In February, India initiated an antitrust investigation into Monsanto’s practices around cotton seeds and their control and pricing. In response, Monsanto lowered the price somewhat for a little relief for Indians hard-pressed farmers. The investigation continues.
President Obama came into office 7 years ago claiming he would enforce antitrust laws in this country, and an ongoing investigation by several states turned into a Department of Justice investigation with good press for the President. Unfortunately, DOJ promptly narrowed the states’ broad investigation to a narrow focus on Monsanto’s licensing agreements with seed breeders and retailers, ignoring larger antitrust issues.
As in India, Monsanto promptly rewrote the offending agreements and DOJ closed its 3 year investigation in 2012 with no brod investigation and no public announcement. Monsanto spent a whopping $6 million for “lobbying” in 2012. Imagine what return on investment they expected on $6 million dollars.
It begs the question of who is running the show in this country. Since the US government is clearly not regulating for the public good, what are they doing then? Extorting money from businesses they threaten for personal gain? These corporations are barely taxed, that money would go into the public coffers. Lobbying money is cheaper than taxes, but goes into private pockets.
Monsanto then launched a massive campaign to buy out US seed companies. In the 1990s this country had about 300 independent seed companies, there are now less than 100. Monsanto bought up about half of them and wants to either buy or push out the rest.
Those offending agreements are no longer necessary because Monsanto owns these businesses and does as it pleases with our food supply.
The pattern is similar in India. Monsanto may have purchased a get out of jail free card by reducing the price of cotton seeds. How much will Bill Gates and Monsanto spend on “lobbying” in India? What price will they exact?