by James Corbett, The International Forecaster:
If you had told someone a few decades ago that by 2016 the company that brought aspirin to the world and the company that brought Agent Orange to Vietnam were going to team up to control a quarter of the world’s food supply, chances are you would have been labeled a loony.
Unless your name was Robert B. Shapiro. He was CEO of Monsanto from 1995 to 2000, and in 1999 he told Business Week that the company’s goal was to wed “three of the largest industries in the world–agriculture, food and health–that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.”
With this week’s announcement that Bayer had finally succeeded in its quest to acquire Monsanto, it is hard to deny that Shapiro’s vision has been realized. Too bad for all of us that that vision is a nightmare.
The Bayer-Monsanto merger (as James Evan Pilato and I discussed on this week’s New World Next Week) is turning heads, and rightfully so. Clocking in at $66 billion, or $128 per share, it is the largest cash takeover bid in history. It also combines Bayer and Monsanto’s shares of the world seed market (3% and 26% respectively) and their share of the agrochemical market (15% and 8% respectively) with Bayer’s pharmaceutical division to create the single largest player in Shapiro’s quickly-materializing “agriculture/food/health” industry.
But Bayer and Monsanto are not the only ones playing this game. Major competitors DuPont and Dow are in the midst of a merger that is expected to create a $130 billion behemoth when the dust settles. China National Chemical Corp.’s $43 billion takeover bid for seed giant Syngenta AG was approved by US regulators last month. And just like that, the number of companies presiding over the global supply of (increasingly genetically modified) seeds and agrochemicals is about to be cut in half.
But in fact, as I explained in “How Big Oil Conquered the World,” even the current agrochemical industry has to be seen in its historical context as a fusion of the petrochemical fertilizer giants (Dupont, Dow, Hercules Powder and other businesses in the Standard Oil orbit) with the “ABCD” seed cartel of Archer Daniels Midand, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus. These previously separate fields were gradually consolidated under the flag of “agribusiness,” itself developed at Harvard Business School in the 1950s with the help of research conducted by Wassily Leontief for the Rockefeller Foundation.
Then with the advancement of GMO technology in the 1980s and 1990s (again with considerable help from the Rockefellers and other oiligarchical interests), new opportunities for consolidation presented themselves. Seeds used to be sold by seed companies, and fertilizers and herbicides used to be sold by chemical companies. But then the GMO “revolution” came along and all of these companies spun off “biotech” branches to genetically engineer seeds. That in turn opened up opportunities to create GMO seed strains that are tailored to work with patented herbicides and fertilizers. The combination of GMO seeds and specially tailored agrochemicals has been especially lucrative for the companies at the top of this food chain (pardon the pun), and Monsanto was the first to capitalize on those synergies, winning regulatory approval for its first Roundup Ready soybeans in 1994.
The goal of this latest round of biotech/seed/agrochemical mergers, like the agribusiness consolidation before it, is two-fold: to increase market share, cut overhead, and increase profits; and to put control of the world’s food supply in the hands of a very few globalist insiders.
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