Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Case for Nationalizing Monsanto

Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity.


Capitalism fails in two situations: monopoly and state-capital cronyism. Monopoly extinguishes competition and that effectively extinguishes capitalism.

When the elites of the state and private capital collude, i.e. crony capitalism, the few gain power and wealth at the expense of the many.

The state (broadly speaking, government) fails when it serves the few at the expense of the many, while claiming to serve the interests of the many. The state only fulfills its purpose when it serves the interests of the many at the expense of the few who control the majority of the political power and private wealth.

Monsanto is the epitome of monopoly and crony-state collusion. But Monsanto's grip is not only on the throat of the nation-- through its monopoly on seeds that it enforces globally, its grip is strangling the entire world.

Monopolies on food, energy and water (what I term the FEW resources) are not like monopolies on discretionary goods and services. People have to pay whatever the monopoly charges, as substitutes are either unavailable, very expensive or under the control of the same cartel/quasi-monopoly.

Before Monsanto extended its grip as the state-enforced seed monopoly, state universities and extension services developed seed strains and provided the seeds for a nominal cost.Over time, this publicly owned and managed system of providing low-cost seeds has eroded under pressure from for-profit private firms such as Monsanto and the benign neglect of a government that has been captured by private interests and self-serving elites.

The supposed benefits of costly monopoly-developed GMO seeds is increasingly being questioned: Plant Breeding vs. GMOs: Conventional Methods Lead the Way in Responding to Climate Change.

The rapid advance of gene sequencing is opening new doors for much quicker development of conventional plant breeding techniques that require no genetic modification (GMO).

If the American people wanted to bestow a gift to the world that would be valued by billions of people yet would cost the American citizenry a ridiculously modest sum, it would be to nationalize Monsanto and provide its seed products for free. To do this requires letting go of all the self-serving neoliberal fantasies that crony-capitalists propagandize to protect their monopolies: for example, only the profit motive drives innovation, so only private companies can supply the world with advanced seeds.

All this propaganda boils down to defending monopoly and cronyism as capitalism--The Big Lie of all monopolists and crony-capitalists. This was the reason given for privatizing publicly owned utilities that are then transformed into highly profitable monopolies--the precise opposite of capitalism's primary engine of innovation.

Monsanto is worth around $57 billion. Compare this to the Federal debt of $18 trillion, or the full lifecycle cost of the bloated F-35 fighter aircraft program, which weighs in at $1 trillion. We should also compare $60 billion with the $16.8 trillion that the Federal Reserve loaned the world's too big to jail banks.


Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity, and doing so for a mere $57 billion would be a bargain--especially when you consider the $3 trillion the state has squandered on endless wars of choice and the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve and the government have squandered propping up the self-serving, parasitic cartel of too big to jail banks. 



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