GMOs threaten to end all life on Earth, risk engineering professor and investment expert warns

Posted: March 6, 2014 in GMO, Health
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Posted: March 6, 2014


( modified organisms (GMOs) threaten to cause “an irreversible termination of life at some scale, which could be the planet,” according to Nassim Taleb, an author and distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University who made a fortune after disasters like September 11 and the Great Recession.

Taleb recently made his feelings on GMOs known in a paper that is available to the public, though still in draft form. Taleb expresses concern not for the potential health effects of GMOs but for the risk they carry of ending all life on Earth. A single GM seed type has a miniscule chance — e.g., 0.1 percent — of causing the breakdown of the ecosystem that all life depends on, also called ecocide. With this one type of seed, it is highly unlikely that total ecocide would ever occur; however, with increasing amounts of GM seed varieties comes cumulative risk. For example, if 100 new GM seed types are produced, then that 0.1 percent chance suddenly becomes a 10 percent chance of global life-ending catastrophe.

The associated risks vary for different seeds, and a huge number of factors are involved, but what Taleb’s paper stresses is that these small odds add up over time so that “something bound to hit the [ecocide] barrier is about guaranteed to hit it.”

Click here to read a report by The Motley Fool’s Brian Stoffel explaining Taleb’s paper in greater detail. The draft form of the paper, “The Precautionary Principle,” is available to download as a PDF document here.


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