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The Monsanto Monopoly

When running down a list of winners and losers, it is invariably easier to conceptualize the losers in the global political economy as opposed to its winners. This is because the 21st century has come to be defined by suffering, poverty and hardship and more human inequality and injustice than in any other period in human history. Rising global populations and increased dependence on exogenous factors for daily subsistence have only exacerbated the level of poverty for the majority of the world’s inhabitants. Sadly, conventional wisdom would have us believe such poverty and circumstance is merely just a quirk of fate, but such wishful thinking only exists as to lessen the guilt created by human folly. In reality, the concepts of poverty and wealth have a rather human explanation that is often masked by conceived development enterprise. Cynically, there are those that stand to profit from such poverty – understood in context as the ‘winners’ of the global political economy. One such winner that comes to mind, which is also a key influence in creating environments of poverty and starvation in the developing world, is the American multinational chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation – Monsanto. Monsanto are the biggest and largest suppliers of genetically modified organic seeds in the world; attributed with approximately 80% of US corn seeds and more than 90% of soybeans planted each year. The monopoly of the seed industry by Monsanto and other similar corporations – who control 40% of the worlds seed supply, has had a disastrous effect on GMO farmers.

I came across a documentary awhile back on YouTube in which I have posted above. The theme of the documentary is centred on the practises of Monsanto and the inevitable consequences its monopoly on the seed industry is having on the worlds food supply.

The premise of the documentary is simply that dependence on GM seeds supplied by Monsanto has created a situation in whereby it is impossible to revert back to other conventional seeds once Monsanto seeds have been planted and harvested. However, because Monsanto is a multinational motivated purely by profit at the cost of human happiness – the seeds are genetically designed to only harvest one season of the year and once it has been harvested, they expire as to prevent reseeding, forcing farmers to grow GM crops and creating debt as a result of rising prices in GM seeds. The aim of the documentary fundamentally is to highlight problems which exist as a result of corporate control over the world food supply. And whilst the number of the world’s poor continues to increase – it is multinationals such as Monsanto that profit – that is why they are the real winners in the global political economy.

Mohamed Hussein

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One thought on “The Monsanto Monopoly

  1. I haven’t seen the documentary but i have briefly looked into the controversy surrounding Monsanto’s ‘terminator seed’. According to their website, the company has never produced such a seed and have made a commitment not to do so in the future. Below is an excerpt from their press release:

    Fact: Monsanto has never commercialized a biotech trait that resulted in sterile – or “Terminator” – seeds. Sharing the concerns of small landholder farmers, Monsanto made a commitment in 1999 not to commercialize sterile seed technology in food crops. We stand firmly by this commitment, with no plans or research that would violate this commitment.

    Having said that, Monsanto are extremely powerful but the main issue with them is cross contamination of GMOs.

    MOHAMED HASSAN

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