Elizabeth Warren Just Let Loose on Trump and Monsanto

She is no fan of the ag giant’s pending mega-merger.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at the Open Market Institute.Screengrab/YouTube

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Back in September 2016, US agribusiness titan Monsanto and German chemical conglomerate Bayer agreed to a $66 billion merger, making way for a globe-spanning firm with huge shares of the world’s seed and pesticide markets. The deal remains unconsummated, still under scrutiny by antitrust authorities. Donald Trump signaled readiness to bless the deal before taking office, but his administration has been pretty silent about it since. 

Enter Trump’s nemesis, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.). In a recent speech before the Open Markets Institute, Warren denounced rising levels of corporate consolidation—massive companies merging into vast market-dominating entities that invest a share of their profits in lobbying and financing campaigns, shaping the political system to their own ends. 

At one point—snippet below—Warren turned her attention to one of the most consolidated sectors of the US economy: agribusiness. And she called on the Trump administration to nix Bayer-Monsanto. “If the Bayer-Monsanto merger is approved, one gigantic company would supply one-quarter of the entire world’s seeds and pesticides,” she noted. (Her math matches up pretty closely with my assessment)

As Warren notes, the Trump administration has already blessed a similar merger between former rivals Dow and DuPont, which will eventually roll out a seed/agrichemical giant bigger than Monsanto at its current size. It also signed off on the takeover of Swiss pesticide giant and ChemChina.  If Monsanto/Bayer gets the green light as well, then just three corporations will own the lion’s share of the globe’s seed and pesticide markets, giving them enormous leverage over farmers world wide. And these companies’ aggressive push into “precision agriculture”—taking farmers’ field data and selling them advice on what to plant and spray—only adds to their power. 

Warren can’t stop Trump from approving Bayer-Monsanto. But she seems intent to make sure everyone understands the consequences if he does. 

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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