biopiracy Vandana Shiva, a prominent scientist, activist, and feminist, has profoundly shifted my thinking about the preservation of biodiversity. In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Vandana Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North’s. Biopiracy. The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. by Vandana Shiva Biopiracy was named a “Break-Through Book” on Intellectual Property in Lingua Franca.
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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Biopiracy by Vandana Shiva. In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Vandana Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North’s ongoing assault against the South’s biological and other resources.
Since the land, the forests, the oceans, and the atmosphere have already been colonized, eroded, vamdana polluted, she argues, Northern capital is now In this intelligently argued and principled book, internationally renowned Third World environmentalist Biopiracyy Shiva exposes the latest frontier of the North’s ongoing assault against the South’s biological and other resources. Since the land, the forests, the oceans, and the atmosphere have already been colonized, eroded, and polluted, she argues, Northern capital is now carving out new colonies to exploit for gain: Paperbackpages.
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Lists with This Book. I only recently read her for the first time and had my giant activist-writer crush, but Biopiracy might have been even vsndana. Another three of her books were sitting on biopiract shelves here, happy days, so I picked this one up. Biopirafy and capitalism vs life with insights into all three.
I loved it, and am finding it very useful in thinking about how we arrived where we are now and just what we are up against as well as where hope lies. I’m going to be a little sneaky and start with the summation I only recently read her for the first time and had my giant activist-writer crush, but Biopiracy might have biopirxcy even better. I’m going to be a little sneaky and start with the summation and quotes from the conclusion as an overview.
She argues that … each time a global order has tried to wipe out diversity and impose homogeneity, disorder and disintegration have been induced, biopracy removed. This is one of the key transformations I think, and this environmentalist and feminist shjva such an interesting angle to look at the issue from: Nature was transformed into dead and manipulable matter.
Its capacity to renew and grow had been denied. The violence against nature, and the disruption of its delicate interconnections, was a necessary part of denying its self-organizing capacity. And this violence against nature, in turn, translated into violence in society. Anything not fully managed vandxna controlled by European men was seen as a threat. This included nature, non-Western societies, and women.
What was self-organized was considered wild, out of control, and uncivilized. This is such a key insight on the intrinsic connection between violence and capitalism, the ways that violence against nature is shivs by and indivisible from violence against society.
The nature of this violence has changed, but has the same roots and is manifested through all three waves. I don’t quite know why I am so fascinated by its beginnings, but so I shivq. So are many others, luckily, and the intro really gets into it– ‘Piracy Through patents: The Second Coming of Columbus’: Columbus set a precedent when he treated the license to conquer non-European peoples as a natural right of European men. The land titles issued by the pope through European kings and queens were the first patents.
The colonizer’s freedom was built on the slavery and subjugation of the people with original rights to the land.
John Locke’s treatise on property effectually legitimized this same process of theft and robbery during the bipiracy movement in Europe. Locke clearly articulated capitalism’s freedom to build as the freedom to steel: This vandwna is not physical, but labour in its ‘spiritual’ form, as manifested in the control of capital.
According to Locke, only those who own capital have the natural right to own natural resources, a right that supersedes the common rights of others with prior claims. Capital is thus defined as a source shivq freedom that, at the same time, denies freedom to the land, forests, rivers, and biodiversity that capital claims shkva its own, and to others whose rights are based on their labour. It seems that the Western powers are still driven by the colonizing impulse: The colonies have now been extended to the interior spaces, the ‘genetic codes’ of life forms from microbes and plants to animals, including humans.
At the heart of Columbus’s discovery was the treatment of piracy as a natural right of the colonizer, necessary for the deliverance of the colonized Biopiracy is the Columbian ‘discovery’ years after Columbus.
Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge: Vandana Shiva: : Books
Through patents and genetic engineering, new colonies are being carved out. The land, the forests, the rivers, the oceans, and the atmosphere have all been colonized, eroded, and polluted. These new colonies are, in my view, interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants and animals. Resistance to biopiracy is a resistance to the ultimate colonization of life itself–of the future of evolution as well as the future of non-Western traditions of relating to and knowing nature.
