Monsanto, those seeds, farmers and liberty


David Davis

A few days ago I had a Facebook argument with somebody about this firm. The prevailing terms of discourse everywhere, especially among the Articulate Classes, seemed to be that it’s out to imprison farmers in its customer-base, sue those who grow its stuff quite by accident, and to generally destroy the world.

As is right and natural, most of these people have not ever been nearer to sowing things than the pot-plant section of Dobbie’s Garden World, let along planted a whole field of anything.

Of course, as we all understand and accept, this is the “correct” Line-To-Take as regards capitalism, and specially towards outfits that provide “essential” goods or “the basics”, such as seeds, wonder-drugs and universal software which mostly works most of the time.

But I don’t think so. I’d like to write more about Monsanto in particular but I have a busy week coming up. What does anyone else think?

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5 responses to “Monsanto, those seeds, farmers and liberty

  1. Monsanto is a large coropration that only exists because of state incorporation laws. It enriches itself by using massively complex intellectual property laws that its own agents helped governments around the world to write.

    It may, as well as being a state-privileged trading body, do some good work. But it may just as easily behave grossly. A belief in free markets does not logically involve a defence of big business – especially bearing in mind the Enemy Class sorts who have now colonised big business.

  2. Folk who have seen or read “Jurassic Park” will recall the line that “they were so busy finding out how it could be done that they never gave much thought as to whether it should be done.” Most people are jumpy about genetic engineering, because there is no “Reset” button to press if things go wrong.

    Anyone with an awareness of the history of Australia’s import of foreign species will be aware of the problems of unintended consequences.

    Tony

  3. GM (GE?) is a bit worrying but that genie is out of the bottle so if it’s going to do anything strange it’s too late to worry about it. As with HIV.
    But most people are off on their own agendas (me too?). I agree with some of James Lovelock, but not his final conclusions. Sustainable development is a contradiction in terms. The Green Revolution fed the world for the last 40 years. But no doubt helped encourage the birth rate. Monsanto is helping feed the world to an extent, but, absolutely, it is a state coercion protected part parasite.
    Nothing is perfect.
    As the Moody Blues might have said, it’s a question of balance?
    If Monsanto’s protections were removed it might find a truer level and the spontaneous natural order of interactions assert itself?
    (Of course that order is a result of pre-existing order, but never mind.)

  4. The assumption is that are these people are attacking capitalism (they might well think they are), but are they really? I agree with Sean on these large, monopolistic, state-backed institutions.

    Intellectual property laws might possibly have given us a more advanced society than we otherwise would have, but I’m not so sure of this. What I am sure of is that the justification for them is false. Does anyone recall the trailers at the beginning of DVD movies? The ones that state basically that copying of films is piracy and piracy is theft. Well, a requirement of theft is that the thief must have the intention of permanently depriving the rightful owner of the property appropriated. Clearly, if we are talking about the duplication of data, this is not the case. Then we have the farce of Digital Rights Management which, as a linux user, is currently depriving me of my ability to use my own property (Blu-Ray drive and movies, lawfully obtained I might add!).

    I can’t see IP laws as anything other than a government enforced racket with which a client business enforces a monopoly over its competitors.

  5. Graham Davies

    The assumption is that are these people are attacking capitalism (they might well think they are), but are they really? I agree with Sean on these large, monopolistic, state-backed institutions.

    Intellectual property laws might possibly have given us a more advanced society than we otherwise would have, but I’m not so sure of this. What I am sure of is that the justification for them is false. Does anyone recall the trailers at the beginning of DVD movies? The ones that state basically that copying of films is piracy and piracy is theft. Well, a requirement of theft is that the thief must have the intention of permanently depriving the rightful owner of the property appropriated. Clearly, if we are talking about the duplication of data, this is not the case. Then we have the farce of Digital Rights Management which, as a linux user, is currently depriving me of my ability to use my own property (Blu-Ray drive and movies, lawfully obtained I might add!).

    I can’t see IP laws as anything other than a government enforced racket with which a client business enforces a monopoly over its competitors.