|3/3/2011 Let the Free Market Decide
by D.Baumann (more)
(citations and background info) version of expose
showing how GMO's are a "welfare crop" (basically, a big wet kiss from
Congress using YOUR taxpayer money to reward giant Agricultural
Corporations). Half the members of Congress are elected and serve with only one mission: to vote in favor of the Farm Bill, which remains Corporate Agriculture's most direct robbing of the American Taxpayer. 80 percent of Farm Bill dollars are paid to fewer than 10 percent of farmers. The other 20 percent of dollars is spread among the other 90 percent of farmers in small increments for the purpose of creating an illusion of widespread distribution.
- But the REALLY big Farm Bill winners are the giant food processing corporations, which are able to purchase conventional commodity crops (corn, soy, canola) cheaper because American Taxpayers are underwriting the cost of conventional farm production (organic is comparatively un-subsidized, one reason it cost more). The "cheap" fast food that is destroying Americans' health is not really cheap -- our tax dollars underwrite the cost of creating fast food. If a fast-food hamburger's price reflected the true actual cost of all the ingredients in that hamburger, it could cost $20 instead of $1. And America would be a MUCH HEALTHIER nation! (read Michael Pollan's THE OMNIVORES DILEMMA)
- Includes a brief explanation of how the Commodity Crop market has worked in the past, and how it is now being used to push GMOs. (If you eat food, you really do need to know this stuff)
- And a debunking of GMO Myths, such as rice that will end blindness, sweet potatoes that will end famine, etc. These
are the "poster children" ideas (as yet unrealized) put forth by the GE
industry's bazillion-dollar PR campaign. But the truth remains that GE
crops have flooded the world market for the purpose of selling more
herbicide, and to choke traditional farming (seed saving, sustainable
agriculture) out of existence, for the greater profit of Corporate
monopolies (three companies that already own half the world seed market).
|GE Labeling, Part 1: Let the Free Market Decide|
Commentary (footnotes appear below commentary)
One argument used
to resist GMO/GE (Genetically Modified Organism / Genetically Engineered)
labeling sounds an awful lot like Nanny-State thinking: "We must not allow
labeling of GMOs because, given a choice, people would make the wrong
Poor silly foolish misguided
How lucky we are to have giant
Corporations and the Government making the right choices for us, since we are incapable
of deciding for ourselves.
I don't have that much faith in Corporations, or the Government.
would rather make my own choices. So
would 87 percent of Americans polled.
On February 15 the New York Times published
a column calling for GMO labeling, citing the above poll.(1) A week later, Forbes published a column
insisting that we must not have GMO labeling. Why? Because then people would avoid such
Take a moment to absorb that interesting
proposition, from a magazine which is supposed to be about business and
economics. Not merely economics, but free
Can there be a "free market" when
consumers are denied the right to make their own choices?
there be a "free market" when taxpayer subsidies are used to shore up a product
which consumers don’t want to buy?
GMO crops would have no place in an agriculture economy based on
sound, free-market principles. As in, cost of production should not
exceed market-value of end-product.
FACT: GMO crops cost more to grow than they are worth.
American taxpayers make up the difference, through
farm subsidies, most of which are issued to recipients beloved by
Corporate Ag. (Only a tiny percentage of subsidies are paid to organic
farmers, one reason why organic costs more.)
Currently, the commodity-crop system is
rigged to push the more expensive (and therefore more profitable to the selling corporation) GMO seeds. (4)
And since many GMO crops are
designed to encourage increased use of herbicide, GMOs also generate more
profit for herbicide sellers (often the same company that sells the
And that, ladies and gents, is the reason GMOs are being pushed down our unwilling throats.
Everything else ("feeding the world," "higher
yields," etc) is just smoke and mirrors, the product of bazillion-dollar
PR campaigns that harken back to the days when Big Tobacco spent
umpteen millions to pooh-pooh the possibility of any link between smoking
and cancer. (6)
The rigged commodity-crop system has
existed for generations, originally created to channel agriculture profits away
from farmers and into the pockets of middle-men and Wall Street. Today, with the system rigged to push GMOs,
biotech and petrochemical industries are the big winners. Farmers, consumers
and the whole concept of free enterprise continue to be the
Its not just here in America that GMO crops cost more to
grow than they are worth. In much of the
developed-world, they are worth nothing.
Many developed nations bar growing or import of GMO crops. (Farmers in California’s
Imperial Valley are so afraid of losing their
overseas market that they have begged Monsanto to keep GE alfalfa out of their
So, how-what-when-where-why would anyone
grow GMO crops, if they really cost more to produce than they are worth?
Taxpayers make up the difference.
In short, GMO crops are Welfare Crops.
In a true free market, we’d be growing more
crops that have higher consumer demand. That means non-GMO and
organic. Don’t take my word for it. Search the internet on keywords non-GMO
premiums and see for yourself.
