The Great Monsanto Lie. No The Other One…
Often repeated are statistics about increased yield and drought resistance, because we will have to feed 9 billion people dontcha-know? Except we already can, and we don’t need Monsanto to do it.
Once upon a time, people used to live as a direct result of their own efforts. When it came time to settle down, you built your own house as a family, or in some cases as a community. When you needed to eat, you went hunting, possibly for days, to catch prey, or went foraging for vegetation like mushrooms, root plants, and fruits. When you had to travel somewhere, you made preparations, stocked up on cured or pickled foodstuffs, then either walked or rode to your destination. There was quite an effort expended to live, and obtaining excess of anything was linearly or exponentially greater effort. This virtually guaranteed that there was little waste, and limited destruction of an environment.
Every stage of human expansionism, or imperialism, has had a direct relationship to the level of environmental destruction. As people clustered together into larger successful groups, there was a rise in agriculture, leading to planned harvests instead of opportunistic ones. As agriculture became widespread, and normal we could say, nomadic lifestyles declined. This decline meant subsequent environmental impacts by humans were concentrated. No longer was any human occupied land able to recover from the sustained human exploitation, except in rare cases where the humans moved away, usually as a result of stripping all the resources that sustained them.
When humans started producing on a large scale, it allowed the creation of loosely organized townships, where harvests were traded among the people, and specialist producers became more common. With the ease of trade arose opportunities to diversify production. One farmer could grow beans or grains, while another grew fruits, or livestock, but generally all farmers were diversified on their own. There was a healthy compromise between meeting your own needs, growing your own food, and your need for goods or services from outside your family.
As long as there was a direct causal line between consumption and production, this system was perfectly sustainable. Almost everything was used completely where possible. Animals that were killed for meat also provided skins for leather, bones for tools, intestines for rope, horns for goblets. This is how all ecosystems function in essence, nothing is wasted, every single thing dying provides for the life that comes after it. Whether that means providing a meal for a predator, or for the worms and larvae in the soil, or as leftover raw materials for plants to absorb.
Recently scientists have discovered some very unexpected relationships in ecosystems, ones that were very easily overlooked in traditional food chain discussions. Trees are not carnivores, they don’t hunt bears, nor do they go fishing on weekends, we know that. What we didn’t know, is that there are forests have thrived on the increased nutrients derived from salmon, because bears that caught fish would often find a secluded spot to eat the fish. The bear poop and fish remnants created a nutrient recycling system. We would all expect nutrients from the forests ending up washing into streams, or being burned off in forest fires, but fishy nutrients being deposited back into the forest is a glorious example of connectedness. We can’t rightfully examine water ecology or flora then, without including the wider regional systems, that took many thousands of years to develop.
One thing is clear, we really don’t understand ecosystems, let alone planet wide processes.The Rhombus of Life
On some simplistic level, it’s easy to assume that life (or the planet as a whole) will figure it out for us. That the world as we know it is a giant recycling bin, with no arbitrary bag limits. It has managed to reclaim the exclusion zone around Chernobyl, high radiation levels and all. The world is a miraculous place, capable of immense resilience, but this assumption would still be totally incorrect.
How many trees were felled to provide firewood for blacksmiths, smokehouses, kitchens, and of course used as building materials? How many trees, what kinds of trees, and where? People are terminally incapable of carrying out a complex plan for sustainable harvesting in virgin wilderness. We would have to literally study an area for generations before understanding causal links in the chain of life in the area. Even then, judging by our abject failures at preserving nature, we would likely miss the large majority of processes in play. This is where the balance of things is most in danger of breaking, our arrogant assumption of understanding that which we do not.
One way we can create some semblance of sustainability is reusing. Worn out tools and garments can be repaired or reworked. If we can’t be trusted with environmental sustainability, then how about aiming for consumption sustainability? How much less could we pollute or destroy, if we only created or purchased items when absolutely necessary? There’s a truism in the electronics industry, the older the TV, the longer it lasts. I personally have a leather belt that I’ve worn for 15 years, I have a leather wallet even older. There is no reason for constant consumption of finished goods, especially with the technology available to us today, and it traditionally wasn’t.
Back to the village scenario, not all communities are sustainable either, especially if that community is based on the principle of constant growth. Constant growth is a normal part of life, let’s be clear about that. Every species, every organism on earth fights for survival; it fights to thrive, it tries to out-compete others for the same resources, and in most cases will even defend itself. This is the principle of perpetual growth, is what capitalism is based on, the difference being, in life, all things die.