It is a struggle to protect the freedom of diverse species to evolve. It is a struggle to protect the freedom of diverse cultures to evolve.
It is a struggle to conserve both cultural and biological diversity. I have focused more on the broader ideas and philosophies, though I love that this a book to incite and facilitate meaningful struggle to change these terrifying and unjust world systems.
She starts with a very interesting look at the nature of creativity. This is at the heart of the current debates about patents on life. Patents on life enclose the creativity inherent in living systems that reproduce and multiply in self-organized freedom. They enclose the interior spaces of the bodies of women, plants, and animals. They also enclose the free spaces of intellectual creativity by transforming publicly generated knowledge into private property.
Intellectual property rights on life forms are supposed to reward and stimulate creativity. The creativity inherent in living organisms that allows them to evolve, recreate and regenerate themselves. The creativity of indigenous communities that have developed knowledge systems to conserve and utilize the rich biological diversity of our planet 3.
The creativity of modern scientists in university of corporate laboratories who find ways to use living organisms to generate profits. Central to this is the idea that people will only innovate if they can profit from their innovation through a system of patent protection.
This is so ludicrous yet so ubiquitous. It is clear why such a lethal combination of ideas leads to the destruction cultural commons and skews research away from areas that are key in terms of importance and or social need, to focus on profit-generating studies. This is an enclosure of the intellectual commons, and I am loving the idea of commons broadened in this way. Can Life Be Made? Can Life be Owned? For tehse same genes present in food that people are attempting to refrain from eating or demanidning that they be identified, corporate arguments are that they are perfectly natural and therefore harmless.
Again to the subject of violence: Patenting living organisms encourages two forms of violence. First, life forms are treated as if they are mere machines, thus denying their self-organizing capacity. Second, by allowing the patenting of future generations of plants and animals, the self-reproducing capacity of living organisms is denied.
Reductionism biology is multifaceted. At the species level, this reductionism puts value on only one species—humans—and generates an instrumental value for all others.
Vancana therefore displaces and pushes to extinction all species whose instrumental value to humans is small or non-existent. Monocultures of species and biodiversity erosion are the inevitable consequences of reductionist thought in biology, especially when applied to forestry, agriculture, and fisheries.
We call this first-order reductionism. Reductionist biology is increasingly characterized by a second-order reductionism—genetic reductionism—the reduction of all behaviour of biological organisms, including humans, to genes. Second-order reductionism amplifies the ecological risks of first-order reductionism, while introducing new issues, like the patenting of life forms.
It makes us forget that living organisms organize themselves. It robs us of our capacity for the reverence of life—and without that capacity, protection of the diverse species on the planet is impossible. They are resilient one of the latest buzzwords and adaptable, all those things being praised by the new thinking around networks and connectivity being written about by Fritjof CapraNabeel Hamdipermaculturiststransitionistsand slime mould enthusiasts among others.
The freedom for diverse species and ecosystems to self-organize is the basis of ecology. Ecological stability derives from the ability of species and ecosystems to adapt, evolve and respond.
I like how this is as true of a smallholding such as the one I am working on now, as it is for the East End community I was in before I came here.
Instead we have the likes of Monsanto with their weed killers, and scary chemical escalations. There is plenty in this chapter about such things, if you needed more ammunition for your Monsanto-driven fury. The Seed and the Earth Regeneration lies at the heart of life: Without regeneration, there can be no sustainability. Modern industrial society, however, has no time for thinking about regeneration, and therefore no space for living regeneratively. Its devaluation of the processes of regeneration are the causes of both the ecological crisis and the crisis of sustainability.
Yet Monsanto and others have been working at it for years. This is, of course, connected to power, and Shive argues it is rooted long ago when the facilitating ideas of production and value emerged. The continuity between regeneration in human and nonhuman nature that was the basis of all ancient worldviews was broken by patriarchy.
People were separated from nature, and the creativity involved in processes of regeneration was denied.