Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Authoritarians: Monsanto In India: Meet The New Boss – Same As The Old Boss?

Big Brother Is With Us, We Are Just Cogs In A Machine


Hostage to neoliberal capitalism

Hundreds of thousands of farmers in India have taken their lives since 1997 and many more are experiencing economic distress or have left farming as a result of debt, a shift to (GM) cash crops and economic liberalisation. Facilitated by the WTO and the US-India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, there is a deliberate strategy to make agriculture financially non-viable for India’s small farms, to get most farmers out of farming and to impose the World Bank sanctioned model of agriculture. The aim is to replace current structures with a system of industrial (GM) agriculture suited to the needs of Western agribusiness, food processing and retail concerns.

If you want to see the kinds of eventual impact this could have, look no further than what has happened in Mexico on the back of NAFTA, in terms of rising food insecurity, bad health and poisoned agriculture (not to mention a devastated economy with former workers driven into the arms of drug cartels to make a living).

The opening up of India to foreign capital is supported by rhetoric about increasing agricultural efficiency, creating jobs and boosting GDP growth. This jargon is used to try to convince the public that an increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a relative few – via, for instance, deregulations, privatisations and lower labour and environmental protection standards – is for their own benefit because it is good for ‘growth’.

We can already see the outcome of these policies across the world: the increasing power of unaccountable financial institutions, record profits and massive increases in wealth for elite interests and, for the rest, disempowerment, mass surveillance, austerity, job losses, the erosion of rights, weak unions, cuts to public services, environmental degradation, spiraling national debt and opaque, corrupt trade deals, such as TTIP, CETA, RCEP (affecting India) and TPA.


hog said...

reaches a bit too far into the anti-industrialist conspiracy theory world of anti-GM/anti-processed food, and hangs on to a romanticized libertarian impression of subsistence farming.

Tom Hickey said...

@ hog

Perhaps true, but I saw grown men cry in Iowa when the family farms were wiped out by agribusiness in the Eighties.

Sure they could be retrained and repurposed, but they lost their traditional way of life. How do you make up for that, or are they just a casualty of "progress"?