Is Biotechnology A Blessing for the Less Developed Nations?


  • Martin Kenney



Ecology, Imperialism, Political Economy


In the last two years biotechnology has been heralded by the capitalist press as offering the possibility of fulfilling the world's nutritional (Tamarkin 1981) and medical (Sojka 1981) needs. Biotechnology is also the newest technology touted as a solution to the world's agricultural problems (for the most recent expression of this theme see Swaminathan 1982). Already the United States Agency for International Development has convened a workshop to "assess the potential impact of the new biology" (United States Agency for International Development 1982). Clearly this technology can be expected to affect the less developed countries (LDCs), potentially deepening their dependence on the developed countries. This note outlines some of the current trajectories of biotechnological innovation and their implications. It should be mentioned from the outset that the technology in question has the potential to accomplish "miracles" but under capitalism could also create disaster for many workers and peasants.

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