Cultured meat is eye-catching technology. But it is also an over-engineered solution to a problem that we can solve by changing our diets. If we simply stopped eating meat, or ate it far less often, then there would be no need for either harmful intensive animal agriculture or meat grown in a lab. The cultured meat industry rests on a view of human beings as greedy and incapable of change. But the coronavirus pandemic has shown that, globally, we are able to make enormous changes to our behaviour when faced with existential crisis.
The startups growing meat in labs might be motivated by noble intentions: to save animals and save the planet. But giant meat producers such as Cargill and Tyson are already investing heavily in cultured protein. Who knows which companies will run the industry in decades to come. If we move into a world where eating meat remains normal but killing animals is taboo, we will become ever more dependent on remote corporations with highly specialised technology to meet our basic needs.
But we don’t have to. We can just choose to eat less meat. That’s where real power lies – not in harnessing this new technology but in being prepared to change our behaviour.
The aim of our having technology – hell, the aim of our having an economy, even a civilisation – is so that we people out here get to have more of what we want. That is, that we get to maximise our utility.
If people want lab grown meat – or even meat meat – instead of vegetables then that’s what people should get. Because that’s the point of the whole game, that people get more of what they want.
Yea, even if provided by corporations.
What is it that is so difficult to understand about this?