The Invisible Monopoly

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William Pittman
3/08/15
Section 79
COMP - Bryant

The Invisible Monopoly

By definition, a monopoly is the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service (Webster). In simpler terms, it’s when someone or some organization tries to completely take over the market of a product. Obviously, this is unfair to competitors and most of all, consumers because they are deprived of the decision of where to receive their product from. For this exact reason, the US has put in place laws against monopolization. Sadly though, some of the top members in the food industry seem to be void to these laws. One company in particular that seems to utilize monopolistic tactics is the American biotechnology corporation, Monsanto. They have been taking over the seed market for the past few decades are now a prominent model of a monopoly.

The American biotechnology Corporation, Monsanto, which is a prominent model of a monopoly, has been taking over the seed market for the past few decades. In an entry from GM education, the evidence “If you consider that Monsanto - the largest and the best known – licenses its genetically modified traits to other seed companies and as a result, more than 80% of US corn and more than 90% of soybeans planted each year are attributable to Monsanto then monopoly comes to mind”(GM Education). These numbers show exactly how miniscule the competition Monsanto is facing truly is. As an illustration of Monsanto’s devious tactics, writer Peter Whoriskey delivers claims exposing the pricing of Monsanto’s products. According to a farmer that he interviewed, Monsanto’s prices have been steadily increasing despite the complaints of farmers worldwide. “Prices of the Monsanto-patented seeds have steadily increased, roughly doubling during the past decade, to about $50 for a 50-pound bag of soybean seed”(Whoriskey). These price increases are only doable because Monsanto has either stifled, or caused a heap of their competitors to lose customers and/or go bankrupt from lawsuits by Monsanto. Therefore, no matter how high the price of seeds goes, farmers will have no choice but to purchase Monsanto’s product because there are no other seeds available. The monopolization being done by Monsanto not only affects US citizens’ decision making, it also places an extreme spending burden on farmers.

In patenting their materials, Monsanto is granted the freedom of suing anyone who they think is in violation of their patents. According to author S.C. Hickman:

“Monsanto has even gone so far as to sue American farmers for patent violations as Bloomberg reports: Monsanto has pursued more than 800 patent cases against farmers who planted its seeds without paying the proper royalty. The lawsuit, filed in March 2011, was a preemptive action by farmers, seed sellers and agricultural groups that said they had no desire to plant Monsanto seeds, took steps to avoid doing so and yet feared becoming the target of a patent-infringement suit if Monsanto’s modified traits were found in their soybeans, corn or other crops (Hickman).”

It’s completely unfair to farmers if Monsanto has the ability to sue anyone whose field has the patented seed in it because cross-pollination carries seeds to random locations. This is an obvious violation of every moral aspect of a farmers work; they should be able to freely plant and re-plant anything that is found on their property. If Monsanto can freely sue any farmer with a farm that has the patented seed in it – which is put there through cross-pollination - Monsanto will be able to eventually take over every farm in the world, which in turn will make it impossible for consumers to purchase organic food. This will deprive Americans of their right to free choice, and maybe even degrade the democracy type of government that America has put in place. Also provided in the study by Hickman is this; “Is it really (the farmer’s) job to report the cross...
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