I don't know enough to be opposed to genetic modification as such. I'm an enthusiastic student of soil biology but I know sod all about the various GM techniques.
Even if I did though, GM technology is surely in its infancy and nature is extremely diverse, so there could easily be future GMOs that might be beneficial. Lipsey was probably right to include GM as a potential general purpose technology, consistent with his 4 criteria:
- It is a single, recognisable generic technology
- Initially has much scope for improvement but comes to be widely used across the economy
- Has many different uses
- Creates many spillover effects
- Switching to roundup ready plants was a bad move for North American farmers: international panel data shows non-GM systems have increased productivity faster and are much less pesticide intensive.
- Consumers are increasingly switching to organic foods in preference to GMO, with 14% CAGRs expected in organic food in the USA.
Suppliers of version 1 GMOs have a lucrative business to protect though, so they naturally want to push back on this consumer resistance. They also have massive resources to share with supporters.
The support crew includes lobbyists and biologists who worry (among other things) that public concerns with the current version will hinder or block future GM technologies. One obvious way to address public concerns would be to show there is actually a complete and transparent assurance system in place. But this argument doesn't work, because there isn't one. That's why people are concerned.
Which leaves a choice: either agree that a complete and transparent assurance system should be created, or deny that one is needed.
If I was an investor in new GM technology I'd strongly advocate for agreement rather than denial. Even if I didn't care that human rights and ethics demand fit-for-purpose oversight systems, it'd be better for my own business if the GM brand wasn't mired down in controversy.
Unfortunately the support crew is in denial. That doesn't help investors in new GM and it doesn't help consumers. It only helps delay the "scope for improvement" the sector needs to get on with.