Welcome to the Paleobiotic Age. Just as today we look back somewhat wistfully on our quaint Paleolithic — literally “old stone” — ancestors, so will our descendants see the present age as that of “old biology,” inhabited by Paleobiotic Man. The technologies we use to manipulate biological systems are experiencing dramatic improvement, and as a result are driving change throughout human economies.
In order to understand the impact of our growing economic dependence on biological technologies it
is worth taking a moment to consider the meaning of economy. “Economy” is variously thought of as,
“the management of the resources of a country, especially with a view to its productivity” and “the disposition or regulation of the parts or functions of any organic whole; an organized system or
method.” Amid a constantly increasing demand for resources, we look to technology to improve the
productivity of labor, to improve the efficiency of industrial process and energy production, and to
improve the yield of agriculture. Very tritely, we look to technological innovation within our economy
to provide more stuff at lower cost. Biological technologies are increasingly playing that role.