This is the fundamental incompatibility between a societal structure based on growth, and nature. If we allowed capitalism as the natural extension of our biological struggle to live, then we must equally allow capitalism, including all it’s members, including all it’s processes, and indeed it’s appetite for consumption, to die. Like a dangerous toxic algae bloom, we could tolerate it in small doses, for very brief periods of time, but the ecosystem couldn’t tolerate it, if it was both pervasive and constant. I think it’s becoming clear to most citizens of earth, that Western-style capitalism is that toxic algae bloom, and it needs to be deprived of what has sustained it all these years.
We currently live in a world, that has willfully broken the ecosystems, climate processes, and even geological processes, that actually allowed us to exist, for profit.What is Life Worth?
It’s perhaps not even slightly surprising that capitalism has allowed life to be patented, in order to be monetized. We know that capitalism, like any organism will fight to become dominant, and one effective way is to control the alternatives. Which in practical terms means nothing less than stamping out the long held practice of self-sufficiency, and any notion of social responsibility.
If a giant chemical corporation like Monsanto, can use it’s clout to stifle the use of non-patented crops, and then change the public discussion to dissuade farming other types of crops altogether, crops that it holds no patents on, we are truly at a dangerous precipice. Where Monsanto can’t do it by marketing, it does so with lawsuits. You may not realize that Monsanto has virtually eliminated seed sorting mills. They once served to provide farmers a way of collecting seed from their reserve inventory, making it nearly impossible for farmers to use saved seed in their absence.
This forces farmers, even unwilling farmers, into a perpetual seed purchase cycle. This then allows them to be exploited by salesmen peddling Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready crops, which then incentivizes deadly Monsanto pesticide purchases to go along with it. Seed prices, including those patented ones from Monsanto, are now more than 10 times more expensive, than before the existence of Roundup-Ready™ crops. All this when an established farmer could in theory have zero seed cost, aside from the amortized value of the silo they installed. Progress eh?
They have done this by suing the seed sorting places into the ground, and suing farmers with tainted crop that dare to save their seed in the first place, via a rigged legal system. Monsanto even employs teams of stooges to trespass on farms all over the world, to ostensibly take genetic samples from fields, to prove infringement. Remember, Monsanto makes farmers that use their crops sign a contract, that “technology agreement” stipulates the crops/seeds are in effect licensed to the farmer, and the farmer has none of the traditional rights as a purchaser, specifically the right to save the seed. Taking samples from a seed sorting business would be easier still, since they are open to the public already.
Though who can say they even bothered to trespass to obtain samples, instead of using their own infringing samples to file the lawsuit? They argue that if even a handful of seed going through that mill, to be saved for later, belonged to Monsanto, that is a violation of the agreement. Somehow lost in this argument, the owner of the seed sorting mill, with his expensive sorter, never signed the agreement, nor even sorted his own seed. As a side effect of stronger intellectual property laws pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and music distribution industry, courts have sided repeatedly with Monsanto, though not everywhere.
Yet even prior to an actual court case, Monsanto usually successfully extorts money from farmers, because when faced with lawsuits for millions of dollars, by a legal team with an unlimited budget, any pragmatic farmer would cave in, and settle. In a blatant form of legalized robbery, Monsanto generally exacts a toll of many thousands of dollars to settle out of court, even in cases where the farmer has not committed a single crime, even where that farmer has a high likelihood of success in court. This is the same tactic the music industry used in the wake of closing down the music sharing service Napster.
You also don’t hear about the thousands of farmers who have settled, or signed onto the Monsanto WayOfLife™ for one reason, they also sign what’s known as a gag order, though the mainstream media is always there to help. A perverse consequence of a ridiculously complicated legal system, is the need for ridiculously expensive lawyers, more or less guaranteeing that “justice” is only available to the rich, not the ordinary serf. What these farmers failed to realize, perhaps as a consequence of being unplugged from social movements and activist organizations, is that the extortion attempts by the music industry against downloaders is being slowly extinguished, in part due to more people taking them to court, and resisting their demands in general.
If thousands of farmers tied Monsanto up in expensive court proceedings, you can bet they’d be more measured in their dealings with pesky independent farmers in the future.Sell! Sell! Sell!
Although it could be surprising to a traditional farmer, that a farm could be operated like a Walmart, selling marginally acceptable quality produce, sometimes at a loss, and still make a profit. The better question to ask however is the obvious one, should a farm be operated like a department store, and is there no social responsibility for the land use?
