Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Santaniello theorem of irreversible benefits

Wesseler, Justus (2009): The Santaniello theorem of irreversible benefits. Published in: AgBioForum , Vol. 1, No. 12 (January 2009): pp. 8-13.


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Irreversible benefits favor an earlier introduction of GM crops versus a later one. A non-trivial question is if they also weigh more than reversible benefits similar to irreversible costs but in the opposite direction.

In this contribution, I will show that indeed irreversible benefits do weigh more than reversible ones and indeed result in an irreversibility effect, albeit a positive one. The problem can be summarized by the following theorem:

“Irreversible benefits justify the immediate introduction of transgenic crops, even if future uncertainty about reversible benefits include negative benefits and traditional cost-benefit analysis, and treating all benefits and costs as reversible would reject the introduction.”

I call this theorem—in honor of Vittorio Santaniello—the “The Santaniello Theorem of Irreversible Benefits.”

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