Monday, February 13, 2012

Biotech and Innovation

1) Is there a way to adapt capitalism to a non-neoliberalist framework, or is it inherent in the model?  In other words, is there a substitute for "profit" as a driving motivation for experimentation?  One of the reasons biotech engineers plants that can't reproduce on their own is to hold on to the profit to be gained to offset the millions in research to develop higher-sustaining foods, etc., while allowing it to still be sold at a lower price so that more people can buy it over and over again than would be able to buy it if it was a one-shot deal.  Non-reproducing plants also help ensure that even a ecologically unsustainable plant can be a) grown, and b)not get "loose".  Given these conditions, would it be better to encourage biotech to sell to "exclusive" farmers and let the plants reproduce on their own?

2) Mohan discusses the difference between innovation and improvement.  Since "innovation" is merely "different than what was there before", why does it carry the association with improvement? Is is actually driven by our need as neoliberalists to be "free", which then makes us curious as to our boundaries, and that leads to a need to know what is out there?  In other words, is our thirst for all things new simply driven by our thirst for knowledge (a consequence of trying to find all our options under neoliberalism)?

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