Pathogens, however, are no mere protagonists, battered to and fro by the tides of human history. They also act of their own volition, if you’ll excuse the anthropomorphism. They display agency. And they have by virtue of their evolutionary changes forced agribusiness to the bargaining table, a place where that ilk, given their successes, think they excel. The resulting agreement is written as no treaty or contract nor even in anything we would recognize as communication. It is found instead in a form of xenospecific convergence. The two parties have maneuvered into an agriculture of mutual interests, at times reacting forcefully within each’s own domain in the other’s favor. One thinks perhaps such convergence could be at best unconscious. An emergent epiphenomenon, maybe. I discovered otherwise, and that’s the shock. No virus engineered in a lab, no plan to purposely spread influenza, but a conspiracy of man and microbe nonetheless, with humanity and many a wildlife population at stake.
Big farms make big flu
Monthly Review Press 2016