We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, December 13, 2013

Who Should You Believe When it Comes to the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods?

Click here to access article by Jill Richardson from AlterNet.

The author points out the difficulties in deciding whether one should consume genetically engineered foods by focusing on corporate influences over the design of research that has been done on GE foods, the bias of scientists who have ties to GE corporations, and the difficulties in getting studies published that shed doubt on GE foods. The common thread here is the control of funding for research and scientific publications by private interests who stand to reap huge profits from GE foods. She provides us with an excellent exposé of the influence of private money interests over the production of food and public health.

However, this raises another, and even more disturbing question: cannot the same influences illustrated in this one sub-sector of society not apply to all major sectors? Take any other sector such as education, media, or government and you find the same pernicious influences at work. The concentration of wealth in private hands has become so pronounced that we in the 99 Percent, who do not "own" any significant amounts of economic property, are now at the mercy of our corporate/financial/capitalist masters in nearly all areas of our lives. Have we in the 99 Percent not returned to the extreme subordination to a ruling class which is very much like serfdom of the Middle Ages? Is this period in which we are now living the 21st century's neoliberal equivalent of the Middle Ages?