Reagan era Treasury official discusses social costs of GMO world

PaulCraigRobertsPaul Craig Roberts is a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Treasury, a former editor of  the Wall Street Journal  and is the author of several books and numerous columns on economics, justice and foreign policy.

Now he addresses the common (and faulty) economic presumption that low-cost production, based on a genetically modified, chemical foundation, is good for all of us. Roberts says this presumption is simply “playing God with insufficient information,” with the downside to humans and the environment still unknown, or at least not admitted.

Roberts says chemicals are not included in the costs of agricultural production; yet the ‘social, or external’ costs are piling up. As a few examples, consider the dead zones in the Gulf, the result of chemicals used in agriculture, and the sea life illness and die-offs from wastes that include radiation. The factory farms that are the basis of the U.S. and much of the world’s food system are breeding pits for germs that necessitate the use of tons of antibiotics and other chemicals, now giving rise to antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the same vulnerability that antibiotics have inflicted  on humans.

Genetically modified seeds equipped with unnatural genes to resist pests and disease are now requiring more and more pesticides and herbicides, yet are still falling prey to resistant superbugs. The cost has been destruction of essential microorganisms in the soil, loss of soil fertility, damage to organic, natural farms, loss of nutritional value in food for humans and animals and many health problems and die-offs in animals, birds. bees and frogs. This type of agricultural system is also being frequently linked with cancers, autism and other modern ‘lifestyle’ diseases in humans.

Roberts cites Purdue University plant pathologist and soil microbiologist Don Huber who has repeatedly warned of these mounting problems. “But,’ says Roberts, Huber has not been generally supported by most scientists. “Careers are dependent on research grants from agriculture. In other words, Monsanto essentially controls the research on its own products.

“Yet the U.S. Government is so totally controlled by Monsanto that labeling cannot be required.” And Dow, Monsanto, Syngenta rake in the profits, all the while touting their suspect goods as the low-cost products the world needs. According to Roberts, the prevailing sentiment of modern economists is that man’s ‘cleverness’ is a superior substitute for nature’s capital.

“The true costs are imposed on third parties and life itself,” he said. “Low-cost production may turn out to be a very high cost indeed.”

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