The Other Value in the Debate over Genetically Modified Organisms

Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (Supplement):151-162 (2007)
Abstract
I claim that differences in the importance attached to economic liberty are more important in debates over the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture than disagreements about the precautionary principle. I will argue this point by considering a case study: the decision by the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to grant nonregulated status to Roundup Ready soy. I will show that the unregulated release of this herbicide-resistant crop would not be acceptable morally unless one places a very high premium on economic liberty. This is true even if one takes a sound science attitude to unknown risks, rather than a precautionary attitude. I concede that it may not have been within APHIS’s legislative mandate to regulate Roundup Ready soy further, but for those of us who do not put a high premium on economic liberty, this only calls for extending regulatory oversight of GMOs
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