciate these informative links Skippy…i sighed a few times thru the funding issues.

            from your 1st link:
            (WHO 2002c), which sets out a program for controlling disease globally by reducing 10 conditions: underweight status; unsafe sex; high blood pressure; tobacco consumption; alcohol consumption; unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene; iron deficiency; indoor smoke from solid fuels; high cholesterol; and obesity. These conditions are calculated to account for more than one-third of all deaths worldwide.
            (of all our human accomplishments i can’t believe we’re still behind on these basic high risk issues)

      2. p78

        02:38 in Fraser’s video: the corn drawing is wrong (LOL), with an ear instead of a tassel at the top of the plant. Or was that the pinnacle of genetical modification?! :)

        1. AbyNormal

          Bhahahahaaa! must be that new drought resistant thingy.
          i like the banks smokin a cig & shootin pool.

  11. jfleni

    Where are the wheat exporters, small and medium-sized businesses, and the farmers who support them?

    (There’s no point in asking about the “guvmint” they sold out to Monsanto long ago.)

    Why have all these other legimate and important interests been struck silent by the machinations of Poison Monsanto, with hardly a squeak of protest?

    Where are the normally bugle-mouthed American food yuppies, because if Asia is rejecting our wheat, what are we eating when Asians don’t complain?

    When it comes to Poison Monsanto there are far more questions than answers! WHY?

    1. afisher

      The bottom line is that Monsanto has lawyers and money to fight the “small farmers”. If you farm next to one of these corporate farms and the seed drifts from M. to local, the M sues and essentially bankrupts the local.

      Recently Cass Sustein (ex-Obama guy) wrote an Op-Ed piece at Bloomberg re: GMO labeling using the typical Monsanto Talking Points / PR – it was sad: cost to change label, informed public would reject it and uninformed could be falsely afraid.

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