If a transport truck crashes, the “damaged” goods aren’t even inspected by the store for further sale, the whole shipment is immediately written off for insurance purposes. Likewise, if a major player in agri-business happens to make an extra 40,000 tons of wheat product it can’t sell, it makes an insurance claim for lost sales, then writes down the inventory for tax deduction, and then they appeal for more subsidies from the government. This is one of the invariably obscene ways that corporations have less risk attached to their actions than individuals, heft liability and property insurance.
We all know capitalism has created excessive waste, we’re all familiar with planned obsolescence, or at least feel it unconsciously. The law of supply and demand doesn’t work anymore. Not as it was imagined in the industrial revolution anyway. Most of the great thinkers and inventors of the day had a more utopian outlook for the future, although this could just be their inherent optimism from seeing rapid progress. Not everyone is willing to entertain the idea that progress is entropy, and that we are all accelerating towards nullification.
These days, supply side economics is a race for dominance, to squeeze more productivity out of workers or equipment, including squeezing wages to unlevel the playing field with competitors, and beat them over the head with trademark disputes or patent infringement lawsuits where possible. The supply side of the economy also heavily relies on legalized slavery, economic exploitation of low wage labour in third world countries, and in some cases in the domestic prison population. I bet most people don’t know that Maytag and American Standard, with the venerable Made in USA stickers, are made by federal inmates.
The economics of all this is also tainted with with subsidies, often making it more economical to discard, than producing less or even donating it to charity! Consider also the ethanol subsidies for corn producers, previously corn was rather inexpensive as a feed stock for animals, and fairly inexpensive for people. Bad enough Monsanto drives up the cost for producing corn, but now much of that corn is diverted to wasteful ethanol processing. Meanwhile, Mexicans are spending nearly triple on their staple food, and they don’t earn that much to begin with, all because ethanol in gasoline sounds like it will save the planet to some dimwits.
The demand side is almost entirely driven by social pressures to conform, constant marketing of unrealistic expectations. Another factor is the public policy of public-private-partnerships that end up with corporate logos plastered on public landmarks. Phew. Maybe I’m weird, but Toyota Stadium, Roger’s Center, O2 Arena, etc send the wrong message to me, I certainly don’t want their products more having seen the name. I am in the minority apparently.
So if both supply and demand are detached, and in fact both are artificially inflated, then where’s the equilibrium? Is there one? Well this hasn’t been answered by the leading socio-economic talking heads, nor has it been answered in the political sphere. If anything, the only reason the system has continued to exist so long is the exploitation and destruction of other sovereign nations environmental safeguards. Exploited by draconian “free trade agreements” and tit-for-tat import protectionism. Though we can’t exclude all the opportunities for the corporations created by a policy of perpetual war, nor can we exclude the investment banks speculating on commodity futures with nearly unlimited funds either.
Where’s the all powerful, omniscient “free market” to fix this discrepancy?Free Genetically-Modified Cookies you say?
There really is no such thing as a free market in the world’s financial markets, nor was there any intention of there being anything “free” about them, anymore than a casino is “fair” to patrons. In the case of commodity prices, futures contracts were invented as a way of formalizing delivery promises between individual farmers and large scale wholesalers or dealers. The idea that a buyer could defer a purchase into the future, at a price agreed today, gave a buyer a sense of stability, indeed gave the whole production and distribution system some stability. Yet it’s the same function that is causing instability, and unsustainable, unjustifiable pricing swings, due to speculative contract trading.
In some parts of the world, one of the underlying regulatory conditions toothlessly added, was to limit the ability of a government or central bank, to interfere with the natural “free market” pricing of goods via futures contracts. In many cases, this lack of interference was only implied, in other cases it was deliberately stripped from legislation. Several of the first world nations with strong currencies have amended previous legislations specifically to add a “stability mechanism” clause, which basically means, if the market ever appears in trouble, they can intervene. The downside to these schemes should be obvious, they protect the largest players from sudden precipitous devaluations, but doesn’t protect small players from sudden valuation bubbles.
Canada wisely implemented a Wheat Board that collectively bargained on behalf of grain producers, whereas most nations only ever intervened at the border, using trade deals with tariffs, or as a last resort, anti-dumping legislation. These protections are obviously not “free market” ideals, but conversely, speculators are just as disruptive to the market value of goods, by unnaturally inflating or deflating a good. Today, the prices we pay for goods, any goods, are really not related to actual supply, or actual demand.
Now whether you support collectivized bargaining between farmers and wholesalers, or whether you support free markets dictating the price of goods, you should very concerned. Not only have prices of commodities become unhinged in the reckless pursuit of ever more profits, the players that setup the system gave up control, unwittingly or deliberately, to the central banks of the westernized world, like the Federal Reserve Corporation.
