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Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and…

Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge

by Vandana Shiva

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If you needed a(nother) reason to regret the existence of Monsanto and Big Pharm, Vandana Shiva provides ample material here. The core story is the attempt by US and international corporations to extend the ability to patent cell lines and bioengineered organisms, currently allowed in US patent law, to international trade agreements. However, if you're not already convinced, this book isn't going to change your mind. It's less a well-reasoned argument than a string of examples of advances in bioengineering glued together with Carolyn Merchant's theory on science.

The TRIP/GATT material is already dated (the agreement referenced in the book is from 1994), but the basic argument that US intellectual property law becomes farcical and dangerous when applied to living organisms is worth reading. The last two chapters, on the values of self-determination and diversity and on the political implications of ecological disaster, are also a good read.

There is a lot of name calling in the beginning: patriarchy, colonialism, etc. I sometimes wonder if authors, in constructing a narrative of "everything was better before those old white guys got here" are ascribing an almost superhuman power to a group of people that really don't deserve it. How can one overcome an invading army who has the power to rewrite history, religion, interpersonal relations, political relations and cosmology? ( )
  bexaplex | Jun 16, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0896085554, Paperback)

In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Vandana Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North's ongoing assault against the South's biological and other resources. Since the land, the forests, the oceans, and the atmosphere have already been colonized, eroded, and polluted, she argues, Northern capital is now carving out new colonies to exploit for gain: the interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants and animals.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:03 -0400)

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