Obviously (what's the Left problem with GM food?)

Eric Beck rayrena at accesshub.net
Fri Oct 20 16:55:42 PDT 2000

Doug Henwood wrote:

>Who ever claimed that "things are getting monotonically better every
>day for everyone"? Not me, not Marx, not James Heartfield. Though I
>think the drift of Carrol's post was that things are more or less
>getting worse, and have been since the first woman knelt to grind

Carrol criticized a certain type of progress ("19th-century bourgeois Idea of Progress") and pointed out that some technologies are created for destructive purposes (care to make a case for the societal benefits of, say, the electric chair?). Why whenever someone Blasphemes against Progress and Technology do you assume they desire a return to hunting-gathering?

>The point is that capitalism has given us material wealth and
>sophisticated technology, but it's done a very bad job of using those
>things to better the lives of all. Before Coxian pessimism became
>hegemonic on the left

"Before Coxian pessimism became hegemonic"? Do I hear the sniffles of a misty-eyed appeal to some glorious past (that probably never existed)?

Since the cause of hunger is food distribution, not (the capabilities of) food production, the retreat position of advocating GM foods conceals a pessimism much deeper than the Coxian kind: We can cure starvation by flooding the market with biotech-created foods and hope that they trickle down to Africa, Asia, Latin America. In the long term, this thinking admits defeat--the capitalist relations that impede equitable food distribution aren't going to disappear. In the short term, it assumes that the market will find the people you want it to benefit.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list