Originally published March 1 2008
Biopiracy Patents and the Rise of Intellectual Imperialism (comic)
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
It is a defining characteristic of Western civilization that power-hungry men seek to declare ownership over all things they discover. For most of human history, such ownership efforts were focused on usable land. Owning land that could grow food, after all, was a valuable strategy for staying alive. As mechanized farming methods spread, power-hungry white men sought to own and control a labor force -- and so human slavery was pursued.
I don't just mean slavery in the U.S., by the way, and it wasn't pursued exclusively by rich white men. World history is rife with nations engaged in routine slavery, from the Roman Empire and ancient Egypt to the not-so-ancient Brazil, where nearly genetically-identical people enslaved each other to work the rich Brazilian soils and produce agricultural profits.
From agriculture came the recognition of the value of seeds, and it wasn't long before power-hungry men began patenting the seeds they discovered in nature. Corporations like Monsanto even began performing dark experiments on those seeds, inserting "Terminator" genes that caused second-generation seeds to self-destruct, thereby ensuring their continued ownership and control over those seeds.
Now, as the U.S. patent office has allowed corporations to patent life forms and human gene sequences, we are entering a new age where human beings no longer control their own genes. Corporations currently own 20 percent of the human genome, and in the near future, couples who wish to reproduce may be forced to pay intellectual property royalties to wealthy corporations in exchange for the "rights" to copy their own genes through sexual reproduction.
This is not some distant dystopian future I'm describing, by the way: This is present-day reality. Corporations are attempting to exert control over every thing of value that can possibly be patented, from natural botanical medicines invented by Mother Nature to the very seeds of life found in human DNA. The goal in all this? Complete ownership over the human race and every thing of value on the planet.
How corporations intend to enslave the human raceIn the future being created by these corporations, you will not only have to pay money to reproduce, you'll also have to pay to grow crops, to fertilize those crops, and to harvest those crops. And once that season is gone, you'll have to pay all over again to buy seeds and pesticides for the next season. Forget about saving seeds or self reliance. The wealthy corporations of the world want the entire population to be dependent on them for food, medicine and even human reproduction. There is no human action that cannot be exploited by corporations for intellectual property claims.
The road to totalitarian enslavement is paved with patents...
If we continue to allow corporations to claim ownership over our money, our medicines, our seeds, plants and genes, then make no mistake about the outcome: We will all end up as worker slaves in an elitist plutocracy run by corporations. Some say we're close to that already. Just look at how effectively corporate interests now control the U.S. Congress, for example. There's hardly a law passed today that doesn't have the backing of a profit-minded corporation.
What's infuriating about the patents currently being awarded to corporations is that most of the things being patented were invented by Mother Nature! Arrogant Man, of course, comes along and claims that he "invented" these things by merely discovering them. It's like walking through a forest, finding a beautiful waterfall, and proclaiming, "I invented this waterfall!" That's what the U.S. patent office allows corporations to do right now with animals, genes, seeds and medicines. The human genome, for example, wasn't "invented" by scientists; it was merely mapped by scientists. It was invented by Mother Nature or God, depending on your particular spiritual or religious beliefs. By what arrogance should Man grant other men patents on the human genome?
Stealing from the poor to pay the richDistorted in this way, 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.
No wonder U.S. corporations so strongly favor the U.S. patent system. It is the legal machine by which corporations can strong-arm the masses, stealing not only their present resources but also their future wealth, effectively criminalizing farmers and peasants for daring to plant the same seeds they've planted for generations.
It is not surprising, then, that this system of patent protection was invented by power-hungry white men. It is the greedy white men who have invaded the world, committed genocide against the American Indians, wiped out ancient civilizations in South America, enslaved Southeast Asia, drugged the Chinese with Opium, colonized India, annexed Hawaii and subjugated defenseless populations all over the world. Can you guess where it all points back to? The British Empire, of course. No single empire has done more to decimate the cultures, religions and populations of this world than the British Empire. And today, the American Empire borrows its own brand of tyranny and imperialism from the historical actions of the British Empire. (America has created the very same tyranny and cruelty it sought to escape hundreds of years ago...)
Today, these two English-speaking nations (the U.K. and America) continue to invade the world with their junk foods, pharmaceuticals, soda pop, medical systems and exploitive intellectual property laws. The pushing of patents and intellectual property law onto third world nations amounts to a kind of intellectual imperialism And every nation that embraces Western culture finds itself, usually within one generation, diseased, bankrupt and destitute. Its monies have been stolen and exchanged for endless debt to the International Monetary Fund. Its crops have been replaced with seeds patented by Monsanto. Its cultural foods have been replaced with Western processed junk foods, and its People have been feed lies and propaganda about the "superiority" of Western banking, Western medicine, Western capitalism and Western culture.
This is how we wind up with doctors in China denouncing their own Chinese Medicine, or working people in South America giving up eating quinoa and starting to eat fast food hamburgers. The ultimate outcome for these people is not in doubt: Within a few years, they will find themselves diseased and bankrupt, with their natural resources exploited, their crops genetically contaminated and their futures mortgaged to corporations that rule the world.
I'm not sure exactly how corporations and patents will play a role in the destruction of Western civilizations. It could be that genetic pollution of our primary food crops causes runaway genetic contamination of corn, wheat and soy, followed by a blight that collapses the food supply (wheat supplies are already down to a 10-week supply for the entire world). Or it could be that financial disaster strikes first, collapsing the fractional-reserve financial institutions and worthless paper currencies that somehow still manage to move the economic machinery of modern society. There are a hundred different reasons why our current systems of consumption, pollution and economics are simply not sustainable -- and it's anyone's guess which one is going to reach the point of implosion first.
How we protect our futures and stop the tyranny of intellectual property claims over seeds, genes and medicinesAfter Western society collapses (which will happen in our lifetimes, most likely, given the food bubble, oil bubble, financial bubble, massive chemical contamination, etc.), we will all have an opportunity to rebuild a new society based on new rules. When this opportunity arises, it is crucial that we radically reform intellectual property laws that deny the corporations the ability to steal our futures by claiming ownership over genes, seeds and medicines. These things in particular must be protected as being non-patentable so that the People of the world are never driven into povery by corporate claims over basic life necessities like food and medicine.
Much of the Western capitalism model must be thrown out, actually. It is a model that only subsists on the non-stop exploitation of natural resources and human beings. It is a model where everything is disposable, where the next fiscal quarter is more important than the next generation, and where ethics and integrity have absolutely no role. Any nation that trains its future on this model of mass exploitation ultimately has no future.
That's why I support the immediate cancellation of all patents on life forms, genes, seeds and medicines. Those who ask, "But what is the incentive for people to create new medicines?" That's an example of limited Western thinking. Greed is not the sole motivator for innovation. Individuals, universities and governments can create new medicines for the benefit of all people. Besides, Nature has already invented nearly all the medicines we really need. All we need to do is propagate those medicines through the mindful planting and harvesting of medicinal plants. And if you really think only drug companies can come up with new medicines that society needs, then ask yourself this question: Why are 80% of all the "new" medicines invented by Big Pharma just "me-too" drugs that work no better than the older drugs with patents that are about to expire? Clearly, the motivation in Big Pharma today is not to create medicines for the benefit of mankind, but to create medicines for the benefit of shareholders.
It's time to end the "ownership" of genes, seeds and medicines. These belong to the People. I urge everyone reading this to take part in the movement to end greed-based intellectual property rights and help return our future to our children.
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