Let the Market Decide? Canadian Farmers Fight the Logic of Market Choice in GM Wheat
AbstractThis paper examines the controversy that surrounded Monsanto’s attempt to commercialize genetically engineered Roundup Ready (RR) wheat in Canada in the early 2000s. Specifically, the paper interrogates the argument made by RR wheat proponents that the fate of RR wheat should be decided in the marketplace according to individual choice. To counter the common-sense notion of the right of consumers and producers to market choice, anti-RR wheat activists, led by agricultural producers, advanced notions of collective action. They argued that markets offered a very narrow set of choices and that once introduced into agricultural systems, RR wheat threatened already existing agronomic practices and export markets. The paper argues that the “let the markets decide” approach denies the common positionality of farmers as producers of food and forecloses a politics of production. Similarly, in the realm of consumption, agency beyond individual self-interest is rendered unthinkable.
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