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Reinventing Colonialism: Biotechnology, Intellectual Property Rights and the New Economics of Sustainable Development

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Banerjee, Subhabrata Bobby
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Globalisation, the Ninth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Conf. Date: June 17-21, 2002
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1813
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources--developing countries
intellectual property rights--developing countries
economic development--developing countries
biodiversity--developing countries
biotechnology--developing countries
Abstract: "This paper explores the contradictions inherent in one of the more popular buzzwords of today: sustainable development. I argue that despite claims of a paradigm shift, the sustainable development paradigm is based on an economistic, not ecological rationality. Discourses of sustainable development embody a view of nature specified by modern economic thought. One consequence of this discourse involves the transformation of 'nature' into 'environment', a transformation that has important implications on notions of how development should proceed. The 'rational' management of resources is integral to the Western economy and its imposition on developing countries is problematic and I discuss the implications of this 'regime of truth' for the Third World with particular reference to biotechnology, biodiversity and intellectual property rights. I argue that these aspects of sustainable development threaten to colonize spaces and sites in the Third World, spaces that now need to be made 'efficient' because of the capitalization of nature."

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