farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 09:16 am
@Setanta,
But the point is that weve been regulating the sale of the volume of naturally occurring water with respect to its replacement rates only fairly recently. Bottled water companies in the STates must all apply for water ALLOCATIONS to prove that , for their particular bottling plant, they are not "Mining" water. Even in recharge rich areas such allocations are followed. My company has a good history of developing bottled water "Sites and springs" all over. SOme "naturally" carbonated waters , for example, pull their water from one source , because the allocation will allow a good daily yield without drawdown (and they get their carbonation from a totally different "Natural" source maybe even across country)
The conditions in the west, where allocations had been a thing since the 30's they've still wound up mining water and reducing the water in storage over and above its recharge rates. This is why the controls are being sought. "Conservatives", in this case are hardly that. They've felt that basins should allow water mining and that engineering will solve the problem in the future. Kinda stupid thinking IMM
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 09:16 am
@Setanta,
I admit that my knowledge of modern agriculture is rather lacking, to put i mildly. I was under the impression that growing one crop for food, and another crop for seed to plant next years food crop with was the way people have done it for as long as agriculture has existed.
But you seem to take offense at the idea that this corporation is in it for the money, and that they are trying to maneuver into a position of monopoly.

Quote:
As for crops which produce sterile seed, i seriously doubt that you can come up with any evidence that Monsanto does that with an eye to increasing their profits.


Why do they do it then? Like I said, and you guessed, I know little about this.
What about all the reports of farmers living in poverty because they can't grow their own seed, but instead are forced to buy it? Are they lies?
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 09:47 am
@Cyracuz,
even hybrid seeds are rarely "sterile" but they will always revert to "grandparent" types BUT, if they've become part of a GM seed strain, that stays with the hybrids because its in the genome.Many farmers (especially fruit, organic and "grss fed" livestock farmers) are forced to save seed even nore than as an economy. They don't want the Genetic "roundup ready" or "Bt" gene splice within their pollen because that can be taken up by other plants and taken in by feeder cattle.
maintaining "organic certified status" and "organically grown but non certified" status is a bitch for many farmers (Honey growers are also caught up) because of the GM alfalfas that have been naturally induced by growing near fileds of Roundup ready" soybeans and corn. Lots of homey is now produced that has been ultrafiltered so that the FDA cannot "trace" the sources (much honey is smuggled in and much is grown from GM spliced alfalfa and clovers that have been Bt gene affected.

0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 01:14 pm
@Cyracuz,
Quote:
What Monsanto wants to do is produce seed that doesn't give any new seed, so that you cannot get the seed for next year's harvest from this year.

Done already. It was called the "terminator gene" and that poor choice of name + some activism pretty much terminated it... They haven't commercialized the technology ever.

But in France, they recently made it illegal to produce any commercial agricultural produce without buying certified seed from a seed company. And that is a total SHAME, bordering on extortion. So we don't even need terminator genes and Mosanto to make farmers' replanting of their own seed illegal.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Oct, 2013 02:30 pm
@Cyracuz,
I don't "take offense" at the idea that Monsanto is in it for the money. They're a capitalist corporation, and of course they're in it for the money. I'm not taking offense at anything, but i am contemptuous of claims which make them out to be a conscientiously evil organization. Corporations don't do what they do (whether it's Monsanto or any other corporation) because they long to hurt other people, to impoverish them or to keep them in poverty. They simply don't care. Corporate officers have a single duty, and that is to maximize profits to the benefit of the shareholders, which of course also means that it largely benefits those corporate officers. So yes, what they do they do to increase their profits, but no, they don't do it because of any evil disposition to impoverish people or to keep them in poverty. In fact, they would want them to have at least sufficient income to keep buying their products. Otherwise, they don't give a rat's ass, and that's just basic capitalism.

