This article argues that the development of genetic technologies has to be critically evaluated from a socio-political economy perspective to establish if, on balance, the benefits of such technologies outweigh their costs and risks. The article illustrates how the current governance of these technologies can be seen as 'undemocratic' because corporate interests dominate the directions in which the technologies are going. When aligned with the underlying socio-economic power structures globally, these technologies create a situation where the development of science and technology fail to be about the common good. The article begins with a brief overview of neo-liberal globalization. It examines key global institutional arrangements including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, international patenting laws and free trade agreements. It is argued that in their convergence with the biosciences, these are antithetical to democracy, instead entrenching the interests of corporations, rich elites and rich countries. Finally, some suggestions for reforming the global political economy are presented.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.