Consider, how would a functioning commodities market, that only includes genuine buyers, and genuine sellers, would behave? If I, as an agent for Tesco, wanted to secure a good price on broccoli for the next 6 months, there would be some haggling involved. I as the buyer would demand the lowest fair market price I could get, having shopped around, knowing the approximate minimum that I could expect, and knowing exactly how much I need. The seller/farmer on the other hand, would have full knowledge of what other buyers have offered, and will balance this with their need to sell 100% of their inventory.
This puts us into a symbiotic dance, the 6 month handshake. Ultimately, prices would change rather slowly, and stay largely within a small range of minimums and maximums, probably most influenced by the size of the purchase agreement. There’s very little possibility of runaway prices even during disasters, and very little chance of the producers undercutting themselves out of business. This is the way trade is supposed to work.
What if we change the scenario a bit, to one that happens today? What if the majority of buyers are institutional buyers, backed with unlimited capital, provided as very low interest loans from central banks? What if most of the sellers are actually aggressive speculators, ones who purchased directly from farmers en masse at a take-it-or-leave-it price? The buyers never intend to take delivery, and the sellers never even touched the product involved. Suddenly supply becomes meaningless, the biggest buyers get to dictate the market.
This then squeezes small farmers out of business, forcing mergers, or bankruptcies. This in turn puts pressure on the government to subsidize farmers as a vital industry, ensuring the speculators can further drive down the cost of goods to crushing levels. Once farmers receive subsidies, they stop fighting back against this rigged market, and it’s the nation’s tax paying citizenry that foots the bill. In effect, this is how a “free market” is in fact a “corporate welfare” program. The few largest entities benefit, at the cost of the large majority.
Siphoning tax payers for the sake of corporate profits doesn’t smack of freedom, it smacks of class warfare. Belatedly people are waking up to this fact, even the main stream media is unable to silence Bernie Sanders railing against corporate subsidies. I’m still unsure how clearly he understands how to fix the problem though. His stump speeches, and the speeches he gave in the entirety of his career in Congress to be fair, have highlighted many of the anti-democratic elements in the system, but he always approaches it with too much logical optimism.
When I hear people talk about a “broken system” being fixed, I just grimace. The system has been rigged by the powerful, by the wealthy, and by clueless government minions who can’t see the picture. The system isn’t broken, it’s exactly the way they want it! It can only broken, if it was never intended to be this way, right? Perhaps this is why it only ever gets lip service, it seems so unassailable, the mountain that’s just too high to climb, the water that’s just too dirty to wash your hands (although just fine for laundering your money) with, apparently.
Trade is about cost deltas, you have a known production cost coupled to a sale price, with generally known markups in the supply chain. Speculation is about profiteering, making rips on individual trades. If you really boil it down, there’s actually a very simple solution to curb speculation, which will never happen without a populist revolt. Treat speculative earnings as fully taxable, and charge a mandatory time-graduated transaction fee, much like a deferred sales charge on a mutual fund.
This would single-handedly reshape the market, swing the power back to the producer instead of the purchaser. It would encourage bulk purchases from less suppliers, and therefore encourage honest negotiations. It would make it much less profitable to flip contracts between speculators, especially quick trades, because the faster a commodity contract is traded, the higher the transaction fee schedule, thereby stabilizing price moves. Plus it would create a windfall of taxation income for the regulatory body.
Of course, knowing that politicians are also a commodity (average selling price of $84,000 for an old model), you can bet those new taxes would end up in some other corporate welfare program down the line.Be Still My Palpitating Heart
North Americans are facing a health crisis, and it’s not just skyrocketing healthcare costs. Autism is at a record high level amongst younger generations, just as heart disease and diabetes rates have seen a dramatic spike which makes rising income inequality charts look tame! Likewise a myriad of developmental conditions have been noticed, in younger and younger patients. The milder form of autism, asperger’s syndrome, is also on the rise, but a flick of the pen created a division between them, which helps prevent the statistics being combined. Alzheimer’s is now being found in people in their 20’s! Clearly this isn’t an accident, or at least not the least bit random.
People blamed microwave ovens for the spike in cancer rates, the shills who support microwaving zapped water to prove a plant can’t tell the difference, instead of doing real science by zapping complex chain compounds that can actually be shattered by low-energy radiation. People blamed fat for heart disease taking over the leading cause of death in North America, yet most of Europe has been eating even more highly fatty foods without this correlation, and only a few isolated doctors have managed to challenge this myth, pointing at the real culprit, sugar.
