Chapter

The Global Politics of GEOs

Frederick H. Buttel

in Engineering Trouble

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520237612
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937499 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520237612.003.0007
The Global Politics of GEOs

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This chapter investigates the global context of the controversy over genetically engineered organisms (GEOs), since active resistance to GEOs appears to have originated in northern and northwestern Europe, and then extended to the United States through trade rules and resistance to them. It argues that globalization and the World Trade Organization (WTO) may prove to be the Achilles' heel of GEOs and the agricultural-biotechnology industry. Considerable tension over trade in general—and agricultural trade in particular—has emerged as a result of the United States having forced the European Union's hand at the WTO. The factors that caused the repoliticization of agricultural biotechnology are provided. There are several additional uncertainties in the relationship between the GEO issue and the WTO. The increasing Third World tilt of corporate and state policy strategies in support of genetically engineered crops and foods could signal another plausible direction for GEO politics.

Keywords: genetically engineered organisms; global politics; Europe; United States; globalization; World Trade Organization; Achilles' heel; agricultural trade; agricultural biotechnology

Chapter.  10404 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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