Poor little Monsanto must be feeling the heat. They’ve got a Biotech-GMO cheerleading page online that essentially says organic customers and growers face no danger from them.
I’ve been listening to the Audible edition of chimp researcher and environmentalist Jane Goodall’s recent book about the global food situation, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating.
Goodall catalogs a list of familiar problems with GMO food, including neighboring fields with heirloom varieties being contaminated and destroyed because of their supposed intellectual property infringement as if the organic grower wanted the Frankenfood strain. Another chapter deals with CAFOs (factory farms) in detail and Monsanto’s growth hormone troubles in passing. I especially enjoyed her saying this wasn’t just science fiction but actually happening now. Her description of factory farms reminded me of The Meatrix animations.
Michael Pollan was interviewed by Nicki Gostin on “Food Inc.” at Newsweek’s Pop Vox blog and had this to say about Monsanto’s biggest threat:
The movie talks a lot about Monsanto. Can you explain this?
It’s a company that genetically modifies seeds, and they sell a very high percentage of the seeds worldwide now, and they’re gradually consolidating their hold over the world’s seed supply. They don’t want farmers to save seeds. They are great believers in the fact [that] you should come to them every year, and so this age-old tradition of farmers saving a certain amount of seeds for the next year, they’re determined to stamp it out. Now they have the law on their side.
In a recent SALT talk, which you can hear here, Pollan added another intellectual property complaint about GM crops. They can’t be tested for safety and effectiveness without the reports being approved by the company (they’re supposed to increase yield and save the starving billions, recently shown in published field tests to be very wrong).
N. Stephan Kinsella’s footnoted, well reasoned 2008 monograph, Against Intellectual Property, costs $6 printed, but is available to us cheapskates free of charge for immediate download at, and this may surprise some of you, from my kind of anarchists who sometimes have a voice at Mises.org.
If you think law is license plates for bees on Tuesday, underwear having to be worn on the outside on Thursday, and exterminating all red haired, left handed Episcopalians on the Sabbath because the majority was persuaded to vote on those matters, then I think you have a problem.
Kinsella argues that intellectual property is a government created monopoly that can’t be justified on the natural moral law grounds used by some libertarians (for example, a position at odds with J. Neil Schulman’s natural moral law based Logoright essay) and that on economic grounds IP protects established businesses while stifling innovation.
Last year Kinsella addressed Neil’s logoright concept in a blog post.
“So as much as I disagree with Schulman’s justification for “logorights,” the term is a pretty good one–except that it is so arcane. A variation on it using more standard terms might be better: pattern rights, or perhaps innovation rights. Or, to make the label a bit less “neutral,” replace “rights” with “monopolies” or “privileges,” since that is what is being granted by the state. So we have “pattern monopolies” or “pattern privileges,” “innovation rights” or “innovation privileges.” I think I like “pattern monopolies” the best.”
Meanwhile, here are some copyright and patent stories, mostly from Ars Technica: Pirate political parties are celebrating election victories in Europe. And more free spectrum for everyone was proposed. Beyond electronics, data may become chemically processed: Look Ma, No Electricity Infochemistry. Academic source code in computer science is being dragged into the open source debate, because of the way science is supposed to be done. Researchers conclude piracy not stifling content. And finally, British music boss, “We should have embraced Napster.”