Popular activism can work, and it works through genuine threats to the corporate bottom line. The divestiture of large shareholding bodies, such as universities and retirement funds, from corporations doing business in apartheid-era South Africa is probably the example of the greatest success, and the most internationally dramatic example of this kind of activism. It can work in more modest ways, though, too. A campaign was begun among school children in the United States not to eat tuna from any company which could not show that they used "dolphin-friendly" fishing methods. Activists had been after fishing operations for decades with absolutely no success. However, when kids began coming home and telling the old M & P they didn't want to eat tuna, the companies that market canned tuna immediately sat up and took notice, and began meeting with and negotiating with activists, basically saying "What can we do to make this right with you?" I believe i am correct in saying that the Chicken of the Sea brand was the first to get out front of the competition in public by advertising that their tuna was "dolphin-friendly."

The only way to deal with Monsanto will be to threaten their bottom line. Frankly, i don't think that would be at all easy. People don't take a can or a box off the supermarket shelf, look at it and say "Uh-oh, Monsanto!" and then put it back. I'm sure it's do-able, but i couldn't say how.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Oct, 2013 04:45 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
So yes, what they do they do to increase their profits, but no, they don't do it because of any evil disposition to impoverish people or to keep them in poverty. In fact, they would want them to have at least sufficient income to keep buying their products. Otherwise, they don't give a rat's ass, and that's just basic capitalism.


I realize that. But "evil" and "don't care" are not that far apart in this context. If it was an ideal in capitalism for corporations to take responsibility for the people affected by their conduct, I would be a lot less worried by corporations taking over the world.

Statoil, for instance, in which the government (and by extension the people) of Norway is the major share holder, aren't evil with what they are doing in Canada, in the tar sands. I understand that their motivation for doing what they do is the profit that oil will bring.
The dying of the land and it's people due to pollution they cause is just collateral damage.
It is insane that we accept this.
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 02:40 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I don't "take offense" at the idea that Monsanto is in it for the money. They're a capitalist corporation, and of course they're in it for the money. I'm not taking offense at anything, but i am contemptuous of claims which make them out to be a conscientiously evil organization.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/12/1246610/-Monsanto-A-Beginner-s-Guide-to-the-World-s-Most-Dangerous-Corporation#

Setanta wrote:
Corporations don't do what they do because they long to hurt other people, to impoverish them or to keep them in poverty. They simply don't care. Corporate officers have a single duty, and that is to maximize profits to the benefit of the shareholders, which of course also means that it largely benefits those corporate officers. So yes, what they do they do to increase their profits, but no, they don't do it because of any evil disposition to impoverish people or to keep them in poverty. In fact, they would want them to have at least sufficient income to keep buying their products. Otherwise, they don't give a rat's ass, and that's just basic capitalism.


A lack of genuine sympathy with others, and a singularity of purpose that excludes that sympathy, is a rather convenient definition of evil. Are you proposing that one's [i.e. a person's or a corporation's] original intention/program is more culturally important/significant - history-wise - than the negative affect of the action that results from the same, and that they are therefore absolved of the global consequences. Are one's moral decisions mitigated by profit margins? If you prick corporate officers do they not bleed?

Setanta wrote:
Popular activism can work, and it works through genuine threats to the corporate bottom line. The divestiture of large shareholding bodies, such as universities and retirement funds, from corporations doing business in apartheid-era South Africa is probably the example of the greatest success, and the most internationally dramatic example of this kind of activism. It can work in more modest ways, though, too. A campaign was begun among school children in the United States not to eat tuna from any company which could not show that they used "dolphin-friendly" fishing methods. Activists had been after fishing operations for decades with absolutely no success. However, when kids began coming home and telling the old M & P they didn't want to eat tuna, the companies that market canned tuna immediately sat up and took notice, and began meeting with and negotiating with activists, basically saying "What can we do to make this right with you?" I believe i am correct in saying that the Chicken of the Sea brand was the first to get out front of the competition in public by advertising that their tuna was "dolphin-friendly."


Actually, the "dolphin-free" labeling issue is more of "labeling" or "branding" issue, meaning it impacted tuna advertising, and the regulation thereof, more than international fishing practices, and the regulation thereof . There aren't a whole lot of checks in place to insure that Americans aren't eating dolphins, there are just a whole lot of regulations in place making sure that we don't know that we might be eating dolphins.

