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Meat Is (Not Necessarily) Murder

December 1, 2009

Recent breakthroughs have demonstrated the near-inevitability of test-tube grown meat, coming to your local supermarket within a decade.  Just as bacteria provide fertile breeding ground for insulin at insanely cheap prices, are being customized to generate oil, and a host of other practical applications, meat will be the next major resource to be rendered “un-scarce” by genetic engineering, leading to a whole host of benefits, e.g.,

In-Vitro Meat will be 100% muscle. It will eliminate the artery-clogging saturated fat that kills us. Instead, heart-healthy Omega-3 (salmon oil) will be added.

Starvation and kwashiokor (protein deficiency) will be conquered when compact IVM kits are delivered to famine-plagued nations. The globe’s water crises will be partially alleviated, due to our inheritance of the 8% of the H2O supply that was previously gulped down by livestock and their food crops.

And maybe some weird side effects.

In-Vitro Meat will be fashioned from any creature, not just domestics that were affordable to farm. Yes, ANY ANIMAL, even rare beasts like snow leopard, or Komodo Dragon. We will want to taste them all. Some researchers believe we will also be able to create IVM using the DNA of extinct beasts — obviously, “DinoBurgers” will be served at every six-year-old boy’s birthday party.

Of course, shutting up some of the most hypocritical and self-righteous among us out there might be the most significant advance in culture, but I’m sure they’ll find something else to complain about.

I’m not exactly who properly deserves attribution for the thesis that technology and not politics will solve the problems and conflicts of the post-historical world, but that person was undoubtedly correct, and is being proven correct in more and more profound ways as the pace of technology quickens.  However, the individual points along the path of the myriad technological revolutions happening all at once rarely get the political attention and scrutiny they deserve until market forces have taken over and rendered the validity of the point obvious or moot.  As Niall Ferguson once aptly put it, “And so the Great War of Democracy ended–not with the catastrophic bang that so many had feared but with the imperceptible hum of a technological revolution.” Hegel would be pleased.

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