Molecular Colonialism


Rethinking colonialism after Monsanto was bought by Bayer.

The merge between the two giants, Monsanto and Bayer, makes explicit the relations between health care research, genetic patenting, and food consumption. With it, a top-down pyramid of biosovereignty is taking shape that stretches beyond the nation state and governs a macroeconomical panorama. In particular, it discloses an interrelated ecosystem of products that both create and offer remedies for contamination under the arch of the same company: quality control and environmental fitness assessment of food production, prevention, and healing of diseases, and research into future therapeutics.

Body as Corporate Territory
At the present moment, bodies can no longer be understood as finite unities, but instead as distributed networks of corporate agency. The colonial influence of big business over populations extends its outreach beyond the limits of visibility, invading the chains of biological evolution with its vampiric quality.
Navigating through the breaches of law, capitalism transgresses the ethical limits of earth democracy while operating through a surveillance mode of action that ruthlessly infiltrates populations through policy-making lobbying.
As patented GMO genes are absorbed into our bodies in a proprietary relationship of biological subjugation, the body itself becomes an expanded, multiple infrastructure, where intervention can happen at many different scales. Moving bodies become fluid cartographies that cross different juridical regimes.

Bodies become expanded territories for sovereign intervention, where the managerial hand of the State has a say about the liability of one’s biorhythms

This wide scope then informs areas as different as jurisdiction or scientific predictions regarding the genetic evolution of life. To this effect, the modes of collection, analysis, and distribution of information become just as relevant as the programming languages of the data megastructures that circumscribe the world, that should be also subjected to legal scrutiny.
Along with the positivist predominance of statistical forms of knowledge, data provides the ground-work for a mode of governance that directly intervenes on the relation between information and matter.
As Thacker argues, this happens precisely at a time when the field of ethics is extended to computer code, just as the public disclosure of DNA becomes the main basis for intervention into physical reality.

On Unprecedented Ground: The Financialization of the Molecule

Indeterminacy in the Era of Algorithmic Dictatorship

This may have no end in sight, unless we invest in an honest debate about the colonial relation of the human intervention in the natural sphere, question the forms of ethical and creative reasoning implicated in the tools that we use, and create spaces of dialogue between different epistemologies.

Longo addresses also the inclusion of indeterminacy in big data analysis, revealing how randomness is imminent in big databases: “very large databases have to contain arbitrary correlations. These correlations appear only due to the size, not the nature, of data. They can be found in randomly generated, large enough databases, which as we will prove implies that most correlations are spurious. Too much information tends to behave like very little information.”

The increasing integration of algorithmic models of computation for the management of life reveals an incomprehension about the adaptive potential of nature as an open system, incomputable as such, and that often eludes the predictive assessments that try to model living systems.


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