Setanta wrote:
The only way to deal with Monsanto will be to threaten their bottom line. Frankly, i don't think that would be at all easy. People don't take a can or a box off the supermarket shelf, look at it and say "Uh-oh, Monsanto!" and then put it back. I'm sure it's do-able, but i couldn't say how.


Actually, there are several ways to threaten Monsanto's bottom line: public boycotts, city permits, etc...there are plenty of ways to challenge a corporation -- as a superficial, social, vaguely-legal entity. If the weight of cooperative social pressure turns against it, a "corporation" will buckle like a belt.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 02:56 am
@Razzleg,
Daily KOS is a political blog, with a progressive or liberal slant to all that they publish. No, i didn't read your article, nor do i intend to. That a corporation is indifferent to the socio-economic effects of their actions is simply a part of capitalism. I have not once said that it "absolves" said corporation of anything. I haven't mentioned the effect of the decisions of individual capitalists at all. I was simply pointing out to Cyracuz that these are the realities of capitalism. I've not said that any corporation or any individual are "evil," or "culpable," nor have i canvassed the morality of the actions of corporations. These are all very subjective terms, and are heavily freighted with the prejudices and preferences of the individuals who use them. To emphasize, i haven't exculpated anyone, nor made any moral judgments, i was just trying to look at capitalism realistically. If you want to sit in judgment, help yourself.

I found it hilarious that on the one hand you dismiss the effort to produce "dolphin friendly" tuna as no more than producing a successful PR campaign in advertising, and yet you turn right around to offer the same tactics as a means of getting at Monsanto. It seems to me that you want to have your rhetorical cake and to eat it as well. I consider the whole of that to have been a very poor performance on your part.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 03:30 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
That a corporation is indifferent to the socio-economic effects of their actions is simply a part of capitalism.


Yes, and similarly, a cancerous tumor will be indifferent to the ill effects it produces on the rest of the system that is your body. It just grows because it can. It's not evil. Would you fight such a cancer, or accept it as a fact of life?

There is a difference between technology and capitalism. Many people think that without capitalism we would lack the motivation to develop our technology. That sentiment actually falls into the category of religious belief, and creates a situation where anyone who speaks against capitalism speaks against progress itself.

As you say, "that a corporation is indifferent to the socio-economic effects of their actions is simply a part of capitalism". If that is indeed the case, capitalism justifies this behavior. It justifies replacing moral considerations with economic ones. It justifies not asking if something is morally right, as long as we ask if it is economically favorable.
So yea, does that sound like a system of economics?
It sounds like much more. The way most people today relate to capitalism, as if it is one of the universe's deep and unshakable truths, gives it religious proportions.
Capitalism is religion, because people use it's guidelines to justify their actions. And it is every bit as cancerous and parasitic as the rest of the religions of the west.
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 03:57 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Daily KOS is a political blog, with a progressive or liberal slant to all that they publish. No, i didn't read your article, nor do i intend to.


Ok, while i suppose that not informing yourself about your interlocutor's perspective may be the best way of encouraging yourself to yell at your fellow conversationalist louder, i'm not sure it's the best way to win an argument.

Setanta wrote:
That a corporation is indifferent to the socio-economic effects of their actions is simply a part of capitalism.


Not necessarily so...right?

Setanta wrote:
I have not once said that it "absolves" said corporation of anything. I haven't mentioned the effect of the decisions of individual capitalists at all. I was simply pointing out to Cyracuz that these are the realities of capitalism. I've not said that any corporation or any individual are "evil," or "culpable," nor have i canvassed the morality of the actions of corporations. These are all very subjective terms, and are heavily freighted with the prejudices and preferences of the individuals who use them. To emphasize, i haven't exculpated anyone, nor made any moral judgments, i was just trying to look at capitalism realistically. If you want to sit in judgment, help yourself.


i will, thanks. "Evil" may appear to be subjective, but "culpability" is not. PS: In a corporation, there is no such thing as an "individual" capitalist.


