by James Corbett
September 17, 2016
If you had told someone a few decades ago that by 2016 the company that brought aspirin to the world and the company that brought Agent Orange to Vietnam were going to team up to control a quarter of the world's food supply, chances are you would have been labeled a loony.
Unless your name was Robert B. Shapiro. He was CEO of Monsanto from 1995 to 2000, and in 1999 he told Business Week that the company's goal was to wed "three of the largest industries in the world--agriculture, food and health--that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration."
With this week's announcement that Bayer had finally succeeded in its quest to acquire Monsanto, it is hard to deny that Shapiro's vision has been realized. Too bad for all of us that that vision is a nightmare.
The Bayer-Monsanto merger (as James Evan Pilato and I discussed on this week's New World Next Week) is turning heads, and rightfully so. Clocking in at $66 billion, or $128 per share, it is the largest cash takeover bid in history. It also combines Bayer and Monsanto's shares of the world seed market (3% and 26% respectively) and their share of the agrochemical market (15% and 8% respectively) with Bayer's pharmaceutical division to create the single largest player in Shapiro's quickly-materializing "agriculture/food/health" industry.
But Bayer and Monsanto are not the only ones playing this game. Major competitors DuPont and Dow are in the midst of a merger that is expected to create a $130 billion behemoth when the dust settles. China National Chemical Corp.'s $43 billion takeover bid for seed giant Syngenta AG was approved by US regulators last month. And just like that, the number of companies presiding over the global supply of (increasingly genetically modified) seeds and agrochemicals is about to be cut in half.
But in fact, as I explained in "How Big Oil Conquered the World," even the current agrochemical industry has to be seen in its historical context as a fusion of the petrochemical fertilizer giants (Dupont, Dow, Hercules Powder and other businesses in the Standard Oil orbit) with the “ABCD” seed cartel of Archer Daniels Midand, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus. These previously separate fields were gradually consolidated under the flag of "agribusiness," itself developed at Harvard Business School in the 1950s with the help of research conducted by Wassily Leontief for the Rockefeller Foundation.
Then with the advancement of GMO technology in the 1980s and 1990s (again with considerable help from the Rockefellers and other oiligarchical interests), new opportunities for consolidation presented themselves. Seeds used to be sold by seed companies, and fertilizers and herbicides used to be sold by chemical companies. But then the GMO "revolution" came along and all of these companies spun off "biotech" branches to genetically engineer seeds. That in turn opened up opportunities to create GMO seed strains that are tailored to work with patented herbicides and fertilizers. The combination of GMO seeds and specially tailored agrochemicals has been especially lucrative for the companies at the top of this food chain (pardon the pun), and Monsanto was the first to capitalize on those synergies, winning regulatory approval for its first Roundup Ready soybeans in 1994.
The goal of this latest round of biotech/seed/agrochemical mergers, like the agribusiness consolidation before it, is two-fold: to increase market share, cut overhead, and increase profits; and to put control of the world's food supply in the hands of a very few globalist insiders.
Control of the global food supply is, needless to say, (along with control of money and oil) the pillars upon which the globalist oligarchs perch. Although there is no proof whatsoever that he said it, the dubious quote sometimes attributed to Henry Kissinger is nonetheless quite true: "Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world."
Particularly frightening, then (though hardly surprising), that this latest round of consolidation is being spearheaded by two corporations as thoroughly deplorable as Bayer and Monsanto.
Bayer: One of the pieces of I.G. Farben's grim (and oiligarchical) legacy; supplier of chemicals for the poison gas attacks of WWI; knowing seller of HIV-contaminated vaccines; mass murderer of bees; seller of tainted GMO crops.
And Monsanto: dumper of toxic chemicals; proud seller of carcinogens; suer of farmers; cause of farmer suicides; suppressor of scientific dissent.
Are you feeling safe knowing that a quarter of the world's food supply will soon be in their combined hands?
Well, perhaps there's a ray of hope here. The Wall Street Journal posits that these latest mergers are actually a defensive reaction to negative market pressures, not the fulfillment of the companies' (admitted) long-term plans. According to the Journal:
"[...]farmers are finding it harder to justify the high and often rising prices for modified, or GMO, seed, given the measly returns of the current farm economy. Spending on crop seeds has nearly quadrupled since 1996, when Monsanto became the first of the companies to launch biotech varieties. Yet major crop prices have skidded lower for three years, and this year, many farmers stand to lose money."
The report goes on to suggest that these increasing prices, combined with the emergence of increasingly-resistant weeds, are leading a growing number of farmers back to non-GMO seeds.
Whether this is part of a rising trend of farmers abandoning the GMO monstrosities for their cheaper organic alternatives or not, one thing is clear: Consumers who are concerned about these GMO crops and the consolidation of the food supply itself have their own responsibility in reducing their consumption of these products. While a complete boycott of the nearly-ubiquitous (in the US) GMO soybean and GMO corn would be almost impossible at this point, consumers still can make their presence felt by using the Non-GMO Project or similar resources to buy GMO-free products.
The alternative is that Robert B. Shapiro's dream of a consolidated food-health-agriculture industry comes true and we all live through the nightmare of that much power being put in the hands of the very few.
This article originally appeared in The Corbett Report subscriber newsletter on September 17, 2016. To sign up for a Corbett Report membership and gain access to the weekly newsletter, please CLICK HERE.