General Interest Article
Biotechnology, land-grant universities, ethical issues
There is at least a prima facie moral tension between universities asserting land-grant principles and simultaneously sponsoring biotechnology. The core of the problem is the likely deleterious economic effects of biotechnology on rural communities -- the very constituency whose welfare is supposedly promoted by land-grant institutions. Considered are a number of responses to this tension including efforts to show that the tension is only apparent or that it can be eliminated through various public policies. It is argued that these "solutions" fail.
The upshot is that if the land-grant label is to be taken seriously, those institutions should begin allocating considerable resources to anticipating the social consequences of the technologies they sponsor, honestly inform the public of those consequences and encourage the kind of creative programs that will offset the downside of biotechnology in rural communities. It is likely that these programs will have little to do with the traditional emphasis on agricultural productivity.
Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science
© Copyright 1988 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Kline, A. David
"Biotechnology: A Dilemma for Land-Grant Institutions,"
The Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science: JIAS: Vol. 95:
, Article 12.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uni.edu/jias/vol95/iss1/12