The story of genetically modified salmon is bound to the commodification of food, the intensification of seafood production, the over-exploitation of fish stocks, and so-called technological solutions to address environmental problems.
via Capitalism and the Commodification of Salmon | Stefano B. Longo | Monthly Review.
The article “Capitalism and the Commodifcation of Salmon” published by Monthly Review outlines Longo, Clausen and Clark’s upcoming book through Rutgers University Press, The Tragedy of the Commodity: Oceans, Fisheries, and Aquaculture. The Tragedy, it is argued, is not that of “the commons”, but the commodification of it, and the capitalist system’s constant need for input, for growth, as it is fundamentally a “grow-or-die system”. Longo et al. write, “Technological innovations are employed in production to further the extraction of surplus value and therefore the exploitation of nature and labor.” The exploitation of nature is to the extent that we know that biodiversity is declining at a rate unseen in some 65 million years, since the last mass extinction event, and that the capitalist system is using the biosphere, “the commons”, as its warehouse, free for plunder and commodification, with its main regard remaining profit, despite empirical data showing the effects of a system based on perpetual growth on a finite planetary ecosystem. The tragedy of the commodity is felt first and most by indigenous peoples living as a part of their respective ecosystem, and also by labour, those who produce profit for the holders who determine where that profit will be directed, and thus the direction of society, which is in essence profit for profit’s sake (or for the sake of those who collect it). Inevitably, if this “grow-or-die system” continues business as usual, the decline of biodiversity, and increasing scarcity, will be felt by the whole of our species. The story of the commodification of salmon, the further commodification of the biotic world, serves as an epitome of the capitalist system, where even life, and the components that are the basic building blocks of it, can be designed for profit and privately owned, where the commons is devastated for private profit, and where the introduction of privately owned species attempts to keep private profits up while the commons, the biosphere, is unable to to sustain the growth of the free market, and, most importantly, biodiversity and human dependence upon it for the very basics of life.