About putting your money where your mouth is...

A couple of months ago some friends told me that the company I had stocks in, a certain medical company called Monsanto, where up to no good. My friends knew about it since their days as aid workers in...an african country, and it has something to do with the company being greedy and controlling the medical market and not giving up patents to produce affordable drugs, and so on. Well, I'm always keen on being, or at least being seen as, a philanthropist, so I immediately promised to sell my stocks and give the proceeds (minus tax) to some charitable cause.

I've been agonized the last months since that. Not fulfilling my promise would have - believe it or not - caused considerable damage to my conscience. Paying the sum, equal to 5000 SEK, is - well, once one starts earning money, it becomes harder and harder to spend it on other things but yourself. In the end, seeing as my conscience is already too dented by professional compromises, white, grey and outright lies, and other moral concessions accumulated over the years, I saw fit to sell the stocks and, indeed, give proceeds to charity as a way to balance things up. The chosen organisation: World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF). Donation: As above, through a one-time donation and a monthly sponsorship of some endangered tigers in Asia. For that I get a sticker and stuffed tiger. Yes, I thought it a bit funny too at first, since the whole purpose with the sponsorship is to protect the cats, but hey - it comes for free with the deal. [Of course not the real thing, but - what's the name for it - a soft one, for kids, with cotton...cuddly, ett mjukdjur.]

Now, why am I saying this, here? Well, for those who do not know me, I am a pretentious fuck. It is in large part due to the fact that I want your appreciation as a do-gooder and friend of the earth, its people and other animals. But I think I could have done that in a different manner, with more subtlety [or maybe not, come to think of it. maybe this text, with its slight ironic touch, will give me that appreciation...nice. high-five!]. No, the main reason is that I want others to take heed of this noble gesture, and join me. I want you to donate money as well! Not necessarily to WWF, but to something. Something that will easen your burdened conscience, and do so easily. Pay the money and you will sleep better at night. God knows most of you can afford it. Hein, so what do you say? Have you reached this far in the text? Are you up for it? Or are you afraid? Chicken? [mocking chicken sound]. C'mon!

Postat av: cg

A small revision, from the friend who made me sell the Monsanto stocks:
Small revision though concerning the issue -- I knew these bastards b/c they worked in the agriculture sector in West Africa, and specifically partnered with one farming project I had to monitor. They tout their agriculture product-line as "sustainable agriculture," but in my little experience, it is far from sustainable. I witnessed a program (actually met poor farmers who only had enough money to eat a plate of rice a day) who saved what little money they had to purchase seeds from Monsanto. These seeds are promoted as having all kinds of better benefits than regular seeds -- b/c they are genetically modified (am not an agronomist so have nothing to say here). Though as an aside, usually W. African farmers are able to conserve seeds from their harvest for the next year. But no, not so with Monsanto. They have to re-purchase seeds each and every year -- not so easy, eh?
Then, to accompany the seeds, farmers are also highly encouraged to purchase the Monsanto pescticides and fertilizer (b/c they work the best). So again, the poor, poor farmer digs into his small pockets and buys the pesticides -- which are the real tradegy in the Monstanto product line -- they not only kill the bad pests, but also kill the good ones that encourage bio-diversity. And once you start using chemicals, you have to buy stronger and stronger ones b/c of course pests develop a resistance.
So, there you go -- Monsanto and its evil circle. It's all about profits baby, not about truly helping people. And meeting with the Senegal Monsanto representative, a Frenchie sporting a fine black suit and modern office in Dakar -- with the wift of money eminating off him -- I was just grossed out even more. B/c this kind of setting is very rare indeed in Senegal.

2007-08-25 @ 01:14:00

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