GMOs and Global Justice: Applying Global Justice Theory to the Case of Genetically Modified Crops and Food
- Kristian Høyer Toft
- … show all 1 hide
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Proponents of using genetically modified (GM) crops and food in the developing world often claim that it is unjust not to use GMOs (genetically modified organisms) to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. In reply, the critics of GMOs claim that while GMOs may be useful as a technological means to increase yields and crop quality, stable and efficient institutions are required in order to provide the benefits from GMO technology. In this debate, the GMO proponents tend to rely on a simple utilitarian type of calculus that highlights the benefits of GMOs to the poor, but that overlooks the complex institutional requirements necessary for GMO production. The critics, recognizing the importance of institutional conditions, focus primarily on the negative impacts of institutional deficiencies, thereby overlooking the basically Rawlsian claim that institutions per se may generate claims to justice. This article investigates how GMOs might generate claims to global justice and what type of justice is involved. The paper argues that the debate on GMOs and global justice can be categorized into three views, i.e., the cosmopolitan, the pluralist, and the sceptic. The cosmopolitan holds that GMOs can and should be used for alleviating global hunger, whereas the sceptic rejects this course of action. I will argue here for a moderately cosmopolitan approach, relying on the pluralist view of institutions and the need to exploit the benefits of GMOs. This argument rests on the premise that global cooperation on GMO production provides the relevant basis for assessing the use of GMOs by the standard of global distributive justice.
- Abizadeh, A (2007) Cooperation, pervasive impact, and coercion: on the scope (not site) of distributive justice. Philosophy & Public Affairs 35: pp. 318-358 CrossRef
- Beitz, C. (1979, 1999). Political theory and international relations. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Bernauer, T (2003) Genes, trade and regulation–the seeds of conflict in food biotechnology. Princeton University Press, New Jersey
- Blay, S (2005) International regulation of biotechnology: Problems and prospects. Journal of International Biology Law 2: pp. 245-251 CrossRef
- Borlaug, N (2000) Ending world hunger. The promise of biotechnology and the threat of anti-science zealotry. Plant Physiology 124: pp. 487-490 CrossRef
- Borlaug, N. (2000b). We need biotech to feed the world. Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition) (December 6).
- Brom, FWA (2004) WTO, public reason and food public reasoning in the ‘trade conflict’ on GM-food. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 7: pp. 417-431 CrossRef
- Chadwick, R, Wilson, S (2004) Genomic databases as global public goods?. Res Publica 10: pp. 123-134 CrossRef
- Clapp, J (2004) WTO agricultural trade battles and food aid. Third World Quarterly 25: pp. 1439-1452 CrossRef
- Cohen, J, Sabel, C (2006) Extra republicam nulla justitia. Philosophy & Public Affairs 34: pp. 147-175 CrossRef
- Danida, (2002). Assessment of potentials and constraints for development and use of plant biotechnology in relation to plant breeding and crop production in developing countries. Danida working paper.
- EU Commission. (2010). Communication from the commission to the european parliament, the council, the economic and social committee and the committee of the regions—on the freedom for member states to decide on the cultivation of genetically modified crops. Accessed on August 31, 2010 from http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biotechnology/docs/communication_en.pdf.
- Gonzalez, C. G. (2007). Genetically modified organisms and justice: The International environmental justice implications of biotechnology. Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, 19(4), 1–53.
- Jasanoff, S (2005) Designs on nature–science and democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton University Press, New Jersey
- Nagel, T (2005) The problem of global justice. Philosophy & Public Affairs 33: pp. 113-147 CrossRef
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics. (2003). The use of genetically modified crops in developing countries—a follow-up discussion paper. London.
- Pinstrup-Andersen, P., & Schiøler, E. (2001). Seeds of contention—world hunger and the global controversy over genetically modified crops. Washington: IFPRI, Food Policy Statements 33.
- Pogge, T (2002) World poverty and human rights. Polity Press, Cambridge UK
- Rawls, J (1971) A theory of justice. Oxford University Press, New York
- Rawls, J (1999) The law of peoples–with the idea of public reason revisited. Harvard University Press, Cambridge US
- Sandøe, P, Hauge Madsen, K Agricultural and Food Ethics in the Western World: A case of Ethical Imperialism?. In: Pinstrup-Andersen, P, Sandøe, P eds. (2007) Ethics, hunger and globalization—in search of appropriate policies. The international library of environmental, agricultural and food ethics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 201-214
- Sharife, K. (2009). Is GM food the future for Africa? New African, January, (480), 9–13.
- Singer, P. (1971, 1985). Famine, affluence and morality. In C. Beitz, M. Cohen, T. Scanlon & J. Simmons (Eds.), International Ethics—A Philosophy & Public Affairs Reader (247-261). New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Singer, P (2002) One world–the ethics of globalization. Yale University Press, New Haven
- The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. (2000). Montreal.
- Thompson, PB Ethics, hunger and the case for genetically modified (GM) crops. In: Pinstrup-Andersen, P, Sandøe, P eds. (2007) Ethics, hunger and globalization–in search of appropriate policies. The international library of environmental, agricultural and food ethics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 215-235
- Thompson, PB (2010) Food aid and the famine relief argument (brief return). Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Ethics 23: pp. 209-227 CrossRef
- Winickoff, D, Jasanoff, S, Busch, L, Grove-White, R, Wynne, B (2005) Adjudicating the GM food wars: Science, risk and democracy in world trade law. The Yale Journal of International Law 30: pp. 81-121
- GMOs and Global Justice: Applying Global Justice Theory to the Case of Genetically Modified Crops and Food
Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Volume 25, Issue 2 , pp 223-237
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Global justice
- Basic structure
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- International law
- Borlaug hypothesis
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Erik Eriksens Gade 12, 4mf., 2300, Copenhagen S, Denmark