Setanta wrote:
I found it hilarious that on the one hand you dismiss the effort to produce "dolphin friendly" tuna as no more than producing a successful PR campaign in advertising, and yet you turn right around to offer the same tactics as a means of getting at Monsanto. It seems to me that you want to have your rhetorical cake and to eat it as well. I consider the whole of that to have been a very poor performance on your part.


i have to confess, i have no idea what you're talking about. i'm a little confused when you equate my "argument" that Monsanto is a huge corporation that pretends to be an ecologically sound and share-holder-protective company, and yet it must employ PR firms to avoid public exposure of the practical implications of their finance-based policies in so far as it may have a negative world-wide ecological result.

i would welcome an effort to produce "dolphin free" tuna, i'm just not sure it is happening.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 03:57 am
@Cyracuz,
As i've said, i'm not making moral judgments here. If you wish to do so, help yourself. I've also suggested that there can be effective activism. I'm not convinced by Razzleg's argument on how to deal with Monsanto, but any attempt by activists to reign in corporations whose policies are destructive has my approval.
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 04:00 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

As i've said, i'm not making moral judgments here. If you wish to do so, help yourself. I've also suggested that there can be effective activism. I'm not convinced by Razzleg's argument on how to deal with Monsanto, but any attempt by activists to reign in corporations whose policies are destructive has my approval.


I didn't suggest any way to "deal" with Monsanto...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 04:07 am
@Razzleg,
I haven't yelled at anyone. You certainly want to put a negative slant on all of this. If you want to sit in judgment of me while your sitting in judgment of corporations, help yourself. I suggest that you're trying to pick a fight.

No, a corporation's activities are not necessarily obliged to be destructive of societies and individuals, but as i've already pointed out, they don't really care. Corporate officers are motivated by the bottom line. They are only motivated by socio-economic issues when they look like negatively affecting the bottom line. Culpability is an applicable term only where you can show that a crime had been committed. Good luck with that. As for individuals, i only mentioned that because you had already done so.

You're erecting a huge and flimsy straw man. You didn't claim until now that Monsanto is " . . . a huge corporation that pretends to be an ecologically sound and share-holder-protective company, and yet it must employ PR firms to avoid public exposure of the practical implications of their finance-based policies in so far as it may have a negative world-wide ecological result." I can hardly be accused of having argued against a case you have just now advanced. You spoke of ways in which activism could be deployed against Monsanto, immediately after suggesting that the same tactics had not worked to produce "dolphin friendly" tuna. I found that hilariously ironic.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 04:10 am
@Razzleg,
Razzleg wrote:
I didn't suggest any way to "deal" with Monsanto...


That's a lie . . .

Razzleg wrote:
Actually, there are several ways to threaten Monsanto's bottom line: public boycotts, city permits, etc...there are plenty of ways to challenge a corporation -- as a superficial, social, vaguely-legal entity. If the weight of cooperative social pressure turns against it, a "corporation" will buckle like a belt.


By the way, "buckle like a belt" is a rather silly attempt at a simile. When you buckle a belt, you make it secure. The buckle you wanted is the one in which something begins to collapse.
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:23 am
@Setanta,
I agree. Global activism has already been effective against Monsanto.
Perhaps I am making moral judgments. Or perhaps I am just pointing at the lack of moral consideration elsewhere. Perhaps that in itself is a moral judgment.
I certainly think we would be better off as a species if private corporations, who are slowly coming to own everything, felt some obligation to the people they take it from.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:48 am
@Cyracuz,
I am not particularly devoted to morality. The very idea of it is offensive to me, but that's grist for a different mill. I think that people have the right to take action, or even takes arms against a threat such as the unbridled actions that some corporations undertake. I wouldn't appeal to morality, though--i'd just take the line: "Hey, you can't do that to me, i'm not going to let you." Many of humanity's problems stem from or are exacerbated by apathy, however.
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:50 am
@Cyracuz,
A classic example of sharing came from the East Malling Research Centre, in Kent, England.
Around the time of the great war, research on the humble apple and the growing thereof started at East Malling, and has continued ever since.
One spectacular success was with research into different types of apple rootstock, and great underground tunnels were built so thaf researchers could actually watch ( through an underground window) these roots growing, and map how wide and deep they went.
From this research, several superstar rootstocks were identified, that would limit the grafted top tree to a specific height (easy picking), would encourage heavy cropping and various other desirable growing qualities.

