Genes for Sale: Privatization as a Conservation Policy

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Overview

With each species lost to the mass extinction crisis, the natural economy of the nation and of the world is greatly diminished. An endangered animal may hold the cure for cancer; a threatened plant could someday become a major food crop; and even bacteria often provide novel molecular structures in polymer science. As the rainforest is destroyed and habitats are degraded, conservationists are now urgently searching for dramatic new ways to save these economic resources.

In this provocative and important book, Joseph Henry Vogel details one potential solution that has met with increasing interest and popularity: the privatization of genetic information. Vogel cogently makes the case that the world should abandon the doctrine of "the common heritage of mankind" and create private property rights over genes. Landowners, once vested with the genetic resources on their land, will have a newfound financial incentive to protect what they now already control.

Genes for Sale provides an overview of the many complexities inherent in implementing a viable conservation policy. Vogel elaborates both technical issues like the construction of a "gargantuan database" of landtitles and biological inventories, and political issues like legal reform. Clearly written, engaging, and timely, Genes for Sale provides students, scientists, and policy makers alike with the ideal introduction to an exciting and controversial new approach to saving our precious living heritage.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The biodiversity convention from the Rio de Janeiro UNCED meeting has drawn attention to the need to address the issue of intellectual property rights over biodiversity, and this book adds a new approach to the debate. It is well researched and should help conservationists to consider these issues more clearly and more radically. All conservationists should read and ponder the contents of this book and hopefully apply many of its ideas." —Ghillean T. Prance, Director, Kew Royal Botanic Garden

"Dr. Vogel's book throws much welcome light on this complex of issues. Read it, whether for your professional interest (lot of it) or for your personal benefit (ultra-lots of it)." —Norman Myers, author of The Sinking Ark and The Wealth of Species

"An original, highly thought-provoking contribution to the conservation debate....Packed with provocative ideas and views which are contrary to mainstream thinking. This originality makes it all the more valuable in a time of 'politically correct" thinking." —Jeff McNeely, Chief Officer of The World Conservation Union, IUCN

"Genes for Sale is a provocatively intelligent and asymmetrical approach to species conservation....[It] must be read by all people deeply concerned about the current decimation of the biosphere." —Helen Caldicott, Noble laureate and founder of the IPPNW

"Genes for Sale is imaginative, intelligently crafted, and presents highly original thinking that is sure to provoke a gut response in the reader." —Michael Balick, Director, The New York Botanical Garden

"This book is the result of a great deal of imaginative thinking and careful research. The concept is original and thought provoking and it would be nice to see many of the ideas put into practice. I recommend this book to anyone interested in realistic conservation." —Jane Goodall, primatologist

"It is rare for a book to radically alter the direction of a discipline, but this book could do that for conservation. It approaches conservation from a perspective not previously set forth in such careful and comprehensive detail....The approach is highly innovative, and doubtless will be very controversial, but it may turn out to be the most effective solution to conservation in the next century. This innovative book should be read by every biologist, conservationist, and government official concerned with economics and conservation. Most highly recommended." —Wildlife Activist

"Provides an overview of the many complexities inherent in implementing a viable conservation policy. Vogel elaborates both technical issues like the construction of a 'gargantuan database' of landtitles and biological inventories, and political issues like legal reform. Genes for Sale provides students, scientists, and policy makers alike with the ideal introduction to an exciting and controversial new approach to saving our precious living heritage." —Biology Digest

"This book presents a clear, engaging and timely analysis of how privatization of genetic resources could contribute to the preservation of threatened biodiversity in the developing world." —Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195089103
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Quito
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Statement of the Problem; Survey of the Solutions
3. Genetically Coded Functions: The Importance of Definitions
4. Analogy Becomes Application: Property Rights Mean Privatization
5. Illustrating the Problem and the Property Rights Solution
6. Genesteaders
7. The Rationale, Design, and Implementation of the Gargantuan Database
8. Politics
9. Finance
10. Final Payments: Greenhouse Gas Abatement
11. Conclusion: The Ten Principles for Conserving Genetic Information

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