According to a quick glance, South Korea does about 78 billion dollars of business with the US annually. However they stopped the importing of American beef five years ago out of fears of mad cow disease. That strikes me as strange. We've never had a problem. Some may say that mad cow is inevitable in all beef supplies, but that doesn't seem a cogent argument against ours. It's about 20 billion worth of business that we've been doing without and in April the Bush Administration signed a deal to restart the flow. That's a lot of beef.
Well it turns out that South Koreans don't trust American beef, no matter what kind of deals our governments have put together. And so thousands filled the streets recently to throw down against riot cops in the streets of Seoul. The Democrats are opposed to the trade agreement between Korea's Lee Myung-bak and GWBush, but it's unclear why. Lee has something like a 25% approval rating in his home country, and there is probably no easier way to excuse any behavior in the US than saying it's the opposite of what GWBush would do. So the South Korean government is caving in by playing on what appears to be a popular idea that cows younger than 30 months old are less susceptible to BSE. Don't ask me about how prion-based infections work, half the websites I looked for on BSE are down (except for PETA's of course).
Bottom line politically is that it comes down to a matter of trust. The number of people who are going to be able to make any actual determination on the quality of American beef is not going to change significantly. The Koreans in the street are going to take it on faith, just as they are taking it on faith that American beef is unsafe. There's an interesting unravelling going on here.
My interest in this is based on my own kind of information theory with regard to the ability of people to establish and maintain policy that is both transparent and well-abstracted. I will follow up in that regard again in speaking about how politics makes people emotionally deranged and affects their willingness to distinguish Natural Truth from Political Truth.
You see there's a bioengineered solution to the problem just at hand. But what Venter understands is that engineered genomics is predictable whereas random DNA fiddling is not. That is precisely the difference between bioengineering and agriculture.