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How biotechnology regulation separates ethics from risk

How biotechnology regulation separates ethics from risk

Outlook on Agriculture 26(3): 145-150, Sept

In the public debate about agricultural biotechnology, an important source of dispute has been the industry's stated aim of further industrializing agriculture. Critics and proponents have argued their case using the language of risk, which entails an implicit ethics. in response, regulators have tended to separate 'risk' from 'ethics', and assign judgements about each to specialists. This administrative separation encourages public deference to expert assessment. By treating implicit value judgements as merely technical matters, such regulation serves to legitimize the biotechnology R&D priorities and marginalize any broader public debate. Thus the official scope of 'bioethics' is itself political.

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