Genetically Modified (GM) stuff doesn’t bother me at all. I love medical technology and more efficient ag production and prettier flowers. Trillions of meals have been consumed without any adverse health effects since GM crops went commercial in the late 1990s. I am an admirer of Norman Borlaug and the Green Revolution.
In response to “just label it” initiatives, I have recommended that big food companies like Kraft and Nestle do just that! As they’ve done with peanut allergy concerns, I say just slap a label on everything they produce which says, “This product contains or may contain traces of crops produced with GMO technology,” or the like!
Today, though, in perusing several good blog posts (I love OregonGreen!) on this weekend’s global “March Against Monsanto,” I had my eyes opened when I read this comment:
I agree not- all bio-tech is bad ,most of the foods that we eat are GMO’s but we would like them to be labeled as such and to have the ability to sue if Monsanto and their competitors harm us through the GMO’s Or our children.
It dawned on me that this whole labeling movement is a Trojan Horse… just one more way of getting a toe in the door in an incremental effort at tearing down all things industrial. It matters not whether one “proves” (or fails to prove, as the case may be!) damage from GM products. What matters is increased ability to name names in a law suit that defendants must spend lots of money to defend, regardless of facts. It enhances the capacity to inflict “death by 1,000 cuts.”
While we’re here, I might as well discuss some other thoughts (which seem to agitate both sides of this issue!) with you. 🙂
I criticize Monsanto. When they defend their products on the basis of climate change alarmism…when they imply that the use of chemicals in agricultural production must decrease…when they claim they are defenders of the environment rather proudly embracing the profit motive…when they advance more regulation and Government involvement so that they can boast that they are in compliance with rigorous regulatory standards… they damage true capitalism and endanger all of the wonderful benefits that a free market system delivers.
This paragraph from Fancy Beans, for example, could have come straight from Monsanto:
We have big problems. We need to drastically reduce our carbon [sic] emissions and agriculture is a big source of them — a farmer who can reduce their use of gasoline and produce the same amount of food should be rewarded, even if she uses “Monsanto GMO seeds”. We need farms that support living wages for all their workers — if that means food production is more expensive, how will we make sure poor kids still eat nutritious and balanced diets? We need better regulations of fertilizer and pesticide runoffs — and farmers need a way to make more money when they do better than a competitor at reducing those impacts. We need more research on how to achieve all these goals sustainably and fairly and we don’t achieve that by demonizing scientists at agriculture universities because (unsurprisingly) they are funded occasionally by Monsanto.
It is precicely these types of arguments based on flawed logic and shaky science that take us away from improving productivity and efficiency — which is good for profitability and therefore good for society, the environment and “sustainability.”
We need to drastically reduce our carbon [sic] emissions…
Carbon dioxide emissions are not bad for the environment. In fact, carbon dioxide is plant food. We are now at 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere. Historically, that is very low. Below 150 ppm, most plants cease to live. Greenhouse operators add CO2 for enhanced plant growth. Worrying about CO2 at 400 ppm is like being concerned that your gas tank is going to overflow when you’ve filled it up to 1/8 of its capacity.
We need better regulations of fertilizer and pesticide runoffs — and farmers need a way to make more money when they do better than a competitor at reducing those impacts.
No, we do not need more corruptible government regulations. This is self-regulating! Farmers already make more money when they do better than a competitor at reducing runoff! Thanks to the profit motive, farmers are very good at making sure that their plants are the users of these high-dollar products as opposed to them being wasted by running off. This problem is really only a problem in green-lawn-dense cities when fertilizer and pesticides are applied at very high rates without significant marginal monetary concern (i.e., profitability does not come into the decision-making process). In any case, reports of water pollution from fertilizer and pesticides are grossly exaggerated.
We need more research on how to achieve all these goals sustainably and fairly…
The use of the word “we” has become increasingly alarming to me. Free markets only work on the “I” level. Individuals make many purchasing decisions daily. The aggregate of these individual decisions gives us demand. Farmers, in supplying products that people want, respond to this demand. Both supply and demand change constantly. “We” cannot determine what is fair and sustainable. Every centralized authority who has ever tried has failed miserably. There is no brilliant individual or committee who beats the market in such wisdom.
Monsanto became successful because they created good products that farmers voluntarily chose and choose to purchase — products that improve the bottom line for farmers. With freedom, Monsanto and other companies will continue to innovate and invent and farmers will continue to adapt to ever-changing conditions by adopting a variety of products and technology.
I love ag. I love the personal responsibilty and decision-making that necessarily comes with more freedom.
When we increase the size of government, we make it easier…not harder!…for big established companies like Monsanto to eviscerate their competition. And competition is a very good thing.
In order to continue to feed the world, consumers, retailers, processors, farmers, and ranchers need more freedom, not more laws and regulations.