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Additional info for Constraints, Compromises, And Decision Making

Example text

On the other side were those who argued that these transformations destroyed the integrity of village communities. They argued that the older system of exchange, in which every person in the village was entitled to a share of the local crop, better satisfied the ethical demands of social justice (see Thompson 1971; Montmarquet 1987; Smith 2003). The ethical issues associated with early transformation of rural areas in Europe were generalized and evolved into general views on social justice during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

First, there has been a longstanding debate over the effect and justifiability of yield enhancing agricultural technology, in one sense, a focused rejection of the utilitarian argument for technological innovation discussed at the beginning of the chapter, as least as it applies to agriculture. From one perspective, biotechnology is just the latest example of a general technological approach that has been the focus of debate in agriculture for a long, long time. Second, there is a related but nonetheless distinct debate that associates biotechnology with relatively recent trends in shifting power relations, globalization, the rise of international corporations and the transformation of national sovereignties.

These can be referred to simply as special concerns, though some of them (as Reiss and Straughan suggest) overlap with questions in biomedical applications of genetic technology. Following these two discussions on ethical concerns, there is a discussion of philosophical schools of thought or decision frameworks on how the array of concerns should be addressed. Finally, the concluding section of the chapter will note some institutional concerns that relate to the nature of technical expertise, its use social decision-making and governance, and concomitant issues associated with public trust in science.

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