An Analytics of Biotechnology
and Ethics at Multiple Scales
The dispersal of genetic science across the world raises questions about
the interactions of biotechnologies and bioethics in diverse global loca-
tions. Yet the tendency has been to think in terms of general rules for
governing the proliferation of scientific and commercial uses of biolog-
ical resources. For instance, at the 2008 meeting of the World Eco-
nomic Forum in Davos, a panel proposing ‘‘Rules for the Genomic Age’’
issued this statement:
Genetic data about specific populations may soon be in the hands of
a wide variety of interested players from pharmaceutical firms to
insurance companies for scientifically and commercially valid rea-
sons. How should access to, and the application of, this information
be managed to both promote collaborative innovation and address
societal concerns?’’∞
It is perhaps not surprising that meetings dominated by pharmaceuti-
cal interests do not list the nation-state as an interested player, nor is
there any mention of resurgent nationalism and ethical debates in non-
Western contexts as influences in the uses and effects of the biosci-
ences. Even academic research has struggled to keep abreast of recent
events that highlight the complex intersections of the life sciences and
ethical dilemmas in Asia:
1. At the turn of the new century Singapore launched Biopolis, a
biomedical research hub that seeks to combine researchers from
the public and private sectors. The government boasted about the
Previous Page Next Page