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### #13Luckless  Members

Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:57 AM

edit: Monsanto too. Monsanto is really not as bad as it's made out to be. People think they just go around suing farmers for shits and giggles, but afaik they've never lost a case and they're all publicly available. The affect they've had on the food supply is a tremendous boon a lot of people take totally for granted.

Isn't this the company that ended up settling with a number of smaller farmers who were forced under due to legal fees, after their seed crops were contaminated by modified seed spreading naturally from neighboring farmland?

It is kind of like inventing a new kind of fire, getting a patent on it, setting your yard ablaze, and then suing your neighbor when their house burns down because they 'stole' your new fire.

But really, my problem isn't with the companies pulling BS like that, but rather with the court and legal system that supports such things.

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### #14way2lazy2care  Members

Posted 11 March 2013 - 11:37 AM

Isn't this the company that ended up settling with a number of smaller farmers who were forced under due to legal fees, after their seed crops were contaminated by modified seed spreading naturally from neighboring farmland?

Most of my knowledge is second hand, but to my knowledge they've only really sued when the farmer's have taken active action to procuring on some fashion Monsanto seeds without paying for them or in violation of contracts they have previously signed.

A quick google has this site, admittedly biased because it is Monsanto's, but I don't see anything glaringly incorrect about it.

The problem is that a lot of the farmers used the 'contamination' defense when the reality was that they knowingly got contaminated or bought seed they knew was contaminated, planted it, then sprayed it all with roundup in order to kill all the non-Monsanto seed, and collected the remaining seed to reuse. It's essentially the agriculture equivalent of online piracy.

### #15wintertime  Members

Posted 11 March 2013 - 02:38 PM

Oh please, dont start comparing poor 3rd world farmers who since beginning of time replanted the seeds that had grown on their land by their work to pirates, just because that company patented plants which is crazy when you think about how everything of such plants comes from nature and they just insert a single gene into it to make it resistant to their poison that makes the soil unusable for anything else so those poor people are trapped.

### #16Khaiy  Members

Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:33 PM

Oh please, dont start comparing poor 3rd world farmers who since beginning of time replanted the seeds that had grown on their land by their work to pirates, just because that company patented plants which is crazy when you think about how everything of such plants comes from nature and they just insert a single gene into it to make it resistant to their poison that makes the soil unusable for anything else so those poor people are trapped.

Farmers can keep replanting naturally husbanded seeds for as long as they like. They lose out on lots of modern agricultural practices, like pesticides, which dramatically increase the amount that can be harvested (though there are other, bad effects from a lot of modern practices). There are also seeds that grow better in poorer soils and under worse conditions, which farmers are also free not to use.

And "just insert[ing] a single gene" is the culmination of billions of dollars of research and half a century of dedicated study, and is still an inadequate description of the work. That's worth a patent. Dickish as they often are at enforcing their patents, the reproductive capacity of plants means that without patents Monsanto would go under immediately.

I'm not saying that Monsanto's a great company or that they're super cool to their customers. But a lot of criticism that they draw I find to be focused on the least objectionable things that they do.

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### #17way2lazy2care  Members

Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:53 PM

Oh please, dont start comparing poor 3rd world farmers who since beginning of time replanted the seeds that had grown on their land by their work to pirates, just because that company patented plants which is crazy when you think about how everything of such plants comes from nature and they just insert a single gene into it to make it resistant to their poison that makes the soil unusable for anything else so those poor people are trapped.

3rd world farmers? Monsanto likely doesn't give half a crap about them. It's the large production farms they care about.

And no it's pretty much exactly like online piracy. You aren't actively taking something from someone. You are copying it and using it without their permission. It's pretty much identical.

### #18Hodgman  Moderators

Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:04 PM

Oh yeah, I didn't mean to imply that Coke's 1st world problems compare at all to their death squads -- just adding that they are also evil in the parts of the world where they can't get away with murder, and where evil is measured on a different scale.

BTW, Fanta is probably the best thing that came out of the Nazis!

You are copying it and using it without their permission. It's pretty much identical.

Except in one case we're talking about duplicating a creative work within a system where humans have decided to reconcile capitalism the need to reward people who propagate culture, and the other case we're talking about a living being that is designed to reproduce by it's very living nature. Pretending that they're at all comparable requires you to completely disconnect yourself from reality.

Selling someone a dog and suing them when it has puppies using copyright law is absurd. Refusing to sell someone a dog unless you first remove it's reproductive organs is a pragmatic solution to achieve the same means, but is morally questionable.

Doing the same with plants -- removing their ability to reproduce naturally just so that farmers are dependent on buying your seeds, so that you have a viable business model is also morally questionable.

.....means that without patents Monsanto would go under immediately

I don't find "argument via capitalism" to be valid in the slightest.
The statement "It's ok to do this because otherwise capitalist enterprise would collapse" isn't at all valid. It's an argument against capitalism, not an argument for the moral validity of the activity in question.

Edited by Hodgman, 11 March 2013 - 10:10 PM.

### #19Khaiy  Members

Posted 12 March 2013 - 12:01 AM

I don't find "argument via capitalism" to be valid in the slightest.
The statement "It's ok to do this because otherwise capitalist enterprise would collapse" isn't at all valid. It's an argument against capitalism, not an argument for the moral validity of the activity in question.

*shrug*

It's certainly an area that's ripe for serious philosophical debate. However, if the capitalist end weren't there, the products wouldn't exist. Farmers are never required to use a single Monsanto seed, ever. It's not like the world food supply would collapse without them, though there would be somewhat less food and it would therefore be more expensive. If you want a world with no Monsanto-style agricultural results, that's a totally defensible position. I personally don't mind living in a world with Monsanto in the market, particularly because they don't have any sort of a monopoly or oligopoly on seed, just their special deluxe seeds.

There are some more extractive elements to Monsanto's business, specifically their pesticide/herbicide and pesticide/herbicide resistance lines of products. Farmers aren't required to buy those either, and Monsanto may be riding a short wave with them anyways. What Monsanto has not done, but a lot of people seem to imagine they have, is to corner the market for seeds, make no genetic changes other than to make them non-reproductive, and then make only the modified seeds available in perpetuity to extract massive rents.

I personally like publicly funded research for agriculture (in Minnesota, where I live, our state university has been incredibly successful in this field and it has amply paid back the investments). It's not much cheaper, but it's not as rapacious. The Monsanto bargain doesn't seem like a good one to me, and if I owned a farm I doubt I would take it. But for those who would, it doesn't seem fundamentally unreasonable to me that a person can freely choose to engage in a highly restrictive deal to access the fruit of a billion dollars' worth of research. Outside of their designer lines their deals aren't so oppressive, and they aren't the only vendor around.

Edited by Khaiy, 12 March 2013 - 12:03 AM.

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### #20samoth  Members

Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:25 AM

I wonder why people seem to object to Coca Cola, but not to Kraft Foods or Altria. In addition to the usual "exploit" crimes, those not only kill a few hundred people in south America, but millions worldwide every year. And, they do it in a systematic and most vicious way.

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