There is an enlightening article in the August issue of Scientific American that discusses the “rights” of agritech companies such as Monsanto, Pioneer and Syngenta. In order to purchase genetically modified seeds, a customer must sign an agreement which forbids the buyer from doing any independent research. This means that scientists cannot test these genetically modified seeds to see whether the genetically modified crops cause harm to the environment or the animals and humans which they feed. In fact, the only research pieces on these genetically modified crops that see the light of day are the ones that paint a positive picture of the product and are blessed by the agritech company itself; all else is blocked from research publications.
The corruption that causes a massive black hole such as the agritech intellectual property “rights” is mind-blowing. Intellectual property protected by patents is meant for one thing only: to allow those who spent time and effort in developing a new technology the ability to recoup expenses and make a profit off of their labor. In fact, as soon as a patent is issued the technology generally becomes public knowledge as the patent with a detailed description of the invention now resides in the public domain. The only reasons that an agritech company would want to have their level of smothering rights over their genetically modified crops is because A) their invention is weak and could easily be mimicked or surpassed with subtle tweaks and/or B) they want to hide any negative effects caused by genetically modified crops. It’s probably a smattering of both.
In a more insidious “Pinky and the Brain” sort of way, doesn’t the company who controls the world’s food supply effectively control the world?