The Case for Nationalizing Monsanto

Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity.

Capitalism fails in two situations: monopoly and state-capital cronyism. Monopoly extinguishes competition and that effectively extinguishes capitalism.

When the elites of the state and private capital collude, i.e. crony capitalism, the few gain power and wealth at the expense of the many.

The state (broadly speaking, government) fails when it serves the few at the expense of the many, while claiming to serve the interests of the many. The state only fulfills its purpose when it serves the interests of the many at the expense of the few who control the majority of the political power and private wealth.

Monsanto is the epitome of monopoly and crony-state collusion. But Monsanto’s grip is not only on the throat of the nation– through its monopoly on seeds that it enforces globally, its grip is strangling the entire world.

Monopolies on food, energy and water (what I term the FEW resources) are not like monopolies on discretionary goods and services. People have to pay whatever the monopoly charges, as substitutes are either unavailable, very expensive or under the control of the same cartel/quasi-monopoly.

Before Monsanto extended its grip as the state-enforced seed monopoly, state universities and extension services developed seed strains and provided the seeds for a nominal cost. Over time, this publicly owned and managed system of providing low-cost seeds has eroded under pressure from for-profit private firms such as Monsanto and the benign neglect of a government that has been captured by private interests and self-serving elites.

The supposed benefits of costly monopoly-developed GMO seeds is increasingly being questioned: Plant Breeding vs. GMOs: Conventional Methods Lead the Way in Responding to Climate Change.

The rapid advance of gene sequencing is opening new doors for much quicker development of conventional plant breeding techniques that require no genetic modification (GMO).

If the American people wanted to bestow a gift to the world that would be valued by billions of people yet would cost the American citizenry a ridiculously modest sum, it would be to nationalize Monsanto and provide its seed products for free. To do this requires letting go of all the self-serving neoliberal fantasies that crony-capitalists propagandize to protect their monopolies: for example, only the profit motive drives innovation, so only private companies can supply the world with advanced seeds.

All this propaganda boils down to defending monopoly and cronyism as capitalism–The Big Lie of all monopolists and crony-capitalists. This was the reason given for privatizing publicly owned utilities that are then transformed into highly profitable monopolies–the precise opposite of capitalism’s primary engine of innovation.

Monsanto is worth around $57 billion. Compare this to the Federal debt of $18 trillion, or the full lifecycle cost of the bloated F-35 fighter aircraft program, which weighs in at $1 trillion. We should also compare $60 billion with the $16.8 trillion that the Federal Reserve loaned the world’s too big to jail banks.

Ridding the world of Monsanto via a state buy-out would be a boon to humanity, and doing so for a mere $57 billion would be a bargain–especially when you consider the $3 trillion the state has squandered on endless wars of choice and the trillions of dollars the Federal Reserve and the government have squandered propping up the self-serving, parasitic cartel of too big to jail banks.

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  • nick quinlan

    That is too logical of a move to ever be implemented.

    • Southern

      On the contrary,I don’t find it logical, I find it rather absurd to reward the likes of Monsanto for what they’ve done to nature with their frankenfoods.
      The Monsanto canteen only serves non GMO foods which say’s quite a lot about how little faith they have in their own products, lets buy them out……………………………………………………….NOT.
      There are some trade agreements in existence which require that member nations make their farmers grow GM crops, real improvement follows the cancelling of these free trade agreements and last but not least for nations to be allowed to create their own currency.

  • diogenes

    This is a great idea. And, why stop with Monsanto? Let’s nationalize and rationalize the entire military industrial complex and go back to paying for a sane defense for Americans rather than an international empire for Wall Street.

  • Lynn Walker

    Buy a useless company? Monsanto provides no beneficial purpose, period. It should have it’s corporate privileges revoked and the company effectively put out of business.

    • Southern

      Watch it, I find myself in agreement with you.

  • Robert Barsocchini

    So many brilliantly succinct lines in this piece.

  • Southern

    I object to the idea of buying out Monsatan and the likes – They should simply be ordered to stop operating and their assets confiscated.
    Imagine the poorest half of the planet pooling their resources and buying out the richest 80 people on the planet, even though its theoretically possible it’s hardly practical to reward the elite for all the pain and suffering they’ve caused, like wise for Monsatan and Dupond etc, they should not be rewarded for mucking with nature, they should be punished for what they’ve done.