This is an aphorism I coined many years ago when I was Environmental Researcher for OPIRG-Carleton.

While educating myself on the subject of pesticides, and agitating others (a PIRG motto), I discovered the resistance of pests to the chemical poisons we call pesticides. In fact, through natural selection, pests get to the point where they relish these chemicals--they adapt to an environment full of these chemicals. (They can adapt to this environment, we tend to develop cancer.)

So, we spray more. This is the rationale behind Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Canola seeds. These seeds grow into canola that is immune to the pesticide Roundup--so farmers can spray more, and more completely without fear of killing the canola; a kind of agricultural carpet bombing. Intense spraying has its obvious problems for agricultural workers, for nearby residents, and even for the consumers of sprayed canola due to residues.

Another problem is making the news in Canada. Monsanto requires users to buy each year from them--breaking with the age-old practice of growing from last year’s seeds. Monsanto doesn’t recognize that the wind might blow seeds, and pollen from the genetically modified organisms, or GMO, to other fields, and cross-breed without anyone doing anything.

This has already happened Monsanto is suing a Canadian farmer who has never used Monsanto seeds.

This at the same time as Advanta Seeds in Winnipeg has had its non-GMO seeds contaminated by its GMO seeds--thousands of acres of these unexpectedly GMO seeds have been planted in England, and Europe.

No longer are seeds the produce of Mother Nature, but of Mother Monsanto.

This phenomenon also occurs with bacteria and antibiotics. The only difference between pests and bacteria, and pesticides and medicine is the size of the pest, and the legislation the chemical poisons are regulated under.

Bacteria illustrate the same remarkable resistance to chemical poisons that bigger pests do. More than this, the have much shorter lifespans, and they also exchange resistences by exchanging plasmid rings. There is an inherent principle here:

The smaller a pest is, the faster it overcomes all techological attempts to eradicate it.

We have pollution-control technology to control pollution caused by technology. We have the technology of nuclear plants to control the problems caused by atomic radiation. I’m sure you can multiply instances.

Does the pace of technology outpace our ability to use it for good?

Most emphatically yes. It is the engine of what we call progress, but which in reality, is how some make immense amounts of money at the expense of many.

Jeremy Rifkin in his many books, and his work at the Foundation for Economic Trends has been making this point for many years.


I think what Saige is refering to here and in the other node, is what economics calls externalities.

It is the incessant greed and amorality of capitalism that drives progress, whether at Monsanto, or the makers of cars.

Only after the damage is incontrovertible is industry finally forced, by the evil government, to make some, small recompense for the billions and billions of dollars they took out of all our hides. They stall. They lie. They bribe. They threaten to maintain their profit.

A thorough exposition of this with respect to the lead additive in gasoline, tetraethyl lead, is in the March 20, 2000, edition of The Nation.

Maybe technology by itself is good. But like anything else, it isn't by itself.

We make our technology, our technology makes us.

Once again, an attempt to downgrade technology is actually misdirected, as it's the use of the technology here, as in just about everywhere else, that is the culprit. The problems here aren't caused by technology, they're caused by how they're used.

The whole deal with Monsanto, and Roundup, and the GMO seeds is the incessant greed and amorality of capitalism, which uses as it's only guide financial motives. If the people affected by the heavy pesticide spraying were able to sue for large dollar amounts, they Monsanto might have to rethink their strategy. Similarly, instead of them suing the farmer, the farmer should be able to sue Monsanto. Use financial penalties as part of the way to shape the environment the company operates in.

But technology IS a possible remedy of the problems caused. Perhaps if you look at it as the bad choice of implementation of unfinished technology, it will become clearer. That the existence of those problems means they weren't done with their work.

The only reason a company would develop a product, or a system, that has such negative side effects is because they're not required, or expected to, solve those problems.

Take the automobile for example. For a while, the emissions weren't really important. And thus, cars were heavily polluting. Then, thanks to federal regulation, it became part of the system that had to be taken into account. Now, they're less polluting than a gasoline-driven lawnmower. And it's taken technology to help solve those problems.

Technology is a remedy, if you give them a motive to use it.

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