Dr. Vandana Shiva on corporate fiction
by Redaktion (comments: 0)
Dr. Vandana Shiva has reflected on how on how fictions and abstract constructions are ruling us.The nature of being and existence is being redefined in such fundamental ways that life itself is threatened, she explains. When corporations that were designed as legal constructs claim “personhood”, then real people who stand in line at polling booths, eke out livelihoods, and raise families lose their rights. This has happened recently in Vermont and Maui. Residents of Maui County, Hawaii voted on 4 November 2014 to ban the growing of genetically modified crops on the islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai until scientific studies are conducted on their safety and benefits. Monsanto and Dow Chemical’ s unit Mycogen Seeds have sued the county in federal court to stop the law passed by the people. And Vermont, which passed a GMO labelling law through a legal, democratic process, is being sued by a conglomerate of corporations on the false premise of corporate personhood, and the influence of money as corporate “free speech”. (Picture: Dr. Vandana Shiva on the right)
This is at the heart of new free trade treaties based on “investor rights”. Denying citizens the right to know violates the fundamental principles of food democracy. Dow and Monsanto sued Maui, thus subverting the democratic process that rests on the will of people, not on the power of corporations. This corporate jurisprudence needs to be reversed if human rights and the rights of Mother Earth are to be protected. Corporate fictions that have already had disastrous impacts on the biodiversity of the planet, nations and on farmers whose time immemorial rights to save and exchange seeds are being criminalised under patent law and new seed laws.
When biotechnology corporations claim to have “invented” the seed and courts and governments uphold this fiction, millions of years of evolution and thousands of years of agricultural history get erased. Seeds are not automobiles or circuit boards; life cannot be manufactured. It is not an invention. It is not engineered, piece-by-piece, by a worker on an assembly line. Living organisms are self-organised complexity. Chilean scientists Maturana and Varela differentiated between two kinds of systems - autopoietic and allopoietic. Autopoietic systems are self-organised and make themselves. Allopoietic systems are put together externally. A seed is an autopoietic system -constantly self-organising, evolving and adapting to changing contexts. To claim that by adding one gene a corporation creates the seed - and all future generations of that seed - is an ontological flaw, a scientific outrage and an ethical violation. India’s laws have a clear articulation that biological and living systems are not inventions. Article 3(d) of India’s patent laws states clearly that the discovery of a new property or a new use of a known substance is not an invention. The full article is available here.
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