January 18, 2018
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What a breath of fresh air to see a rotten apple called a rotten apple !
The writer is Jim Boulter , current president of Comox Valley Nature.
This excerpt is the President’s Comments in the Jan 2018 CVN newsletter.
Ref #3 about the non-legal basis of maximizing shareholders returns is worth reading.
I tend to be quite ambivalent when it comes to GMO food supplies like the salmon post above. Maybe it is just my suspicious and cynical nature, but I feel that the food industry seems to be benefitting from two things, which are diametrically opposed. On the one hand, the industry considers their products so safe that no real, long term research efforts are needed to prove this fact, on the other hand these same products are so unique they get to be patented, copyrighted and licensed out. What research does get done is typically in-house, and therefore subject to at least the appearance of bias. When outsiders like the general public or journalists try to gain insight into the process, the industry uses lawyers to make sure that “proprietary information” is not released.
To borrow a phrase from Joseph Stieglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, these issues represent a “perverse incentive”: the top employees of these companies and their Board of Directors cannot be held personally responsible for the decisions they make, but they benefit directly from those decisions in the form of higher pay and stock options. All upside, with no downside. Look at Chemie Grunethal, the company that produced thalidomide 1, for example. A half a century later, the company has still not suffered any economic or legal repercussions for selling a woefully under-tested product to pregnant women as a sleeping and anti-nausea tonic. Can we expect any less from Monsanto and its cronies?
Normally I do not have much in the way of solutions, but this time I do have a couple suggestions on how this can be changed.
The first is open, independent, and long-term animal testing of any GMO product designed to be eaten.
The second is to remove the ability of companies to have court decisions “sealed” so each additional victim has to re-try the case, as was done in the Ford Pinto 2 scandal.
A third thing would be to make people responsible for the “bad decisions” personally responsible. Ford for example, literally got away with murder with no repercussions.
The fourth thing that comes to mind is the supposed legal requirement that corporations act to maximize 3 the shareholders returns, which it turns out has no basis in law.
In the meantime, and in view of the industries reluctance to have their products labeled as GMO 4, I suppose we will have to hope that those suppliers who avoid GMO label their products as non-GMO. Given my philosophy of “I don’t plan to have an accident, but I always wear my seatbelt”, maybe I will stay cautious and avoid GMO whenever it is known to me. Unlike the big corporations I cannot have my (GMO) cake and eat it too.
4) Opposition to I-522 (Washington State) came primarily from large chemical corporations (Monsanto Company, DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agro-Sciences LLC, and Bayer Crop-Science), and organizations such as Washington Friends of Farms and Forests, Northwest Food Processors, Washington Association of Wheat Growers, the Washington State Farm Bureau and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, who rallied and mounted a $46 million campaign via Nestle SA, General Mills Inc., Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc. to defeat the initiative. These large donations have reportedly “shattered” previous fundraising records against any other initiative, a full month ahead of the election. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Initiative_522_(2012)#Opposition