From the genetically modified food front:

  • The New York Times published an editorial yesterday, “Genes and a Hoe,” detailing the use of GM corn in Kenya.
  • Greenpeace has claimed that illegal GM rice has spread to southern China, via China Daily and The Guardian.

There is a laissez-faire part of me that feels that we should just allow this stuff to be produced, for two reasons.

If it’s going to mean cheaper food, people who are having trouble just surviving are going to be able to do so more easily. To me this takes priority over a lot of things; like I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect a person who’s just surviving to care about the issues the developed world cares about. If you are concerned with these issues, you can individually choose to buy non-GM food, as many in Vermont, to name one example, have done.

Barriers to it will likely be jumped anyway, as in bullet #2 above.

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On the other hand, there are some issues here (and one in particular) that may come close to trumping those arguments. The most significant is biodiversity, as GM crops tend to weaken the variety of species in the area they are produced. The reason that ecosystems (and cities) are so chaotic and complex and resilient and adaptable is that they contain so much diversity, which mass-produced GM foods reduce.

For me the jury’s still out, although I’m leaning toward the pro-GM food camp.

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