There are a great many phony diseases that have been discovered lately as well, or more accurately described as symptomatic diseases, where the cause isn’t known, but the effects are classified as the ailment. Take the rise of lactose intolerance. Can it be just coincidence that nearly everyone in developed countries drank milk happily for close to a century, only to find that millions of Americans struggle with digestive maladies drinking modern milk coincides with the use of Recombinant-Growth-Hormone (a product of Monsanto, banned in Canada/Europe) injected into cattle?
There are even studies that had initially supported unscientific positions, only to be revisited to find the opposite. The rise of gluten intolerance was one such case. A mass panic was caused by pseudo-doctors and marketeers all trying to cash in on yet another designer diagnosis, and expensive diet plans, including exclusive foods. What if it was all based on lies? Worse still, what if the ailment was real, but the cause wasn’t? Would it surprise you to know Monsanto’s Roundup was implicated as the real cause?
Experts estimated the gluten-free food market is going to exceed $15 billion in 2015, I only wish I had expert estimates for the Tele-evangelist industry to compare it to, people are really gullible.The Global Destruction of Security
You could be forgiven to think that all the problems we face today, from food shortages in poorer countries, to intense pollution in developed countries, to even the crazy weather we’ve been having, are as a result of human frailty, a simple side effect of corruption. You could even be forgiven for thinking that most of these problems are not in fact related, just randomly occurring Bad Things™, and that there really is no rhyme or reason to when. Again, we are slowly learning that the fools on the hills, seeing with the eyes in their heads, are in fact correct.
Much hay in the alternative media, and by hysterical types, about the United Nations Agenda 21 program, a program that outlines their view of a sustainable humanity on earth. Their view was drafted during the string of major military American conflicts engaged in around the world. In some ways it was a product of it’s time, and in some ways quite forward thinking, much like Star Trek. The very fact that the United Nations sought to dictate what sovereign governments around the world could do, should tell you the founding purpose of the organization, even if it has since lost it’s way several times.
We have to keep in mind, that many grand plans of that ilk have been devised, from the Carnegie Foundation trying to reshape the American school system just before the first World War, to the Trans Pacific Partnership they are secretly trying to ram down the throats of 800 million people. Things don’t always go according to plans, and populations don’t always go along with those plans. President Hugo Chavez was abducted by the CIA briefly, the preferred lackeys of the globalists, and would have likely been killed or imprisoned on false charges at the time, if the Venezuelan people hadn’t risen up in overwhelming popular support of him. He was however likely poisoned with polonium like Arafat, doomed to a slow assassination by cancer, as a final gesture of their displeasure with democracy.
So there are always plans and agendas in play, and things are rarely, pretty much never actually, happening for the reasons publicly discussed. The world powers didn’t topple General Gaddafi because he was an evil mad man, they toppled his regime because he knew what they were up to, and dared to put his country first. He was just one of many demonized leaders, which the United States (or Israel) decided to oust directly, instead of by proxy, as in the case of Ukraine or Egypt.
While the world clamors for clean drinking water, companies like Nestle or Coca Cola, are buying up the rights to entire rivers in third world countries. While the west coast of the United States and Canada are in full on drought, Nestle Inc. is busy sucking out the aquifers of both countries, to then sell it back to people with added sugar. Yet if a nation dares try to stop them, they invoke international trade agreements, in which clauses stipulate total subservience to the needs of corporations, and even Investor-State-Dispute mechanisms, that allow suing the host country if they persist with their protectionist ideas.
As discussed earlier, “free markets” invariably put the power in the hands of the already wealthy, and the already powerful. The same principles apply to Free Trade Agreements as well. FTA proponents can argue that increased trade is the goal, that increasing trade is mutually beneficial for all countries, and dammit why wouldn’t you want that you socialist hippie bum? While on the surface this makes sense, once again, broken into it’s constituent parts, it becomes clear that it is just another trojan horse to siphon cash from the buying public.
When any FTA is negotiated, the negotiations almost exclusively focus on the exemptions, which means the parts that are actually not going to be freely traded. In other words, they focus on which industries to protect, not who brings the beer. That should already explain why FTAs are in fact not about trade, but about destroying a nation’s ability to protect itself, its economy, and its people. When Secretary of State Clinton sits down with the Foreign Minister of Argentina, what they are discussing in public sounds like increasing trade, what they are really discussing is protectionism, ie. which industries will Argentina allow to be thrown under the bus, for access to the American retailer’s shelf.
