Tracking the Economics of GMO

Diapason Commodities Management has just announced its agricultural commodity-based index which incorporates only non-genetically modified organisms.

This is a really excellent, and somewhat chilling, idea. It’s a great idea because economics have been shown to be an excellent predictor of the relevance of trends and ideas. Chilling for the same reason – what if this bombs?

Index funds tap into the collective unconscious in ways that Jung could only have wet dreams about. Whether it’s the Christmas Index or terrorism futures, election results or Oscar predictions, indices and futures markets are surprisingly accurate because they even out the shortsighted guesswork of individuals and really allow us to work together by motivating us in the one way just about every human can be inspired by: greed. If this non-GMO index shows that these companies are doing well, it’s pretty likely that foods that more resemble nature are on the rise overall. However, if the value of the index falls, we might be looking at a world of trees with Prozac in their sap and corn that grows human ears for replacement operations.

So this index could show how much foresight and wisdom is really embedded in our collective unconscious, and how much convenience overshadows it. Face it, it’s a pain in the ass to spray pesticides on crops, and it’s annoying to find bruised tomatoes in the bin at the store. GMO holds the promise of finding ways to unlock the secrets of DNA and answer all of life’s problems with another strand. Of course, genetic manipulation is likely to have effects that will not be clear, for good or ill, for generations to come. Could be the generations of the plants and animals manipulated, or the generations of the humans interacting with and consuming them. Our ability to foresee long-term consequences of our actions are usually impeded by politics, sex, and our own lifespans. I don’t know if a futures market is capable of transcending these limitations we have, or if it will just compound the issue.

I also don’t know if, in a century, we find that all the GMO products produced now were actually the salvation of the planet. What I do know is that I’m too shortsighted to be willing to risk the world’s future on a guess.

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