I think that this is bang on. The more transparency we have, the more trust we have. We've seen a closing down of transparency with most of the public institutions: government, the media, the scientific establishment. We've also seen a drop in trust in these institutions.I think the “right to know” [labeling on Genetically Modified food] is a lot like the “show me your data and your code” wing of the climate skeptic community, and that people on the side of good science on both GMO’s and climate change should listen to it.Releasing computer codes and data on climate does a lot to allay the fears that we’re all trying to hide something or are making things up. If our code and data is open to the public, anyone who wants to can look at it and examine it for errors. Similarly, if GMOs are safe (as I believe they are) we shouldn’t be afraid to label them.With the climate data and code, the vast majority of people have no interest in examining it, but knowing it’s there for anyone to examine makes them trust it more and defuses a whole line of attack. Similarly, if GM food is labeled as such, I really believe that most consumers will buy it anyway and it will defuse the “what are they trying to hide” line of attack.
This has actually made me think about the whole GM food issue. There are obvious benefits to a lot of what's being proposed: plants that don't need fertilizer (or as much fertilizer), plants that are pest-resistant, etc. On net, this will reduce the cost of food which is A Good Thing. However, the question is who will benefit from this cost reduction. If the savings go to the patent holder (e.g. Monsanto), then I might not really be too interested in buying these myself. After all, while I don't think there's much risk, there may be some. If a GM apple costs the same as a non-GM apple, then what's the point?
Which is to say that the market itself will see to the success or failure of this technology. If there are cost benefits to consumers, then the technology will prosper. If not, it will wither. Feedback FTW!