Wrong-headed regulation often has unintended consequences. A good example is governments’ approach to “genetically engineered” crops.
In only 15 years, modern genetic engineering technology — specifically, recombinant DNA technology, sometimes called “genetic modification” — has achieved monumental humanitarian and economic successes. Higher productivity, lower costs for inputs, economic gains to farmers and environment-friendly agronomic practices have made it the most rapidly adopted agricultural innovation in history.
Since 1996 there has been an astonishing 87-fold growth in farmers’ adoption of genetically engineered crops; in 2010 more than 15 million farmers in 29 countries cultivated 366 million acres. In Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Paraguay, South Africa, the United States and Uruguay, more than half the cultivation of at least one major crop — corn, cotton, soybean or canola — is genetically engineered.
Many of these varieties have been around long enough that the intellectual property rights (patents and plant variety rights) in these seeds will soon expire. And with the expiration of these IPRs, some of the unintended consequences of bad regulatory policy come into play.
For more, see: Innovation Arrested By The Law Of Unintended Consequences