Synbiotics, Anarchy of Exception and Necrodevelopment: Reflexing Knowledge, Power and Politics
Arun G. Mukhopadhyay
affiliation not provided to SSRN
October 28, 2010
Classical political theory, based on sovereignty, contract, right and duty, was contested by Foucault with ‘biopower’ meant to discipline and control the individuals and their bodies. With the Genomics revolution by the turn of the millennium, the treasure of genetic history and make up population has became an attractive research target for biomedical researchers and pharmaceutical corporations. During the same time, United States has visualized a new role for itself by transcending national-interest paradigm to deploy its “soft power” position in global health. Biopower and necropolitics have been two sides of the same coin, as Mbembe has observed. Breakthroughs in post genome biology has changed the focus of proliferation problem from biological or chemical warfare agents as the object of malign manipulation to the physiological target in the human body is the object of attack. Synthetic Genomics and allied technologies enable rational adjustment of genes beyond naturally occurring sequences. The emerging Synthetic Biopower has opened up vast possibilities for vaccines, drugs, hydrogen fuel, etc. and parallel tensions for abuse or inadvertent disasters. Thus weaponization and aerosolization of virus of diseases are possible with recent discoveries in dual-use genomics and synthetic biotechnology. USA has not ratified Biological Weapons Convention and Chemical Weapons Convention, although ratified by USA, exercises very lax monitoring in this context. Thus the unique danger lies in its possible deployment in unilateral climate geoengineering by global powers. It is alleged that Synbiotics has paved a robust and strategic platform of synthesizing variola virus, responsible for completely eradicated ‘small pox’, in a much simpler way. WHO draft small pox resolution, January 2007 has been challenged by Sandia National Laboratory of US Department of Energy arguing that WHA (World Health Assembly) has no jurisdiction over synthetic, as opposed to genetically engineered, variola viruses. The malign deployment of Synthetic Biopower, with immense potential to achieve Millennium Development Goals, may be used to pathologize unruly ‘others’. Global powers’ rivalry leads to burgeoning biopolitics to subject humanity’s body and thus endangers the human security of millions and the sustainability of the planet. Foucauldian insights lead us to transcend the limits of knowledge society.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: Synbiotics, Genomics, Biopower, Anarchy of Exception, Necrodevelopment, Knowledge Society
JEL Classification: A13, B25, O33, P3, P26working papers series
Date posted: October 28, 2010 ; Last revised: November 2, 2010
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