Monsanto now owns Xe (Blackwater)

Kannon wrote:

Now, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, you're seriously suggesting that we'd be better off with less regulations, and our only recourse being courts?

No, I'm suggesting we're better off without regulations that protect and enable companies like Monsanto, and that our most powerful tool against such companies is voting with our dollars, not the courts. This does require accepting responsibility for individual purchases and actions, and establishing and strengthening organizations to coordinate and assist with that effort.

The essential point, which I think is well established by our legislative history over the last hundred years, is that it's extremely rare to see economic regulations that are not crony capitalist - designed to specifically benefit one or more favorite companies. Just stopping for a second to ask "Cui bono?" goes so far towards exposing where the regulations come from, and who they are designed to help. Hint: it's not consumers.

The answer to corruption is to not tear the system down, but to burn out the corrupt parts.

And how do you propose to do that? How do you propose to deal with the problem of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs? The answer is to accept the limitations and endemic flaws of our political system, instead of repeatedly enabling companies to abuse their customers and competitors by handing them the power of government.

Aetius wrote:
Kannon wrote:

Now, just to make sure I didn't miss anything, you're seriously suggesting that we'd be better off with less regulations, and our only recourse being courts?

No, I'm suggesting we're better off without regulations that protect and enable companies like Monsanto, and that our most powerful tool against such companies is voting with our dollars, not the courts. This does require accepting responsibility for individual purchases and actions, and establishing and strengthening organizations to coordinate and assist with that effort.

The essential point, which I think is well established by our legislative history over the last hundred years, is that it's extremely rare to see economic regulations that are not crony capitalist - designed to specifically benefit one or more favorite companies. Just stopping for a second to ask "Cui bono?" goes so far towards exposing where the regulations come from, and who they are designed to help. Hint: it's not consumers.

The answer to corruption is to not tear the system down, but to burn out the corrupt parts.

And how do you propose to do that? How do you propose to deal with the problem of concentrated benefits and diffuse costs? The answer is to accept the limitations and endemic flaws of our political system, instead of repeatedly enabling companies to abuse their customers and competitors by handing them the power of government.

Revoking corporate personhood, enforcing strict limits for campaign finance and in-kind contributions, permanent moratorium on current-style lobbying, and strict regulations about both term limits and "political consultants". Not perfect, but a start. Give the FDA, EPA, and the body that oversees the aforementioned new regulations _teeth_. Pitiful fines are obviously not strong enough.

Thing is, in order for it to work, you need both. Big fangs on the regulators is a fertile ground for crony capitalism, and even a bastion of integrity can help little without the power to enforce it's regulations.

Against a behemoth like Monsanto, just consumers voting with their dollar does not work. You need something that can really inflict some lasting damage for misbehavior against that.

Honest and sincere questions.

Do you purchase gasoline?

Do you purchase anything other than locally grown, organic produce?

Did you purchase your computer before making sure that none of the components were manufactured in sweatshops or political prisons in China or Burma?

Do you buy what's on sale instead of spending the extra 20 cents per can to get dolphin safe tuna?

Do you participate in the market at all?

Do you honestly think that this sort of collective action is a reasonable way of governing the public welfare?

The market, by design and nature, rewards nothing more than the expansion of shareholder value. And that is attained by the expansion of consumer value. There is no argument that our power as consumers and investors even on an individual level is greater now than ever in human history. We can, for instance, know the precise cost of practically any item and find the lowest price to within pennies by virtue of our command of information.

However, in this brave new ultracapitalist world, our power as citizens has been greatly diminished. The number of folks that will purchase dolphin safe tuna will never be statistically significant. The pitifully small number of folks who will spend the extra 50 cents per loaf of bread will never compel companies to alter agricultural practices. The best that we can hope for is that they will create niche, boutique industries to cater to environmental vanity. You can, if you like, drive your plug in hybrid, but Toyota will still keep making Tundras.