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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People Before Profit, 6 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge (Paperback)
'Deftly argued but fundamentally flawed' better applies to the review of that name than this excellent book. In Biopiracy, Vandana Shiva lifts the lid on the west's exploitation of both the natural world and people of less developed nations in order to prop up its own consumerist version of progress. I don't get at all that Shiva is arguing against patents or those who develop novel foods or crops being able to to reap rewards from that. What she is drawing attention to, is how those countries which don't have a well developed sense of intellectual property rights are being mined by those which do; primarily America. The genetic make up of people is being taken against their knowledge under the pretext of vaccination schemes or research into illness, to benefit pharmaceutical and health organisations. The molecular structure of crops which have been selected for generations by farmers in arid region can also be studied back in the lab and patented for sale back to the same farmers in the form of F1 seeds which cannot be saved in the traditional way for planting the next year but instead must be bought annually.
The basis of the argument here is that all the benefits of this biological research in developing countries are taken by the west and not shared back with the places which the knowledge came from as people in less developed nations do not know the value of their knowledge and natural resources, and are naive in the way that these can be exploited and even used against them for further mining of profit. If the profit and knowledge gained from natural and human wealth was used to benefit all of humanity rather than a few multinational corporations I suspect that Vandana Shiva would not have such a problem with the huge rise in patenting of genes and crops. And neither would I.
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Location: East Kent, UK

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