Friday, October 15, 2004

Who decides?

A recent poll in Italy asked citizens who should make decisions regarding development and application of new biotechnologies, such as cloning, stem cell research, and genetic modification of plants and animals.

Two percent said the Catholic Church. The same number chose the entrepreneurs who stand to profit by the research. Not much confidence there.

Nine percent expressed faith in the Italian government. Twelve percent trust scientists. Twenty percent would decide these issues by popular vote. An overwhelming thirty percent of respondents chose to rely on the European Union.

When it comes to messing around with the essence of life, Italians would put biotech decision-making in responsible multinational hands, while allowing input from as many constituencies as possible. Sound like good popular wisdom to me.