Monsanto is also not the business of creating food security around the world, I hope everyone realizes it, though I believe some still can’t see through the BS. Monsanto is in the business of making money, and by using that money to leverage politicians, to undermine national protections against their portfolio of GMO and pesticide products. The American government effectively becomes Monsanto’s Mjolnir, smashing sovereignty by Regime Change or Free Trade Agreement, allowing Monsanto to subsume the entire agricultural market.
Food security is on many people’s minds however. In India there are vast uprisings of farmers against Monsanto’s BT Cotton, and other Roundup-Ready crops, because they destroy the very nature of farming. The effect of this change is clearly visible in North America, with the overwhelming majority of farms now employing automated sprinklers, excessive amounts of highly toxic pesticides, and gigantic combine harvesters instead of labour.
Monsanto is therefore much more than a bio-tech company, or even agricultural giant, they actually exert a force on the entire culture of farming, and the way of life that used to entail for millennia.Big Trouble in Little India
To understand why Indians would be especially upset with Monsanto, you can find a historical link, or a collective national memory as a huge motivator. Firstly, India threw off colonial rule by the British not that long ago, their dispute was not very different than my dispute with modern “free trade” agreements. India used to produce a great deal of cotton, and like many raw material industries, that meant low pay for a lot of work. They were being exploited in a very specific way, used only in a single part of the production process, denied the work in the other parts. Those other parts were done by other people, in England.
These days car companies talk endlessly about moving upscale, which is code for moving up in average price, which really means shifting away from the low-profit commodity boxes on wheels, to more exclusive content. The equivalent of that in the cotton industry is manufacturing that cotton into finished shirts or bed sheets. The least profit is made in the harvest, rising slightly by the preparation stages, rising significantly by the conversion into finished goods, and cresting at the retail level.
India was able to handle the entire supply chain, they wanted to, they begged to, but the British snobs preferred to promote their own industries. Why else would they go around conquering other nations? Knowing that, it’s pretty easy to understand American imperialism as well, it is entirely based on slavery. American slavery has just evolved into the traditional British foreign slavery which they rejected all those years ago. Irony runs deep in American politics.
In effect, Monsanto’s aim is to enslave farmers around the globe, just as the colonial British did for centuries before, to force them into a situation where they have no choice: continue buying Monsanto products, or get sued into oblivion as their crops are contaminated. However the resistance to Monsanto is increasing, Scotland, Hungary and other important countries in Europe have banned GMOs, others like Switzerland have decided to block adoption pending review, while a few others have more complicated exclusion rules, or ban only particular strains like MON 810.
As always, Monsanto does what it does, bribes the officials, corrupts sound science with blankets of untested scientific claims, often getting GMOs rubber-stamped against popular opposition.Food Security is Vital for Sovereignty
The other reason India is upset is far more pressing, and harder to envision for rotund carnivores in Texas. India is predominantly vegetarian, and as any vegetarian knows, certain proteins, or certain fatty-acids are hard to come by in plants. Ironically, a major cause of deficiency is caused by a quirk of the industrial revolution, humanity spending most of it’s time clothed and indoors, consequently not getting enough sun to convert our natural skin oils into vitamin D. That said, we acquire the vast majority of vitamins from our food. Some of those vitamins are also in very low concentrations in plants, while others need harder to find fats to break down like vitamin K. Yes we need to eat fat, don’t let any pseudo health guru tell you differently.
Despite our flawed modern societies, there are solutions. There are great sources of nutrition we overlook these days, traditionally grown amongst other crops, to provide a higher overall nutritional yield from the same acreage, also known as high density farming. Dandelions, Feverfew and many other plants we categorize as “weeds” are in fact very beneficial, and these highly resilient plants have been used as medicines in the past, what changed? Some commercial farmers seeking ever lower labour costs, using larger and larger machines, that couldn’t handle the irregularity of mixed crop fields I’d guess.
Indians on the other hand, are used to growing nutrient rich plants side by side, to provide a range of nutritional needs, not mono-culture crops as farmers in western countries have, and certainly not the nutrient-deficient Monsanto seed crops, nor using Monsanto’s poisons.
A strategy for creating greater abundance as well as decreasing degradation of soil is the practice of intercropping. For example, the Javanese multilayer agroiforestry, with a canopy of durian and mango trees that provide shelter for an under layer where they grow bananas and coffee with taro and cassava at the ground level (Netting). Not only do they sustain their yield year to year, but the intercropping reduces soil degradation because the roots of the trees lift nutrients up from the soil and the leaves are used as mulch later on. This highly diversified strategy “prevents overall crop failure, while intercropping is likely to reduce insect pests, and multiple crops with different work requirements smooth out farm labor expenditures over the year.”
