The Seeds of Destruction
The main objective of my project is to explore in depth, how the bio-piracy and biotech patent system affect the life of indigenous people of Third World countries, in relation to their rights to natural resources and knowledge that they have developed in common over centuries. I would focus on few important issues, including the enclosure of natural commons, such as seeds and plants on one hand, and the exploitation of the worker, his labor and knowledge about them, on the other. In addition, a critique of the monopolization of the market economy and its negative effect on the poor and their “enslaving” by the rich corporations would be covered in some of my thoughts. Important fact that needs to be explained, before going into details with the problems caused by the seeds of destruction and their patents, is explanation of what actually the Intellectual Property Rights are. Therefore, similar to copyrights, these are rights to control production and use of biological resources like genes and plants (in this case) for a limited time, for example seventeen to twenty years. Historically, society has given the inventors these rights in exchange for public disclosure (making new knowledge available) and avoiding trade secrecy. Today, however, many industrialized countries claim that collected information as their own, and through the patents they don’t allow ordinary people like farmers to use these raw materials unless they pay a high price for them. In other words, “…the patent process followed in the United States is a system whereby the wealthy steal resources from the poor. Instead of a seed belonging to everyone (i.e. "community property"), ownership of that seed is now granted to one entity (a corporation) which can then charge the people for using it. This sort of patenting is nothing more than a fabricated system of ownership that funnels wealth from the hands of the many to the pockets of the few” (Adams, Mike). Related to the idea of ownership and individuality are also Marx’s thoughts about the bourgeois society and its power over the proletariat, where the rich are getting richer and the poor become poorer; “…modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonism, on the exploitation of the many by the few” (Manifesto of the Communist Party 484). Marx’s words support the idea that big corporations like Monsanto, steal natural resources that have been given to the world as a gift and which, with people’s common knowledge and labor, kept growing and developed through the centuries. These plants and seeds have given the indigenous people ability to live, be active and provide the necessary nutrition for their future generations. However, “power-hungry” white men have invented the system of patents and claimed that common fruits of labor don’t belong to the mass, but are their own invention and made the poor dependent on them not only for food, but medicines and human reproduction also. Common, natural possessions and science don’t seem to be part of people’s peaceful, mutual existence and free will, any more. Thus, as Hardt states, “the intellectual property regime is designed to expedite the private expropriation of the value that is produced in common through the cooperative relationships of bio political production.” The main idea in his words is that what once has been considered as natural element of common property is now claimed to be product of corporations’ creativity and labor to which they have attached their private property rights of exclusion and enclosure. The rise of intellectual imperialism has spread not only over the agriculture, by allowing companies like Monsanto to change the genetic makeup of the existent seeds and force farmers to buy new ones each year, but also it has extended its power over the human DNA and soon, people won’t even have control over...
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