Time for New Regulation

Published on: 03:06AM Jan 25, 2010
A cloud has gathered all the Atlantic way from the United States to China. It is manna for prosumers but poison for corporations in the worst molds of Wall Street deceit. All stakeholders in the world of farming must either adapt ot perish. Consider the following events, each of which is unprecedented, spatially distanced, but essentially similar at their cores.

1. A court, in the template of Al Capone's conviction, has had the courageous wisdom, to question the clearance for sale of a patented pesticide, touted vicariously and in unbecoming haste, with utter disregard for the most treasured of natural processes-pollination. The concerned international corporation has run such unchallenged writ over the world pesticide scene until now, that it has brazenly peddled pesticides banned in its own home country in countries where regulators are its minions.

2. Vital public safety information has traditionally been hidden under the voluptuous skirts of intellectual property protection. Regulators with consciences of titanium have ruthlessly suppressed toxicology information in their collective custody, on the flimsy grounds of proprietary ownership. I think President Obama could walk away with a Nobel Prize for Food Safety with just this one landmark move.  

3. Historians may well record the nexus between government and big business as a defining feature of the dying 20th century embers. It may have taken all of a decade for an elected representative of the people to question a controversial new technology that vested interests seek to foist on poorly-informed but trusting prosumers, but the breath of fresh air is no less welcome for the devastated lungs of the exploited and impoverished.  

4. Patent rights hide extravagant and anti-social profit margins. The pharmaceutical mafia have long burdened public health systems with unbridled pricing powers for their inventions, on the basis of specious arguments about R&D costs. Their agrochemical clones have followed in respectful suit, with prosumers as their hapless victims. Now, a new brand of entrepreneurs has breached these fortresses of utterly selfish intrigue.

The farming community, agri-input dealers, and urban consumers cannot escape their shares of blame for countenancing business models with medieval cruelty. However, it would be more productive to join forces, and work towards truthful and global emancipation. This is not easy to do in the midst of mundane responsibilities to grow, deliver, and use safe and sustainable food, fiber, and biological energy, but we can use the following paraphrased version of what Mahatma Gandhi has said:

Think of the poorest person you have ever seen and ask if your next act will be of any use to him.