Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has developed around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The emerging consensus among OECD countries embedded in the 1994 WTO agreement quickly collapsed after 1999, as the EU, Japan, Korea, and other countries led a counter-movement. The battle entails several dimensions—modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity—making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This study analyzes the stakes in the battle for global governance, the key actors, and the principal battlefields. It then focuses on the roles of two key players, the EU and Japan, and how they led the move toward a more precautionary approach. The study reveals the political mechanisms behind this transformation, emphasizing the role of emerging civil society movements as the determining trigger for policy change.
The « new economy » in South Korea rhymes with the Internet. In 2003, the “land of morning calm” has actually become the most connected country in the world. The present study tackles this phenomenon from a number of angles. The Internet is not only considered as a physical network but a lever of transformation of the country’s economic and social life. Although the role of the state has been decisive and remains focal, it is not enough to explain the extreme rapidity with which the new electronic medium spread, which is due to a broad range of causes. The Korean experience differs from former ones in that it extends well beyond the market sphere (e-commerce) to areas such as education, volunteer associations and even politics. The emergence of a national dimension constitutes another characteristic that at first seems paradoxical, since the Internet is so universal in scope. Yet observation of the evolution of Internet traffic on the national level confirms this trend. South Korea is far from an exceptional case in Asia, but the country has taken the lead over its neighbors, becoming a new “model.” Beyond these singular features, the Korean experience in the use of the Internet again demonstrates that a global “information revolution” – in other words, a process that is quickly reshaping the material bases of an entire society – is underway.