High premiums (10-20% above CBOT – Chicago Board of Trade)
are paid for non-GMOs (even non-organic non-GMOs). And prices paid for organic soy and
corn are often twice (or more) what is paid for GMO soy and corn. (9) Why?
Because these are products that
consumers value the most.
If Corporate Agriculture were not rigged
to be so anti-free-market, no one would plant GMOs.
- 87 percent
of consumers polled reject the Nanny-State approach.
- 87 percent want GMOs to be labeled.
- 87 percent
want the right to choose.
If that leads to the collapse of the
artificially-shored-up, taxpayer-subsidy-reliant GMO industry, so be it.
Market will have spoken.
(1) New York Times:
Why Arent GMO foods Labeled?
(2) Forbes: Warning
Labels on NYT columns
btw – Forbes
column author Henry Miller may not be the objective "rationalist" he
claims to be -- he neglected to mention that he is one of the vast army
of what some (charitably) call "professional GMO cheerleaders" – you can
look him up alphabetically on GM Watch’s extensive
“GMO Mythmakers” list: http://www.gmwatch.org/myth-makers-a
(3) USDA Economic
Research Service: Commodity Crops, Costs and Returns
80 percent of Farm
Bill subsidies are paid to fewer than 10 percent of farmers, primarily large
operations growing GMO crops.
Another way taxpayer money underwrites
that unwanted surplus GMO crops are dumped on third world nations as
"food aid" – paid for by taxpayers, of course, money that goes straight
wallets into the pockets of Corporate Ag. In
short, Big Ag's GMO-stacked-deck is being subsidized by taxpayers at BOTH ends – the growing, and
(American-taxpayer-funded) "gifts" to third-world nations
of "free" corn (as one example), are driving third-world farmers to
bankruptcy (it's hard to sell your locally grown crop when you are
competing against "free" American corn being given away by the
truckload). Driving third-world farmers to bankruptcy is another way
Corporate Ag is
taking over the world market and becoming the only food game on the
if that doesn’t scare the willies out of you, what will..?
(4) Failure to Yield – research published by Union of
Concerned Scientists – April 2009, see page 14 footnote #5 http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf
In our own words:
farmers in a particular area used to grow the highest yielding corn variety, which
we’ll call A. Biotech Giant buys out
the company that used to sell corn variety A and uses A to create a
patented GE version, GE-A. Now, if farmers want to grow A they must buy GE-A because Biotech Giant took conventional A off the market. You cannot buy original A at any
price. Consumer demand has nothing to do with it. Your only choice is to either buy
varieties that yield less than A, or else buy the new GE-A. All the farmers in 50 states could march on Washington demanding
their old beloved A back and it would not matter. Biotech Giant owns A and Biotech Giant
chose to remove A from the market. "If
you want to grow A," sneers Biotech Giant, "you must buy our patented GE-A." So much for a free market approach.
The deck is
additionally stacked against farmers by the commodity crop buyers, who just
happen to be (in many cases) the same companies that sell the seeds. They say, "We won’t buy your crop unless you
first buy our seed." (Commodity
crops are sold by the harvest – enough to fill silos changing hands in a single
sale. Farmers Markets or any kind of direct
farmer-to-consumer sales are not an option.
The number of buyers prepared to purchase an entire harvest is very
small; consequently, the buying corporations hold all the cards in a game rigged to keep the farmers borderline-broke.)
Whatever the commodity crop system represents, it does NOT represent
anything remotely resembling a "free market."
the farmer’s pain is that most of the new patented GE varieties the farmer must
buy require plentiful use of expensive herbicides (frequently sold by the same
company that sells the farmer the seeds, which is often the same company that buys the resulting crop.) Could the deck be any more stacked against the farmer?
(5) More herbicide use reported on genetically modified crops:
Monsanto sells GMO seeds designed to withstand its herbicide Roundup, which in
turn increases sale of Roundup.
Failure to Yield http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/failure-to-yield.pdf
Biotechnology and Sustainable Development – October
2010 Findings from
the UN-led International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and
Technology for Development
GM Soy: Sustainable? Responsible? Sept 2010
"Impacts of Genetically Engineered
Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years" November 2009 Author(s): Charles Benbrook, Ph.D.
GMO Myths (Golden Rice,
Giant Sweet Potatoes, etc -- the truth behind the corporate PR spin): http://www.gmwatch.org/gm-myths
GMO’s PR Army - Mythmakers
A-Z over 300 individuals and groups
laboring on behalf of pushing GMO’s http://www.gmwatch.org/myth-makers-a
(7) Recommended good read: PRAIRIE FIRE
Prairie Fire by Dan Armstrong.
Part political thriller, part
history of farming in America
– though it is a novel, the research into crop economics and the world
commodity market is solid, and adds fascinating depth to a ripping good read)
(8) St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis being home of
(9) Full researched report
will be published here soon, but in meantime, seriously, google non-gmo
premiums and see for yourself.