British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at a pre-G8 event in London. He gave clear hints at the need to embrace GM crops. (Photo: courtesy EPA)
So when I read today in The Telegraph the British Prime Minister David Cameron openly welcoming the GM industry, stating: "I think there are a number of subjects there that we need to take on, I think it is time to look again at the whole issue of GM foods. We need to be open to arguments from science," I wasn't the least surprised. With the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicting that the UK economy will grow by a paltry 1.5 per cent in 2014, David Cameron is certainly bitten by desperation. He wouldn't like to go down as the Prime Minister who failed to prop up the ailing British economy.
We know that extra-ordinary times require extra-ordinary decisions. That holds true for Statesman. But at a time when most political leaders across the globe are no better than corporate lobbyists (Read my earlier analysis: What do you do when Heads of State indulge in lobbying? http://devinder-sharma.
Forgetting the scourge of mad cow disease and the foot-and-mouth disease that resulted in millions of cows being burnt, I wonder whether David Cameron even remotely understands the grave threat GM crops and foods pose to human health and the environment. And this brings me to the central question. If it is not proper for the governments to do what the business can do, why the Heads of State be allowed to do what Corporate lobbyists do? How long can democratic societies keep quiet while the Heads of State unabashedly promote the business interests of Corporations? When will the society stand up to put a curb on the abuse of power by the elected governments?
I see the argument. "Last year farmers lost 1.3 billion pound Sterling from poor harvests and higher feed bills for cattle, making the need for new technology even more urgent," said The Telegraph report. While this may be true, the fact remains the poor harvests that were recorded across some of the developed countries were essentially because of the climatic changes, which is the outcome of the faulty agriculture practices that have been followed over the past few decades. Its intensive agriculture that UK excels in that is causing the problem. Any sensible Head of the State would have first tried to resurrect farming in a manner that it becomes truly sustainable and thereby results in less damage to the environment.
David Cameron was speaking on Beating Hunger through Business and Science at a pre-G8 event in London (see the picture above). Business and science can definitely do a lot to defeat hunger. With over 40 per cent of the processed food being wasted in UK alone, I had thought the Prime Minister would direct the agri-business industry to ensure that not an ounce of processed food goes waste. This measure alone would have drastically reduced the carbon footprint, saved British environment from further deterioration as a result of more intensive farming, and at the same time made billions of pounds of food available to meet the needs of the hungry millions.
Instead he took the desperate route that would result in a higher GDP which he can drum around. The more the business and industry were to invest in developing risky and unwanted GM crops, the more will be the GDP. The more the sale of GM crop seeds, plus the increase in sales of chemicals to fight pests and diseases, the more will be the addition to British GDP. The more the resulting damage to the health of British people would mean more dependence on big pharma, which in turn would mean more spending on health. All this adds on to country's GDP growth.
What a remarkable growth formula, isn't it? #
Additional reading: The Business of Hunger by Devinder Sharma.