Otto Solbrig: got some Glyphosate?

Posted on June 21, 2009



An ongoing argument in the scientific community in Argentina shows how the Market-oriented agriculture may affect Public Health and the entire political system.

A study with amphibian embryos suggested the dangerous toxicity of Glyphosate employed extensively against weeds to maximize genetically modified soybean crops.  Dr. Otto Solbrig (a well-established biologist, Harvard emeritus) contends that laboratory experiments doesn’t reproduces absorption conditions in real life rational use of herbicides and doubts the value of such study which can jeopardize Argentine’s opportunity to benefit from its agroexports.

What Dr. Solbrig dosen’t realize is that profits is the only language Capitalism understands. As long as soybean prices keeps in the rising, there’ll be incentives to maximize yields unless State interventionism landmarks the limits (fiscal instruments) and promotes diversity. Above all, the Free Markets is unable by itself to evolve from high profitable primary production into added value, labor-intensive agroindustries. Today, aerial aspersion with Glyphosate affects neighboring fields dedicated to honey and milk production.

Argentina’s governmental policies has been mainly oriented by tax collecting aims, imposing export taxes to soybean but lacking compensatory incentives to other activities. As a result, a prolonged conflict arose confronting the Government with  the farmers (in fact, medium land owners which frequently collect a rent from big investment pools).

Opposition rightist politicians saw the chance to gain popularity with a demagogic discourse towards rural population “robbed” by the State. The ultimate paradox happened when left-leaning representatives at the Congress voted together with Free-Market advocates against export taxes. This way, an excessive agricultural success threatens to halt the State’s backing of industrial development and keeps the political system frozen in a demagogic battle of chicanery.