The Monsanto Protection Act wasn’t the start. Monsanto has a long and well documented history of being bed buddies with Washington. George Bush Senior met with Monsanto back when he was in office.
Monsanto’s people regularly infiltrate upper echelons of government, and the company offers prominent positions to officials when they leave public service. This revolving door has included key people in the White House, regulatory agencies, even the Supreme Court. Monsanto also had George Bush Senior on their side, as evidenced by footage of Vice President Bush at Monsanto’s facility offering help to get their products through government bureaucracy. He says, “Call me. We’re in the ‘de-reg’ business. Maybe we can help.” [ bangmfood.org ]
And help they did. Monsanto is now the largest player on the world’s stage when it comes to genetically modified food. You won’t find a great deal of coverage in the mainstream media about it, but one of the largest worldwide protests just went down against Monsanto.
Organizers said “March Against Monsanto” protests were held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Los Angeles where demonstrators waved signs that read “Real Food 4 Real People” and “Label GMOs, It’s Our Right to Know.” Genetically modified plants are grown from seeds that are engineered to resist insecticides and herbicides, add nutritional benefits or otherwise improve crop yields and increase the global food supply. [ usatoday.com ]
Is Monsanto Evil?
This is where things get tricky. When you label a corporation evil you make it easier to argue philosophically on behalf of the company, or for more even headed individuals to make nuanced arguments against the assertion. The definition of evil has always been a difficult subject when it comes to a common consensus.
Let’s just say the corporation is amoral. That’s the thing, all corporations are just that, amoral. They don’t have morals, they are businesses that will act within the parameters of the game to gain the highest profits and dominate the lion’s share of the market. This is where regulation comes in, but when the system is broken, and politicians can be bought, corporations can become cancerous. They can dwarf the competition and change the rules to avoid things like long term studies on the health impact of their products.
One nefarious business practice of Monsanto is the terminator seed. This gem of an idea essentially ensures the farmers purchasing the seeds will have to do so over, and over again each year, instead of being able to get a new batch of healthy seeds from the previous year’s harvest. Effectively Monsanto can, and has, gone into countries and undercut the market to get all the farmers using their products, and then once the competition is out of business, they jack up the prices and introduce the terminator seeds. The farmers end up with the shit end of the stick. This is brilliant business if you’re interested in profits. That’s precisely what businesses are interested in, and if left unchecked by effective regulation, this type of practice should come as no surprise.
There’s also the not so insignificant issue with the fact mice, when fed Monsanto corn products, tend to suffer an alarming cancerous fallout.
It’s great to see such widespread protests about an important issue. What’s most important though is to realize this is not an isolated corporation that is intrinsically evil. Monsanto is a symptom of what global corporations, left unchecked by honest regulation, will and have become.