Last week the New Yorker published an article that attempted to detail why an independent climate research organization would sell itself to one of the largest conglomerates and proponents of a monoculture agri-system in the world. That company, Climate Corporation, focused on studying climate change and it’s direct impact on farmers and their ability to cope with radically altered weather patterns. The company recently allowed itself to be sold to Monsanto in a $1 BILLION dollar acquisition that will allegedly allow the company to operate in the same independent manner in which it always has. The 33 year old CEO, self proclaimed psuedo-hippie, vegetarian and humanitarian wrote a lengthy letter to his staff explaining the sale and why they needn’t worry about Monsanto’s new roll as the companies sole shareholder. Here’s exactly why they should.
First of all, why on earth would Monsanto pay $1 Billion dollars for a company that it had zero intention of managing? I’m not completely certain on how Climate Corporation deals with it’s data, but I imagine that their findings turn into published works, of which Monsanto would have access to. Now these findings will be considered proprietary information that Monsanto will most likely keep for it’s own personal records and can “lease” out to high bidders (the U.S. Government?). They also now have the ability to stop the publishing of any research that doesn’t fit their monocultured paradigm. Right there is the biggest problem; the ability to suppress information that could potentially benefit the world and allow it to adapt to upcoming change. Perceivably now, Monsanto can prepare and charge the rest of us to get on board. In a way, they’ve managed to privatize the worlds future. Does anybody else see a problem with that?
The bulk of this brazen CEO’s letter is focused on public perception and the word “evil”. He makes the argument that if anything is called “evil” enough times, eventually people will start to believe it. I’m not going to argue that there’s some truth to this, however, in the same right, all he does is state the opposite about Monsanto and that if you really read the research, the findings will inevitably point to the fact that they’re actually doing a lot of good. Well, what research? He cites no particular article or study and gives no reference to where people can go to find out the information for themselves, he simply states, “I have read the science—it was not a short and easy effort. And I think Monsanto has created amazing and safe technology. It took me a while to get there. You should take your time, learn about their science, and I’m certain you will get you there too.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had access to Monsanto’s research to determine these things for ourselves? Right now, we only have the research that’s available to us and right now that research doesn’t support his $1 Billion claim. In fact, last week the FDA finally came out and said it would be banning trans-fats. Something that we’ve been told for a long time that are okay for human consumption. Now we know that’s not true and a lot of people have known that for a long time. The question is, who was telling us that these fats were okay? Well, considering that they largely come from highly processed corn products and byproducts, I’ll let you take a guess. Yep, Monsanto. Maybe not directly, but through it’s many lobbying arms, they were certainly on the trans-fat side of the battle.
The author of the letter also goes on to explain that the so called “Monsanto Protection Act” is actually called the “Farmer Assurance Provision”. Most of us know that, just like the “Affordable Care Act” isn’t really called “Obamacare”. The difference is, the “Farmer Assurance Provision” does in fact apply almost solely to Monsanto and a few other major agribusinesses. The author truthfully states that the provision was not drafted by Monsanto, but was in fact drafted by, “a number of farm groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers, and others,” however, every one of these organizations has direct ties to Monsanto. This information is conveniently left out of his letter.
The letter also addresses the fact that the genetic manipulation of foods has been going on for, “11,000 years, primarily through seed breeding, where we “got rid of” the traits we didn’t want and introduced the traits we did.”
This is obviously the truth, however the difference is that we weren’t genetically engineering these foods to contain Roundup. We weren’t directly manipulating the DNA. We were crossbreeding new traits into our crops and not all of those efforts were successful either. In certain instances, toxic results were achieved rendering the hybrid version inedible. It’s important to note that these two process are not the same thing and they shouldn’t ever be confused as such.
“I am also a vegetarian. I’ve never eaten chicken, fish, or meat in my life. My parents are pseudo-hippies and always taught me that we should try and avoid harming the world and do as much good as possible.”
I found this statement to be particularly damning in the sense that it’s no secret that Monsanto seeds are in most cases not used for people food. They’re used for factory farmed cattle feed, bio-diesel, plastics, chemicals and various other things that are well known to do a good deal of harm. Monsanto represents all of the things that violate this persons own personal ethics, but apparently when presented with some portion of $1 Billion, personal ethics are no longer a concern.
I do agree with one thing this CEO has to say and that’s if you say something enough times, people are inevitably going to believe it as truth. That’s exactly why he’s starting the internal “Monstano is not evil” mantra. I personally don’t believe that Monstano is evil as that would imply some level of intentional malice. I don’t think they’re out to hurt the world, I think they’re out to turn a profit and have gilded themselves in a bubble of denial reinforced with a lack of corporate responsibility. As a company all they’re doing is manufacturing products to help farmers grow their crops. Why should they be concerned with whatever the outcomes are; that’s the governments job to deal with. Yet they also spend their time lobbying for smaller government and less regulation of their product in order to allow for increased sales. It’s the corporate paradox at work and it gracefully skips over the idea of consequence.
This CEO sold out his company and any possible good they were doing and is now on the offensive using the same stalwart tactics he’s rallying against in his article. Let’s all just take his word for it. Oh, wait, he did go and tell us to research these things on our own time, but for those of you who have tried, you know that you can’t find any positive research that’s NOT put out by some organization that’s somehow financially linked to Monsanto.
Towards the end of his letter, he states, “If at any point, you aren’t doing work that you’re passionate about, or we’re operating in a way that doesn’t meet your model or standards, then you can very simply walk away,” and that’s exactly what his employees should do if they care about the work that they do, because at this point, it’s not very likely to have its intended effect.
Oh, and just for fun, here’s a list of links to studies that call for further research on GMO’s due to potentially negative health effects: