virus: Genes vs. Memes: The War Heats Up

Grant Callaghan (
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 08:26:32 -0700 (PDT)


Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day.
Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for life.
Teach too many people how to fish and soon there won't be=20
any more fish.

The following story illustrates my previous posting about=20
the need to use memes against portions of our genetic=20


Associated Press

GENEVA - Government subsidies have so bloated the world=92s=20
fishing industry that it is wiping out fish faster than they=20
can reproduce, the United Nations and a leading environ-
mental organization said yesterday.

The World Wide Fund for Nature and the U.N. Environment=20
Program urged top fishing nations to slash the $50 billion-
plus subsidies.

Governments pour the money into overcompetitive fishing=20
fleets that continue to lose money and deplete fish stocks=20
at an alarming rate, they said.

A World Wide Fund for Nature report estimates the world=92s=20
fishing industry spends $124 billion annually to generate=20
revenues of $70 billion. That means taxpayers have to make=20
up the other $54 billion.

Uncontrolled fishing and the throwing away of unwanted=20
catches have decimated world marine stocks, driving once=20
common species like cod and halibut to commercial extinc-
tion and threatening the livelihood of tens of millions of=20
people, the U.N. and nature groups said.

Subsidies artificially inflate the profitability of fishing=20
stimulating new investment and encouraging fishers to remain=20
in overfished waters, WWF International Director General=20
Claude Martin told reporters.

During the past four decades, the capacity of the world=92s=20
fishing fleets has increased five-fold while the produc-
tivity of most of the world=92s major fishing areas has=20
declined, the WWF and U.N. report said.

The World Wide Fund for Nature also said evidence is=20
mounting that fishing activities destroy ocean ecosystems=20
and reduce the diversity of ocean life as bottom trawls,=20
longlines and drift nets batter the ocean floor.

Worse, each year indiscriminate fishing methods catch=20
between 18 million and 40 million tons of unwanted fish, sea=20
birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals such as dolphins,=20
which are dumped back overboard.


Question: What will be the result of a doubling of world=20
population in about 25 years?

Question: What is the direction memetics should take in the=20
battle against a genetic heritage that is about to destroy=20

Question: Will we want to live in a world where the movie=20
=93Soilent Green=94 turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophesy?

Grant Callaghan