Conelly, Thomas & Chaiken, Miriam S. 2000. “Intensive Farming, Agro-Diversity, and Food Security under Conditions of Extreme Population Pressure in Western Kenya”. Human Ecology. 28(1). 19-51. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4603343
Like India in the east, Indians in North America also grew a multitude of highly nutritious corn crops, the sweet yellow corn being probably the least nutritious, which you’ll note is also the basis of Monsanto’s Bt Corn. What do you imagine would happen in a world where available food crop strains were dictated by for-profit corporations? Since they want to maximize profit, not your health, you would expect the crops they promote would be the ones easiest to market or sell. You could liken this to being given a choice between Caesar salad and ice cream for every meal, maybe you would pick salad sometimes, but you know ice cream would be picked way too often.
There’s actually more problems with the story than meets the eye, but for that we have to take a closer look at the Bt gene inserted into Bt crops, and the pesticide Roundup. The Bt gene was added to kill the European Corn-borer insect, but Monsanto has since developed alternative strains with additional insect-killing genes because of the reduction in effectiveness, which are almost certainly responsible for the devastation of bees, and Monarch butterfly populations which migrate the entire length of North America. This Bt gene addition doesn’t change nutrition however, only potential toxicity, and there are in fact many plants that have engaged in this kind of genetic warfare with insects.
The nutrient deficiency falls entirely to the Roundup-Ready gene addition, indirectly. A Roundup-Ready crop has one purpose, like really just one, to survive being drenched with Roundup. Roundup itself is highly toxic, not just the basic active ingredient glyphosate, but all the other chemicals and surfactants added to it. The problem does not have a simple crossword puzzle answer, it inhibits various chemical processes in certain kinds of cells and organisms, organisms that exist in large quantities in our intestines as well. It not only disrupts these vital functions, but by doing so, it skews or impairs nutrient uptake. The very reason we use manure, and high quality top-soils when planting, is to increase nutrient uptake in a plant, artificial fertilizers only provide nitrogen with a narrow set of other nutrients.
January 2001, El-Demerdash, Yousef, and Elagamy EI of the Department of Environmental Studies, Institute of Graduate Studies and Research, Alexandria University, Egypt reported that glyphosate demonstrated toxicity on the following vital human enzymes: serum acetylcholinesterase (AChE), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (AlP)
The western nations are now beginning to feel the systemic impact of these poorer quality crops, laced with Roundup no less, invading the entire food chain. Most GMO crops end up in processed foods like cereal, crushed and hydrogenated for vegetable oils or margarine, and also fed to animals we later eat. Low income families are the ones who mainly eat fast food, most children eat cereal, so consider how this could affect the next generation. Even if we want to escape GMO crops, or genuinely try to eat healthy, it’s no longer just about making better choices, it’s become an uphill marathon. The research and the vigilance required to avoid eating this crap are staggering.
Add to this Monsanto’s end game, ending the ability of farmers to save seed, I don’t think anyone can fully fathom the ramifications of this. How many thousands of subspecies of crops have humans cultivated over the centuries will be lost? How many ecosystems will be utterly destroyed by the overuse of pesticides? How useless will our staple foods become from a nutritional standpoint? Can you imagine a world where only a handful of food becomes plentiful, while everything else becomes scarce? What happens to “freedom” and “liberty” then?
I’m with the Indians on this one, I don’t want to snack on corn fed corndogs, and have corned ham with a side of creamed corn for dinner, even if they were non-GMO varieties. Yet this is the future they are pushing the world towards. Everyone from George H. W. Bush when Monsanto first spliced bacterial DNA into soy beans, to Hillary Clinton strong-arming countries that banned GMOs today. If you doubt the bio-tech firms motivations, all you need to know is that another giant decided to transfer a single gene from one yellow banana, to another yellow banana that produced less of one compound, just to be able to patent an otherwise equivalent banana to the first.
It’s time to stop and think for once, do we want a future where good food and clean water are no longer human rights?The Other Lie…
Lastly, when all other logical fallacy arguments fail, when the winds blowing the acrid stench of lynch mob torches gets too strong, Monsanto, like other transgenetic Frankenfood creators, trots out their last, best argument. They terrorize otherwise sane, well adjusted politicians and scholars alike, with the thoughts of a 9 billion person planet. Images of people rolling around in the mud, scraping at the bark of trees with their fingernails, beating each other over the head with leftover construction supplies, unable to feed themselves, will dance in their heads.
