Over a decade ago, Dollars & Sense published the article “Genetic Engineering and the Privatization of Seeds,” by Anuradha Mittal and Peter Rossett, on genetic modification and its impact on the world food system (March/April 2001). In it, the authors asked, “will biotechnology feed the world?” while providing an overview of the landscape of corporate control, widening inequality, private property claims, and growing farmers’ resistance around the world. This article acts as a follow-up, highlighting some of the key developments in recent years.
One has reason to fear that horrible treaties like the TPP and TIPP will create end-runs around environmental protests and what laws still exist to protect organic farmers. Companies like Monsanto work on the premise that it’s their divine right to poison us all, sterilize so much of what Mother Nature so lovingly and patiently assembled over eons, and CHARGE us ($) for the toxic “privilege.”
The GM seeds problem is serious. Farmers in the Americas have found that using GM seeds plus weed-killers and pesticides has meant that their weeds and pests have quickly become highly resistant, and 'super-weeds’have evolved, which are impossible to get rid of, except by grubbing them out by hand.
In India, where 90% of cotton is now grown with GM seeds, theyn have not achieved anything,like the good or improved yields the chemicals companies claimed. Far from it: so far, over 300,000 farmers have been driven to suicide, due to the poor results and debt.
American chemicals companies have given the world some real nasties. .Remember Dioxin / Agent Orange? .A deadly chemical sprayed over the fields and forests of Vietnam, i caused horrendous birth defects both among the Vietnamese, and also among the US servicemen. It also caused health problem sin the US, e.g. at Love Canal, a development for housing built on a Dow Chemicals waste tip contaminated with chemicals, including dioxins. Love Canal was so toxic that the whole community had to be evacuated and the houses destroyed. Another chemicals firm, the giant Union Carbide, was responsible for the Bhopal disaster in S. India, where a whole community was poisoned. The firm just walked away and I believe has never either cleaned up the site, or acted to prevent the groundwater being poisoned. Nor has the local community- the victims - received compensation from this large and powerful corporation.
But when does one expect otherwise? Business is business. Production for profit is the name of the game! Never mind the environment or the harm done to humans. The bottom line is the one thing that counts.: Profits first, people last. But that’s capitalism for you…