Genetic modifications to seed allows industrial giants like Monsanto to corner the market on plant products like seeds that historically are not patentable. Genetic modification allows patenting, and Monsanto has around 70 patent attorney enforcers.
Market economies are interesting things, because they run on intrinsic value, which is easily understood. The part that is less understood is perceived value that is generated by advertising. Perceived value is a claim made to convince someone to conflate the claimed value with the intrinsic value of an item.
This is now a massive industry complete with psychological profiling, peer pressure, the best art and literature of our time, and so on. It created human beings as consuming machines. Amazing stuff.
In contrast, entities like the federal government through its US Patent and Trademark Office banned patenting natural life forms like seeds, so that seeds were always open for all to use and anyone could take a seed and grow their own food.
Monsanto and other members of the market economy could sell seeds but never corner the market. The poorest people could collect their own seeds and keep their limited resources for things with intrinsic value that they could not produce themselves. Nice, but it keeps prices down.
Seed companies worked on perceived value… rare species, new varieties, and so on.
Monsanto has found a way to corner the food market through genetic engineering of seeds. It is mostly traditional hype… the seeds are claimed to be better. The underlying driver is that the seeds can be patented and not reproduced naturally. Fine, there are other seeds, right? If your crop gets contaminated by Monsanto seeds, there are gene markers to prove it and a court finds for Monsanto.
Genetic modification includes a process called cytoplasmic male sterility, which ensures that in a few generations the seeds cannot reproduce because male sterility is passed through the mother. Another lock down on natural plant propagation.
Every country has laws against patenting natural seed, and only about 30 countries have banned genetically modified seeds with their male sterility and bizarre genetic additions. Monsanto has made an end run around the intent of those patent laws through advances in science that violate the spirit of those laws but not the letter of the laws. After all, seeds made in a laboratory instead of by a plant are not natural and can be patented. They have cornered the US market, since 95 percent of seeds sold in the US are Monsanto seeds.
The US has laws against monopoly too. Imagine that. Inconsistent with the circular economy that is natural life on this planet, but consistent with a market economy. Monsanto has cornered the market.