This is a most fantastic stretch of the imagination. Not the least because the very act of getting along with that many people will be challenging. We will need entirely new paradigms of governance, and entirely new social sensibilities, to survive ourselves. When people get desperate, they become protectionist, and if they own nothing, they become xenophobic. Witness the hatred from the welfare rednecks in Republican states towards hard working immigrants from less than an hour’s drive away.
The obvious panic button here is war. War is a distinct likelihood, and a definite go-to gameplan of the globalists. Wars do depopulate countries rather effectively, but if things get desperate, we as a species may actually destroy our best arable lands out of spite. Whether it’s tactical nukes, depleted uranium shelling, or just plain scorched earth policies, things could get really ugly indeed. Food may end up being the weapon that enslaves humanity in the long term.
Back to the great lie, can we feed 9 billion people? The answer shockingly is yes. If we can manage that, maybe the planet is still in serious trouble, but the solution has nothing to do with GMOs or pesticides. This is the magic trick in this strawman argument, because if we continue doing what we do today, factory farming, large-scale commercial, high intensity pesticide laden farming, the answer is indeed no. If we don’t change how we farm, if we don’t start employing the methods that small farms have for thousands of years, we are doomed to a future of starvation.
If we do manage to change our eating habits, to one more vegan than carnivore, we can use high-density farming techniques to provide all the nutrition we need. We can intersperse crops in the same field, so even if there is a blight or a new pest wipes out a specific crop, we haven’t lost the entire harvest. Although this is far less likely if every farm grows a different crop mix, most pests can’t migrate (or migrate quickly) across adjacent farms without their food source being grown there. In a case where each farm is entirely different, pests can easily be controlled without using poison.
We can likewise use sacrificial plants to distract insects as well. It is well known to traditional farmers in North America, that many pests prefer to eat the native weeds. Perhaps this means we need to reclassify weeds as just another crop type, or re-educate the factory farmers how it was done before they spent millions on machinery. I remember seeing a documentary, where an organic farmer was growing rather densely packed tomato plants, along with 3 types of local weeds, as well as rhubarb, onions, and even shrubbery. The farmer was able to tend about an acre of this by himself, without machinery, without crop dusting, imagine that.
This multi-cropping method is antithetical to the existence of Monsanto, who thrives only when allowed to create seed monopolies. The seed monopoly is therefore one of the primary failures of contemporary farming that must be eliminated. We can’t have a any mega-corp go around securing exclusive distribution rights for farmers, and pesticide resistant traits that deliberately create vast mono-culture crops. Nor can we allow any corporation to own the harvest products of a seed purchase, which is exactly what the FDA and USDA have signed onto in America, by allowing living organisms to be patented, without being thoroughly researched. Is it not incredulous that Monsanto submits its own test results to the agencies, instead of the agencies testing the company’s claims independently?
When it comes to re-education, or re-training, we could always attack consumption head on, couldn’t we? People can curtail obesity by eating less, a simple proposition if your nutritional needs are met with less. This would of course mean the end of sugary drinks, sweets, and most fried food. The retail food industry, as we know it today, would have to be crushed along side the GMO tinkerers of the world then. Oh the horror.
Having covered all the factors for increased yields, both nutritional yields, and areal yield density increases, there’s only one aspect left, waste. Waste is a huge problem in western societies, partly because the waste is generated far from where it’s produced. What would make great compost, instead becomes tied up in a toxic landfill. Not only does this rob the earth of healthy nutrient recycling, but takes up enormous space in already overflowing dumps, requiring more land to be dedicated to waste. This is unsustainable.
Another common western practice, a result of being spoiled by cheap foods, allowing us to be extremely picky, has created a tidal wave of discarded food. That’s right folks, the producers themselves throw away close to 40% of the food they produce, because it doesn’t live up to the retailer buyer’s standards. A retailer that is trying to show they have the bestest peaches in the whole world, is not going to showcase peaches with dents, or funny shapes, regardless that their composition is entirely the same. Are we the consumer to blame for this perception, or is it merely marketing strategy?
Even if everything Monsanto sells us about it’s products was true, and it’s not, clearly with better eating habits, better farming habits, and less wasteful habits, we could feed 9 billion citizens of Earth already. The big questions are thus: Has the marketing strategy of the food industry irreparably harmed our perception of acceptable foodstuffs? Has the scientific community abandoned the fight against the super-wealthy agricultural monopolies? Have we gone too far destroying our ecology? Are we satisfied watching nature documentaries of the past, or do we still care?
Who’s up for a populist food revolution?