A couple of posts from the excellent and incredibly thoughtful anthropologist/political ecologist Glenn Davis Stone. Oldies but goodies. In this one, he talks about the open and (in his evaluation) very scientific approach it took to denying approval for Bt brinjal (genetically modified eggplant). It’s important to note the Stone is not anti-GM at all in principle; but he is anti-selective use of evidence and unbridled fanboyism. He also shares the common concerns about corporate domination of GM technology. ~MJC


The dust has not settled after India’s decision not to approve its first genetically modified food crop.  In fact it has just been kicked up again today, with the prime minister accusing foreign NGO’s of meddling and activists responding that the real meddling is by multinational corporations.

This is much more than a local dust-up.  What’s at stake is not just whether Indians will have “Bt brinjal” (genetically modified eggplant) on their plates — it’s how we even make these decisions.

The decision to deny approval of Bt brinjal (at least until further research is done) was made by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.  The Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee normally makes these calls, and it voted for approval, but knowing well that India’s first GM food would be a hot potato, it asked Ramesh to decide.

Ramesh organized an unusually open consultation process — much more open than any other decision-making…

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