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On Being 'Natural' in the Rainforest Marketplace

Science, Capitalism and the Commodification of Biodiversity

Sandra Bamford

A recent article in the popular journal Scientific American begins with the claim that scientists have succeeded in “cracking the code of life.” Two decades ago, such an announcement would have been met with wonder and amazement. Today, it is likely to elicit a far more subdued response. Over the past few years, we have grown accustomed to reading about the “miracles” of modern science. The expanding use of new reproductive technologies, genetic engineering, prosthetics, and cloning to name but a few of the most astonishing advances, have allowed us to become habituated to the dizzying pace of scientific discoveries. The ability of science to impress us with its seemingly impossible feats has become “extraordinarily ordinary” over the past five years (Hayden 1998).

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Ibrahim G. Aoude, Sandra Bamford, Mark T. Berger, Doug Dalton, Allen Feldman, Jonathan Friedman, John Gledhill, Richard Handler, Keith Hart, Michael Humphrey, Dan Jorgensen, Bruce Kapferer, Clive Kessler, Leif Manger, David A. B. Murray, Joel Robbins, Michael Rowlands, Marshall Sahlins, Elizabeth Stassinos, Marilyn Strathern, Karen Sykes and Souchou Yao

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