Laudato Si 134: Land Ownership Issues

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Pope Francis seems less concerned with a prudent and careful use of accelerated genetics, and more with the disparity between rich and poor, especially the movement of rural workers to cities.

134. Although no conclusive proof exists that GM cereals may be harmful to human beings, and in some regions their use has brought about economic growth which has helped to resolve problems, there remain a number of significant difficulties which should not be underestimated. In many places, following the introduction of these crops, productive land is concentrated in the hands of a few owners due to “the progressive disappearance of small producers, who, as a consequence of the loss of the exploited lands, are obliged to withdraw from direct production”.[Episcopal Commission For Pastoral Concerns In Argentina, Una tierra para todos (June 2005), 19.] The most vulnerable of these become temporary laborers, and many rural workers end up moving to poverty-stricken urban areas. The expansion of these crops has the effect of destroying the complex network of ecosystems, diminishing the diversity of production and affecting regional economies, now and in the future. In various countries, we see an expansion of oligopolies for the production of cereals and other products needed for their cultivation. This dependency would be aggravated were the production of infertile seeds to be considered; the effect would be to force farmers to purchase them from larger producers.

My friend John Donaghy probably would have more intelligent things to say, given his experience. But the question of ownership, apart from the fairness of it, does impact society beyond just the economic considerations.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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