Gene Wars: The Politics of Biotechnology - Kristin Dawkins (Seven Stories Press, 1997)

Kristin Dawkins has managed to pack a lot of information into this excellent little booklet.

American citizens don't starve through lack of genetically modified food, they starve through poverty. A situation that can only get worse with the deep welfare cuts imposed by Clinton (disguised as welfare reform). NAFTA has led to the massive loss of US jobs with the closure of US factories and their relocation just across the border. Mexicans have fared little better as US grain is dumped, destroying local farmers.

The World Trade Organisation is a quasi-judicial world government. It exists to enforce corporate rights at the behest of global corporations, to the detriment of human rights. Non-tariff barriers to trade are to be dismantled. Countries can not ban GM-food or GM-crops as this is seen as non-tariff barriers even though there are good health and environmental grounds for doing so. People rarely learn of the machinations of WTO apart from when the prospect of a trade war looms as the US and EU battle it out as to who has the right to rip of the Third World.

Intellectual property rights are being used to patent what are effectively free goods - the seeds that have been used for generations, human DNA. Under the US Economic Espionage Act, the FBI is charged with protecting Intellectual Property Rights, ie taxpayers dollars will be used to protect corporate profits.

It wasn't mandatory testing that picked up that soya containing a Brazil nut gene caused fatal nut allergy or that soil bacteria engineered to produce ethanol killed wheat seedlings, it was the curiosity of the few remaining independent research scientists.

Although Gene Wars is US oriented, the activities of US global corporations, and their European counterparts affect us all. The global corporations have removed virtually all the safeguards and regulations on biotechnology, and with the help of the US government are forcing their unwelcome products and practices upon the rest of the world.

A useful summary of the issues.

Books Worth Reading
(c) Keith Parkins 1999 -- October 1999 rev 0