When, in 2004, one of my favourite Italian thinkers, Giorgio Agamben, refused to come to the US, I was pleased. He objected to being fingerprinted in order to get his visa. And this close monitoring of our bodies, and the ‘biopolitics’ (to use the current phrase) that accompanies this surveillance, has some fairly dark origins in fascism.
Which is why it’ll come as little surprise that in the United States have been announced technologies that will soon be applied not only to the cattle industry, but to (some) people too. Jim Hightower writes lucidly about how the US government merely wants to protect its citizens from terrorist livestock.
If his concerns about total surveillance seem far fetched, consider this. While I was researching Stuffed and Starved, I was told by an informant that Monsanto were experimenting with genetic changes that would make light refract with a characteristic signature from its plants’ leaves. All Monsanto needed to do then was observe from space, to figure out where to send the bill. Big Brother is deeply involved in agriculture, and its high time we booted him out.