Genetically modified organisms have become a commonplace in modern society. Whether knowingly or not, the great majority of people in first world countries consume ample amounts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) daily. Unfortunately, very few people know exactly what GMOs are. They have no idea that the food entering their body has been engineered in a laboratory to be resistant to pests or drought, or even enhanced to produce larger crop yields. Although the FDA has made it legal to package foods made with GMOs without labeling them as so, meaning the crops have deemed safe for human consumption, there are still notable drawbacks to using and producing large quantities of GMOs. As GMOs increase in popularity and are used more often, there will be negative economic consequences and biodiversity will suffer.
Genetic engineering is not an easy thing to do. It requires an extremely meticulous process to complete successfully, and it also requires equipment that can be quite pricy. Needless to say, this limits the number of companies who successfully engage themselves in this kind of work. Right now there are only a handful of companies providing genetically modified seeds to farmers worldwide. This situation is the definition of monopoly, and diversity is necessary for a healthy economy. If there are only a few large and powerful suppliers of a commodity that cannot be done without, it gives these companies unbelievable power. If the demand for GMOs continues to grow as predicted, the companies will only gain more power and money, not only creating a precarious economic state, but also sinking the small local businesses who sell non-genetically modified seeds to make a living.
Not only will small businesses be hurt by the spread of GMOs, but economies worldwide will get burned as well. GMOs make many agricultural innovations obsolete. Pesticides, herbicides, and even irrigation systems and extra land are needed less by the innovations of GMOs. When these are needed less, they are bought less, shutting down a lot of businesses. Also, with their ability to produce vitamins and oils and proteins that would not normally be produced in those plants, they are shutting down business for economies that depend on the money that comes from exporting those products. An example of this is how the Malaysian economy is suffering due to the fact that they are no longer leading the export of Lauric acid due to GMOs.
Not only are economies at risk of destruction due to the effects of genetically modified organisms, but biodiversity is being compromised as well. In a convention about life on earth the following quote was generously provided: “At least 40% of the world’s economy and 80% of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive research to new challenges.” This quote sums up the importance of biodiversity quite nicely. Some may argue that GMOs are indeed limiting biodiversity, but that is in no way impacting our environment and our future. Limiting biodiversity is very much affecting our world, in ways that we have not even had the chance to observe yet. Biodiversity allows for medical advancements because the more variety there is, the greater chance that a species of plant will be discovered that can help in finding preventative measures or cures to prevalent diseases in the modern world. Biodiversity also allows for economic development; the next big discovery of a new species of plant can lead to economic fortune. Diversity and variety is key for a healthy economy; it allows for a distribution of power and wealth and it also prevents corruption. Finally biodiversity is important for further research and scientific development. Variety is necessary for change, and change is necessary for growth,