Monday, November 14, 2016

Interview with Guadalajara Geopolitics Institute


beetleswamp said...

That's not entirely true about GMO's being one-and-done. The companies did develop GURT aka terminator seeds that won't produce after a single generation but the have yet to be commercially released because of major backlash.

GMO's pose a great potential danger because of the laissez-faire regulation where basically the natural environment and general public become the unwitting long term experiments instead of keeping trials contained until they can be certain the individual genetic tweaks are safe. The companies don't want to wait 20 years to release their new batch of ??? and eventually this policy will have disastrous consequences, which is too bad because there is a lot of valuable genetic work to be done out there and the public reaction will be to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The other issue is how the biochem companies treat farmers and ranchers like slaves. They take every opportunity to strip them of control over their own livelyhoods through contracts and IP laws that make sure they are nickel and dimed at every corner until there is nothing left. The ag subsidies handed out by the USDA are also contribute to this problem by unequally supporting the largest companies and most destructive practices over more sustainable operations.

Now the FDA is even getting in on the act by expanding it's authority under FSMA to force small and medium sized farmers to comply with insane food safety regulations that, of course, require "clean" materials purchased from ag giants rather than "dirty" old tech like compost and manure.

Basically the big companies are losing a lot of money to the organic movement and doing everything they can to crush the little guys under the weight of their corrupt scientific, regulatory, and legal apparatus.

Jim R said...

I believe @beetleswamp is correct, not all the GMO seeds have the 'terminator' property. There are many many techniques open to the architects of GMO including forcing their plants to produce certain toxins (which they assure you are 'safe'), and giving their plants the ability to resist certain toxins (which are then applied to the field to kill off everything else) (thereby leaving some amount of toxin in the end product) (which they also assure you is 'safe'). Other GMO plants produce tough tomatoes that can be picked by machines, and look nice on the store shelf for a long while, although they lack any flavor.

And so forth. Of course, what you have said is still true -- monoculture leads to epic crop failures when it fails. Diversity keeps the failures small and local.

But there is another trade war brewing with Russia: Mr. Putin has decided Russia no longer needs to purchase software from American companies. It was long rumored / speculated that Microsoft and others were leaving 'back doors' in their products so that information could 'leak' to the big spy agencies. More recently, Mr. Snowden has verified that the speculation is completely true. I'm actually a little surprised that this ban didn't happen 5 or 10 years ago, but it has happened now. So there goes a chunk of the monopolists' software (malware) market.

If there is one thing that needs to be done to save the world (besides not having a nuclear war), it is to overhaul the while bucket (or ocean) of worms that goes under the rubric 'intellectual property law'.

You'd think, since Monsanto claims pollen grains are their property, and since corporations are people, then pollen straying onto an organic farm would amount to 187 billion counts of trespassing by Monsanto; instead, Monsanto claims it means they own the farm. Other areas of IP law allow things like patents on software, and SWAT-team takedown and prosecution of a little old lady because someone camped on her WiFi and downloded some music. Still other things allow the pharmaceutical companies to gouge their customers. Most of current IP law needs to be shitcanned, and I would hope to live long enough to see Russia lead the way on that front...

You said,
"Basically the big companies are losing a lot of money to the organic movement and doing everything they can to crush the little guys under the weight of their corrupt scientific, regulatory, and legal apparatus. "

I don't think that is true. I think they are making plenty of money and can easily ignore the 'organic' farmers, and a few farmers' markets operating in relatively-affluent neighborhoods here and there. But they do continue their farm-crushing efforts in an attempt to gain a total monopoly, to where there will be no choice at all for the consumers. No natural areas left anywhere, and no possibility of existing independent from the technosphere. That is its goal. The GMO companies themselves don't understand that they are headed for oblivion.

bird said...

Great interview, but definitely off the mark regarding GMOs. The terminator technology that Dmitry speaks of is not present in the GM crops that have been commercialized to date. GM crops can indeed cross-pollinate their non GM counterparts, and are doing so in dramatic fashion in some cases. GM alfalfa is a case in point. I am happy he brought up Russia's anti-GM position, and agree that this could potentially have a catalyzing effecton other nations. Sadly, China appears to be heading in the opposite direction.