While much of the world and the media focused on the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, another royal couple was on the verge to complete its own matrimonial arrangement after a 21 month engagement.
The United States Department of Justice recently cleared the path for the German pharmaceutical and chemical company Bayer to merge with US based agricultural giant Monsanto in a take-over deal worth more than $60 billion.
Once the partnership attains US anti-trust approval, likely within days, a new entity will emerge, commanding more than a quarter of the combined world market for seeds and pesticides.
According to a recent poll of 48 US States, 94% of farmers are concerned about the merger, with 83% being very concerned.
Their top three concerns:
· Market dominance to push products
· Control over farmers' data
· Increased pressure to rely on chemical based farming practices
This marriage has implications not only for what goes on our dinner plate. There are questions of economic and political control that need to be addressed. Critics argue that the power of these economic giants is such that they have captured regulatory agencies. Limitless financial resources permit these and similar companies to buy off academics, media and politicians.
Global Research: Dr. Shiva, I'm very interested in a lot of what you had to say in your recent talk and in your writings about this interface between the corporate for-profit model and how it intersects with this need to provide for our basic food needs and basic energy needs. I guess it just… bringing in som ething that's fairly timely, this merger between Monsanto, who you've been very outspoken against, and Bayer.
Could you maybe quantify exactly how you see that merger making the situation worse, going from the frying pan to the fire? What, in particular, do you think that those… is a concern for farmers and for food security generally?
Vandana Shiva: First thing that people should remember is Monsanto and Bayer were one during the WWII, They were called Mobay. They worked together to sell poisons on both sides during the war. It's only after the IG Farben trial at Nuremberg that the separation took place. So, in a way, the Bayer-Monsanto merger of the contemporary times is just a coming together in an open way of a hidden marriage that always was there.
Second, even if you look at cross licensing arrangements, they've been working together. When the BT Cotton of Monsanto failed in India in 2015-16 of the states of Punjab, 80% of the cotton was hit by White Fly, who sold the pesticides? Bayer… So they work as one, as a poison cartel…
Right now, buyers trying to push a GMO mustard. At the same time, Monsanto is trying to dismantle our patent laws which say we cannot allow patents on seeds, plants, animals, because these are not human inventions. They have their own self-organising capacity to organise life, regulate life reproduce life, multiply seeds.
What will this new open merger mean?
First is, I think the numbers like 66 billion are just games for the public. I've done an analysis. It will be out in my new book on the resurgence of the trial. The true owners of all of these corporations, down to the Coca Cola and Pepsi, all of them are the new investment giants, which is the cartel, that have now designed ways of using their capital to basically control humanity. And, for them, there is more future in collecting rents from seeds which they never invented, from selling more poison, including corrupting governments, including denying the fact that even the World Health Organization said glyphosate is a carcinogen, so they’re putting their money to tell lies to defend killing and destroy democracy.
So, in effect, actually, the merger is more power in the hands of criminal corporations. To not just push the agenda, but corrupt governments, subvert democracy. We are witnessing it right now in India with the GM mustard case.
Destroy science, and in the name of science, they say science requires GMOs, but they are knocking out any scientist who does real research on:
a) the fact that GMOs don’t produce more and
b) that they haven’t controlled pests or weeds, they have created super pests and super-weeds,
c) that they have better ways through biodiversity, through agro-ecology, to actually produce enough food for people and have enough for other species, which is what the food system is about.
So, I see the merger of Bayer and Monsanto as, in a way, the peak of a contest between a century of genocide versus democracy where we all have our rights recognised, de facto. Because most of the subversion of the Monsanto agenda hasn’t taken place because people marched into the fields of Round-Up Ready soya, but the Palmer amaranth rose and defeated the project and that’s why I insist 300 million species and if you assume that even half of humanity will keep thinking and defending their freedom which would mean 3.5 billion people that’s a lot of intelligence against Bayer-Monsanto and the likes, who are working together with a failed agenda to push genetically modified agricultural products in the stores.