Of course, being British and naive, as usual with most of our discoveries, we gave these rootstocks to the world, the most popular (by far) being the M9 root.
The M9 rootstock is now used pretty much everywhere around the world, and has even transformed some countries crop yield so much, we in the UK are now being regularly swamped with cheap imports.
So much so, that a fair portion of our ancient Kentish apple orchards have been ripped up.
So there is a slight downside to sometimes being generous with new plant technology, as it can come back and bite one on the bum.
If only East Malling had somehow copyrighted or patented the M9 at the time, say £1 a root planted in today's terms, I wonder how many billions
they would have raised.

There has to be a fair balance.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 06:56 am
@Cyracuz,
Many of us here have indicated that while we are capitalists at heart, we think capitalism is killing itself by allowing itself to be unfettered in any way with social responsibilities. Pure capitalism (and free enterprise) as has been pointed out, has precious little reason to concern itself with societies needs. The operators of capitalistic enterprises are mainly dedicated to maximizing profits for shareholders.

They are not going to say, “People need jobs, so rather than using technology, we will use people for jobs that can be done more cheaply by machines.”

I think most of us realize capitalism has to be tweaked…in order to force enterprise to accept a reasonable (!?) amount of social responsibility.

Activism of some sort will be the generator…although it is not going to be an easy job. The leaders, and idea instigators, of such a movement will have to be brilliant…and brilliant people often are eaten up by the corporations using massive profits as “bribes.”

I'd love to think that America could be a leader in the right direction...but I do have reservations on that.

Russia and the communist/socialist effort certainly did not do the job.

Perhaps working from the opposite direction is the way it will work…which means that China may be the means to that end. Maybe a mostly socialist nation can head toward capitalism in a reasonable way...or at least more reasonable than pure, unfettered capitalism can lead toward a capitalism that does accept social responsibility.

However it happens…I hope it does happen…and that it happens soon.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 07:52 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
I am not particularly devoted to morality. The very idea of it is offensive to me


I assume you are referring to such things as moral codes, or moral convictions. If so I agree to an extent. But that isn't really morality, any more than the spent air you exhale is breathing. Your opinion that people have a right to take action against something that harms them is based in your sense of morality.

But moral issues aren't the only ones, and perhaps not even the most pressing.
Another issue is the survival of our species and our culture. We are social creatures. Every advantage we enjoy, every bit of welfare or technology is due to that fact. It is, in it's entirety, a team effort.
With that in mind, the most intelligent thing to do would be to take care of the whole team. To make sure that as many as possible are healthy and happy and able to be productive and to contribute.

We all know the goals we need to be working towards as a global community. Food, water and energy for everyone, in such a way that it doesn't wreck the environment.
And pretty much all of us agree that the challenges we face in these things are not technological. Sure there are challenges in that area too, but they can be overcome. The insurmountable obstacles towards achieving those goals is capitalistic interest. The current imbalance serves the very ones who have the means to do something about it, and so it isn't done, because it goes against better judgement to saw off the branch we are sitting on.
But the thing is that if all the nutrition goes into only that branch, then the rest of the tree will starve and die. And one branch can't survive in a dead tree.


Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Oct, 2013 08:20 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

With that in mind, the most intelligent thing to do would be to take care of the whole team. To make sure that as many as possible are healthy and happy and able to be productive and to contribute.


I agree with much of what you said in that last post, Cyracuz...except for the passage above.

Just as unfettered capitalism is screwing with the ability of society to function at its best...the notion of the masses that EVERYONE ought to be "productive" and "to contribute"...does as much damage.

We do not need everyone being productive and we do not need everyone contributing. In fact, demanding (or encouraging) either of those things may be as much a part of the problem as capitalism's reluctance to see a need for social considerations on the part of corporations.

There is a reason for the expression, "You wanna help...don't help!"

This takes more explanation than I have space for here...but some people ought to be paid enough to keep them reasonably happy...AND OUT OF THE WAY. Out of the work force...because they have a negative impact by "contributing."
 

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