Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GMOs and Food Safety

Here is a nice article highlighting some of the dangers of genetically modified food. However, this article shows that the Obama administration doesn't seem to be too concerned about the purported dangers.

11 comments:

Peter Carney said...

What's in a word?

-I'm curious about the rhetoric here and sorry to go off topic but there is something becoming increasingly apparent to me which is well exemplified in this post, that would like to voice.

Have you noticed that 'President Obama' has now become referred to the 'Obama Administration'? or is it just me?

"Administration" is, for me, certainty a word that is closely linked to 'Bush' and draws negative connotations. Furthermore when thought about in american politics the otherwise relatively neutral word becomes akin to 'regime' and possible even more akin to 'a punitive regime'.

Accuse me of being pedantic here but i've been following closely the ebb and flow of Obama's latest efforts with the controversial health care bill to provide medical coverage for the uninsured in america and an associated fall in public support for him. To my mind, this is well summed-up in the new language.

Where might it have come from? Might it affect public support for the president and his domestic policies?

GM isn't a new issue. When did this issue surface? ...

... and what's in a word?

Liam Delaney said...

im not sure behavioural economics is going to solve the GM debate to be honest guys. Might explain why some people take such extreme views either side.

Peter Carney said...

Sorry if I was unclear; I wasn't commenting on the specific issue of GM. and apologies for not writing a separate post -- the language of this post struck me as noteworthy of the issues i'd been considering in relation to Obama and public support and in particular the fact that his support appears to be falling rapidly.

The clearer question i'm interested in: 1)Does an increase in the use of "administration" a)reflect and b)promote lower support for the president (due to negative connotations with an unsophisticated, punitive regime).

'b' is the one that particularly interests me given the situation where Obama is said to be putting himself 'on-the-line' for the current health Bill and where all sorts of strange challenges are surfacing in the american media, including questions as to Obama's illegitimacy as American President (matters to do with his place of birth; Hawaii)...

It is also possible that 'administration' is just a more accurate word.

A look at American media at the moment makes the strongest case for independent, non-commercial news broadcasting you're likely to find.

Alan Fernihough said...

Yes, you are being pedantic.

On a totally unrelated point, the first letter in America and American should be capitalized. Unless you have purposely attempted to allude to the President Obama’s move away from a more “capitalist,” political economy. In which case, bravo...

Liam Delaney said...

Ok - now back to using the blog "to provide a forum for sharing information and for discussion of behavioural economics and related topics".

Alan Fernihough said...

I never intended this to become a political post and I empathize with Peter's main point. However, I can never resist the opportunity to get a cheesy pun jest in.

Nevertheless, I really think GM and processed foods are a huge issue when it comes to individual's risk perceptions. The fact is that the long-term effects of these foods are unknown or at best blurry. For example, I know that eating a battered Mars bar is not good for me, and I trade off the massive utility I would derive from this against the negative impacts this would have on my health and well-being.

Without knowing the full effects of GM and processed foods, how can I make this trade-off? I basically assign some probability to the risk of my later life dis-utility, depending on who I believe more: the food companies or groups actively opposing the food companies.

Perhaps in the future we will become more aware of these risks and thus be able to choose foods based on evidence that quantifies the extent to which they causally an individual's health. I won't hold my breath though.

Liam Delaney said...

you are right about the debate on GM technology adoption. I just don't think any of us here have any real knowledge of what the true effects of GM are and the articles you post seem to come from a very definite point of view that they are harmful. Have a look at George Gaskell's work on risk perception in GM and related technologies if you want to start a thread on the issues involved.

Kevin Denny said...

Calm down boys, somebody not been taking their meds..

Liam Delaney said...

before we get complaints, kevin did a paper yesterday on medical non-adherence hence the reference but I agree..onwards!

Martin Ryan said...

Peter, I have to say that "Administration" has nothing to do with partisan politics (or Orwellian overtones), as far as I can gather.

U.S. (or other) govt. has always required (less or more) public administration, and there has always been the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama administration
and so on, no?

Peter Carney said...

Indeed. I still think it noteworthy that it might take some domestic partisan issue [current health bill] to enshrine the word with a meaning and bring it into common parlance. The "Orwellian overtones" wasn't really the point or concern but if anything the creeping acceptance of them, i.e., the charismatic massiah has become the comptroller of a bureaucratic regime, no? Obama exposed for the mere alpha-double plus that he is!

... a survey on the streets of Michigan could resolve this