Progress in Crisis, Genetic Engineering and Philosophy of Technology
This chapter sets the stage for the rest of the book by characterizing central themes and ideas: the narrative of progress, technological optimism, technological pessimism, and precautionary ethics. The chapter begins by developing the idea that the polarized debate over genetic engineering in agriculture is at least in part the result of a narrative crisis created by a clash between technological optimism and technological pessimism. The ultimate goal of the book is to investigate possibilities for moving beyond the current polarized debate over genetic engineering. This chapter aims to start the process of identifying obstacles to, and possibilities for moving beyond the current narrative crisis and to develop a narrative of sustainabilty. To that end, the chapter investigates and identifies hindrances to research and development in agricultural biotechnology from making greater contributions to creating more just and sustainable societies. I identify three obstacles: (1) costly and time-consuming precautionary regulations, (2) market failures in the private sector and (3) limited public sector funding for social-goods research. Chapter 2 will explore ideas for moving beyond these three obstacles.
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