And so, if I look at those sorts of developments when you see major donations to major environmental NGOs and so on, I’m wondering if we aren’t similarly seeing if this is something that we need to be on guard against. To prevent this kind of poison pill, another kind of poisonous cartel, from moving so that the renewable economy is in fact something that’s aligned with natural systems and natural intelligence and not simply another mechanism for for-profit growth and capitalist expansion. Could you address those concerns?
VS: First thing clear: food is energy, we are what we eat. Sadly, food itself has become the source of major confidence of a non-sustainable energy model. 90% of the corn in the soil, grown in the world right now, is going for biofuel. So we already have food diverted into a non-sustainable energy model. When it comes to renewable energy, which really began as small initiatives trying to build energy alternatives to fossil fuel, it was so clear in the Paris meetings that this would be the next platform for the Gates of the world and the Buffets of the world.
And do they make windmills? No, they don’t. He just keeps his hands in his pockets and eats hamburgers. Do they make solar panels? No. What do they run for? What is their innovation? Grabbing patents. So, they are looking for a future where there will be a lot of renewable energy in the world but they will collect rents from the expansion of renewable energy like they seek to collect rents from seed, which is the only agenda for GMO and the patents of seed.
What we are seeing is the emergence of a new economy that’s a rental economy based on intellectual property, and people who don’t work making the huge money and becoming the 1%, and the people who work and slog and are creative and are innovative punished just because they are hard-working human beings. It’s that, I don’t call it inequality, because it is worse than inequality; It is a lie, it is a brutalisation, it is a dehumanisation.
GR: You brought up the term anthropocentrism early in your talk, and that’s a serious concern insofar as it’s something that we just sort of don’t really pay attention or think about, it is part of the water that we are swim in. And I’m finding that a lot of those technologies has that sort of anthropocentric veneer to it. Could you address the technologies, another vista, the digital technology that we mentioned, spyware, Edward Snowden talks about surveillance? I’m wondering if these technologies are irredeemably anthropocentric, or can we find some aspect to them where we can continue to utilise them?
VS: You know, for me, technologies are not some magical phenomenon that gets sent from the skies to a few privileged men, which is how many, for instance, american companies normally thinks of the new technologies, etc. That’s not the how the things work, the fact is that humans are creative and innovative, so they create tools.
The problem with the tools that have come from the common: Microsoft didn't invented of the software, it's the patenter of the name Software. Monsanto didn’t invented the seeds and obviously neither the recombinant DNA for such. It’s the patenter, and it’s the buyer of others who might have had the patent before them. So, it’s really a simply ownership and privatisation of the public domain through any means whatsoever. And the reason I worry about digital technologies is not that humans have worked out ways to deal with it, but that those who offer the technologies want to use it as an instrument to maintain a market, and when not stopped, also a monopoly.
For example, all of India’s economy was shut down on the 8th of November 2016, for a digital economy. Big cash notes were banned. All the savings of millions and billions of people were wiped out. This privileging of digital basically means that the global financial system where money runs to the US to Wall Street, to these investment funds, that those people get your 6% rental with every transaction, and the hard-working person, through exchange, loses out. Has to pay more.
The second reason why the digital economy is being used as a quasi-dictatorship, and I’ve already written about this, is the merger between digital and information on the one hand, and agriculture and biotechnologies on the other, but also digital technologies and finance. Right now, finance economy is all about data, it has nothing to do with money, it deals with capital.
And I think it is narrowing our possibilities by not allowing the wide intelligences which are not one-dimensional, which are not linear, which play out in all kinds of combinations of hearts and heads and hands working as one to guide us out of the current crisis. To put one’s fate of humanity in combinations of zeros and ones, and corporation owned and patented algorithms owned by a handful of private companies who see people as mere data for capital is very, very dangerous.
A life-destroying cartel
Interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva
Global Research — May 20, 2018
by Michael Welch, Nick Meyer, and Ellen Brown.
Sourced from "An Updated Antitrust Review of the Bayer-Monsanto Merger" by Maurice E. Stucke
and Allen P. Grunes — March 6, 2018
Latin America's hunger crisis is becoming even more critical.
Interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva