talked about finding the genetic 'cause' for homelessness, and improving our
children's mathematical and computer abilities through genetic manipulation
so that they are better able to compete with the Germans and Japanese.
Finally, the implications of genetic engineering for rapidly proliferating
reproductive technologies opens up truly astonishing issues which humans
have never before had to contemplate; for example, the announcement in late 1993 that it was possible to clone human embryos let to the passage of a
resolution in the European Parliament against human embryo 'farming'.
In all of this we can see the potential (or actual) diminution of the
democratic ethos. People are seen as passive consumers rather than citizens
living the vita activa.
21 The development of decision-making elites is
encouraged, persons whose professional and social lives are characterized by
an abundance of experiences which are systematically denied to the great
mass of human beings.
22 The technology of genetic engineering is not
developing democratically and, indeed, is leading to the exacerbation of power
differentials within our societies. This is perhaps its most substantial ethical
Nicanor Perlas, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, Philippines, Third
World Resurgence, Issue No. 38, 1993, Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia.
Philip L. Bereano and
Nachama L. Wilker, Council for Responsible Genetics,
Letter, Science, Vol. 258, 4 December 1992: 1561-1562.
M. Tiedje, et al, "The Planned Introduction of Genetically Engineered Organisms:" Ecological Considerations and Recommendations, Ecology, Vol. 70, 1989: 298-
Vol. 59, pp. 22984-23005 ( 29 May 1992).
Science, Policy Forum, 26 June 1992: 1747.
These two problems are analysed extensively in Jane Rissler and
Margaret Mellon, Perils Amidst the Promise:Ecological Risks of Transgenic Crops in a Global
Market, Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington DC, December 1993.
"Flood Uproots Transgenic Crop", Science, "Random Samples" (ed.
), Vol. 261, 3 September 1993: 127.
Vandana Shiva, Third World Resurgence, No 38, Third World Network, Penang, Malaysia, 1993.
Science, "NIH Biodiversity Grants Could Benefit Shamans", 10 December 1993,
Vol. 262: 1635.
For a fuller exploration of this ideology and a countervailing point of view see Ruth Hubbard and
Elijah Wald, Exploding the Gene Myth, Boston: Beacon
Martin Khor, Third World Resurgence, No. 38, Penang, Malaysia, 1993.
Rural Advancement Foundation International, 'Communique: Vanilla and
Biotechnology,' January 1987; see update, July 1991.