Re: >H Re: SOC: Continuing genengineering hysteria

Chris Fedeli (
Sat, 18 Sep 1999 19:08:39 -0400

Brian Manning Delaney wrote:

> How is this "worse," as opposed to an entirely
> separate issue: potentially illegal (or deleterious) monopoly
> control?
> Anything associated with Rifkin is likely to be bad, to be sure,
> and _his_ interest in this suit isn't centered on monopoly
> control.

Hi Brian. That's the main issue that makes this "worse". The suit is being brough by Rifkin and the "National Family Farm Coalition", a group that represents small farmers who can't compete in a changing agriculture market.

> Is it, then, that we should put up with monopolies in order to
> advance high tech?

Monopolies aren't a bad thing in and of themselves. Monopolies are only bad when their presence is a barrier to competition, preventing innovations that might improve the economy. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

Rifkin and the small farmers aren't concerned about economic efficiency (although that's what their lawyers' breifs will argue). Rifkin, as we know, will do anything to throw a brick into the GM machine.

The small farmers are a different case. The only reason they still exist is because of America's romanticized attachment to our history as a nation of small farmers. Unfortunately, the family farm is about as useful to the modern economy as Buggy Whips, Inc. Eventually these small farmers will all wind up selling their acres to Archer Daniels Midland and sending their kids off to study computer programming at the University of Kansas. Until then they'll do anything they can to cling to the past, including take advantage of laws that were designed to speed up the economy, not hinder it.

When monopolies are hurting innovation they need to be broken up, lest a mafia mentality paralyze an entire industry. This latest stunt by Rifkin and the small farmers is a mockery of the intent of antitrust law.