28 January 2017

Indian Cotton and Farmer Suicides

Some will stumble because this link is to a documentary produced by RT. But if you can get past that, there's some helpful information and certainly some contextualisation with regard to GMO cotton and its place in contemporary India.

No doubt at this point many have heard about the thousands of farmers committing suicide. While this phenomenon antedates the Modi administration, his market friendly policies if anything are exacerbating the problem. It's a controversial issue and a great deal of ink is spilled arguing over statistics and causes.

Of course there's a tremendous amount of money at stake. BigAgra companies like Monsanto and certainly the creditors stand to lose if too much light is shined on this issue and it leads to activism or even state intervention. They need not fear with Narendra Modi in office and if he is able to rally the RSS paramilitaries to suppress dissent, it is the farmers who will learn to fear. Thus far it would seem the RSS has taken a somewhat ambiguous stand on this issue.

Is Monsanto to blame or at least worthy of some blame? It's a question that must be considered. The creditors are also playing their part. I would be curious to know if Monsanto is also involved in the finance, perhaps through a contracted company or a subsidiary. That's another all-too-common tactic utilised by large corporations.

It matters because Monsanto is an S&P100 company, an elite tier within the S&P500. In other words this is one of the top traded companies on the US stock market, one of the wealthiest and most influential multinational corporations in the world. Virtually all the top mutual funds and many institutional investors hold shares in this company which means most Middle Class Americans are in some way or form profiting from what's happening in India. It's something to think about, or at least consider.

It's hardly a stretch to suggest the State Department, Treasury and not a few other top governmental departments and agencies will do what they can to ensure Monsanto stays not just solvent but profitable. When you consider Monsanto's international standing, their extensive dealings with nation states, international institutions and corporations, its symbiotic relationship with Washington what a collapse would mean for US pensions and the economy at large... you can be sure that Washington has their back.

And that's not just individuals and corporate institutions that are invested in Monsanto. The list of investors necessarily includes ecclesiastical denominations, parachurch organisations and individual congregations. The moral implications are staggering.

The documentary did not identify the religions of the farmers. Clearly many were Hindu and let us hope no Christian farmers would commit suicide. But be certain that not a few of the farmers are Christians and are also suffering the consequences of this system.

Is that right? Is it moral that Western Christians in the practice of being 'good stewards' profit from the suffering and hardships of others, even their brethren. If this isn't usury (by all definitions of the term), I don't know what is.

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