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Social and Ethical Considerations of Agro-biotechnology

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Social and Ethical Considerations of. Agro-biotechnology. Gary A. Goreham, Ph.D. ... Biotechnology, in general, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Social and Ethical Considerations of Agro-biotechnology


1
Social and Ethical Considerations
ofAgro-biotechnology
  • Gary A. Goreham, Ph.D.
  • Department of Sociology/Anthropology
  • North Dakota State University

2
  • Biotechnology, in general, and genetically
    modified organisms (GMOs), in particular, pose
    many social and ethical questions.
  • Our discussion today will explore some of these
    questions.

3
The Sociology of Genetically Modified Organisms
The Social Psychology of GMOs
Macro-Structural Issues Government, Private
Industry, and International Relations
Micro-Structural Issues Small Groups and
Communities
4
The Social Psychology of GMOs
  • What is the social psychology and cosmology
    regarding humans place in/connection to nature
    as a result of the genetic revolution?
  • How are public perceptions of GMOs affected by
    the larger questions of biotechnology and human
    cloning?
  • What are environmentalists, faith communitys,
    etc. attitudes toward GMOs?
  • How do social movement organizations shape
    attitudes toward GMOs?
  • What are producers attitudes toward/adoption of
    GMOs?
  • What are consumer awareness of/attitudes toward
    GMOs?

5
Micro-Structural IssuesSmall Groups and
Communities
  • What are the characteristics of those who can and
    cant afford GMOs technology?
  • What are the consequences for producers for
    adopting or not adopting GMOs?
  • What are the employment, social capital,
    conflict, and development implications for rural
    communities?
  • How have the relationships among residents in
    rural neighborhoods been affected by GMOs?

6
Macro-Structural Issues Government, Private
Industry, International Relations
  • Who are the beneficiaries of GMOs producers,
    consumers, agribusiness, general public?
  • What about the monopoly of the agro-food system
    by transnational corporations?

7
Market Share Controlled by Largest Food Firms
Heffernan, et al., 1996.
8
Macro-Structural Issues Government, Private
Industry, International Relations
  • Who are the beneficiaries of GMOs producers,
    consumers, agribusiness, general public?
  • What about the monopoly of the agro-food system
    by transnational corporations?
  • What are the connections among government-subsidiz
    ed GMO research, private industry, and government
    regulation?
  • How about patent and intellectual property
    rights?
  • Whose responsibility is it to clean-up genetic
    contamination?
  • What is the Impact on the structure of
    agriculture in Developing Nations?
  • How about GMOs as military, economic weapons
    genetic terrorism?

9
The Ethics of Genetically Modified Organisms
Ethical Principles
Beneficence
Non-maleficence
Autonomy
Justice
10
Beneficence
  • Beneficence to do good unconditional goodwill
    and compassion.
  • Can GMOs feed a hungry world?
  • Is GMO engineering, technology, and agriculture
    sustainable? Profitable? Healthy?

11
Autonomy
  • Autonomy self-determination respect for
    persons.
  • What limits human action Gods or Natures
    design? Human knowledge (science) or ability
    (technology)?
  • To what degree should GMO engineering,
    technology, and agriculture be regulated?
  • Labeling Do individuals have a right to know in
    order to make informed decisions?

12
Non-maleficence
  • Non-maleficence do no evil or harm
    risk-benefit analysis.
  • What are the biological, environmental, health,
    and economic risks of GMOs? Are they safe?
  • What could happen? What should happen?
  • Who will decide?
  • Are the risks acceptable? And do the benefits
    outweigh the risks?

13
Justice
  • Justice equity fair treatment for all people.
  • Should private individuals or corporations have
    the right to patent genes or life forms?
  • How equitably will the benefits and risks be
    distributed?

14
The current state of affairs regarding the social
and ethical implications of genetically modified
organisms? We have far more questions than
answers!
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