Dr. Shiva, I'm very interested in a lot of what you had to say
in your recent talk and in your writings about this interface
between the corporate for-profit model and how it intersects
with this need to provide for our basic food needs and basic
I guess it just…bringing in something that's
fairly timely, this merger between Monsanto, who you've been
very outspoken against, and Bayer.
Could you maybe quantify exactly how you see that merger making
the situation worse, going from the frying pan to the fire?
What, in particular, do you think that those … is a concern for
farmers and for food security generally?
Vandana Shiva: First thing that people should remember is
Monsanto and Bayer were one during the war. They were called
They worked together to sell poisons on both sides of the
It's only after
the IG Farben trial at Nuremberg that the
separation took place. So, in a way, the Bayer-Monsanto merger
of the contemporary times is just a coming together in an open
way of a hidden marriage that always was there.
Second, even if
you look at cross licensing arrangements, they've been working
BT Cotton of Monsanto failed in India in 2015-16 of the
states of Punjab, 80% of the cotton was hit by
White Fly. Who
sold the pesticides? Bayer. So they work as one. As a poison
Right now, buyers trying to push a GMO mustard. At the
same time, Monsanto is trying to dismantle our patent laws which
say we cannot allow patents and seeds, plants, animals, because
these are not human inventions.
They have their own
self-organizing capacity to organize life, regulate life
reproduce life, multiply seeds.
What will this new open merger
First is, I think the numbers like 66 billion are just games for
the public. I've done an analysis. It will be out in my new book
on the resurgence of the rial.
The true owners of all of these
corporations, down to
the Coca Colas and Pepsis, all of them are
the new investment giants, which are the cartel of the rich men,
who have now designed ways of using their money to basically
control the future of humanity.
And, for them, there is more future in collecting rents from
seeds which they never invented, from selling more poisons,
including corrupting governments, including denying the fact
that even the W.H.O. said
glyphosate is a carcinogen, so they're
putting their money to tell lies to defend killing and destroy
So, in effect, actually, the merger is more power in the hands
of criminal corporations. To not just push the agenda, but
corrupt governments, subvert democracy.
We are witnessing it
right now in India with the GM mustard case.
and in the name of science, they say science requires
they are knocking out any scientist who does real research on,
the fact that GMOs don't produce more
that they haven't
controlled pests or weeds, they have created super pests and superweeds
that they have better ways through biodiversity,
through agro-ecology, to actually produce enough food for people
and have enough for other species, which is what the
food system is about
So, I see the merger of Bayer and Monsanto as, in a way, the
peak of a contest between a century of ecocide and genocide with
no stopping, versus Earth democracy where all species have their
rights recognized, and they act.
Because most of the subversion
the Monsanto agenda hasn't taken place because people marched
into the fields of Round-Up Ready soya, but the Palmer amaranth
rose and defeated the project and that's why I insist 300
million species and if you assume that even half of humanity
will keep thinking and defending their freedom which would mean
3.5 billion people that's a lot of intelligence against the
criminality of a cartel of,
...all working together with a failed agenda of
GR: I find that there's a sort of a parallel development
perhaps - you're talking about the food system, but there's also
the energy economy.
And I noticed that there's a lot of talk
about transition, and about time, transition away from fossil
fuel, but I noticed that a lot of investment, corruption,
subversion, perhaps, is taking place in the guise of major
the Rockefellers and Warren Buffett and all of
these major players.
They are trying to invest, the
Bill Gates Mission Innovation, they're all trying to invest, get in on this
renewable economy, but they're not seeing the renewable economy
as a… well, it seems as if their larger objective is finding a
new frontier for capitalistic expansion.
And so, if I look at those sorts of developments when you see
major donations to major environmental NGOs and so on, I'm
wondering if we aren't similarly seeing if this is something
that we need to be on guard against.
To prevent this kind of
poison pill, another kind of poisonous cartel, from moving so
that the renewable economy is in fact something that's aligned
with natural systems and natural intelligence and not simply
another mechanism for for-profit growth and capitalist
Could you address those concerns?
VS: First thing is, food is energy. It gives us energy
when we eat nourishing food.
Sadly, food itself has become the
source of major confidence of a non-sustainable energy model.
90% of the corn in the soil, grown in the world right now, is
going for biofuel.
So we already have food diverted into a
non-sustainable energy model.
When it comes to
which really began as small initiatives trying to build energy
alternatives to fossil fuel, it was so clear in the Paris
meetings that this would be the next platform for the Gates of
the world and the Buffets of the world.
And do they make windmills? No, they don't. He just keeps his
hands in his pockets and eats hamburgers. Do they make solar
panels? No. What do they run for? What is their innovation?
Grabbing the patents...
So, they are looking for a future where
there will be a lot of renewable energy in the world but they
will collect rents from the expansion of renewable energy like
they seek to collect rents from seed, which is the only agenda
for GMOs and the patents of seed.
What we are seeing is the emergence of a new economy that's a
rental economy based on intellectual property, and people who
don't work making the huge money and becoming
the 1%, and the
people who work and slog and are creative and are innovative
punished just because they are hard-working human beings.
that - not just - I don't call it inequality because it is worse
than inequality. It is a lie, it is a brutalization, it is a
It is a dehumanization of those that are robbed
of their share of this Earth and the well-being of the Earth,
but it's a brutalization of those few who think being lords and
masters of the universe at this critical time with a very
survival of our species is at stake, that their profits come
first not the humanity of the planet.
GR: You brought up the term
anthropocentrism early in your talk,
and that's a serious concern insofar as it's something that we
just sort of don't really pay attention or think about, it's
part of like the water that we swim in.
And I'm finding that a
lot of those technologies has that sort of anthropocentric
veneer to it. Could you address the technologies, another vista,
the digital technology that we mentioned, spyware,
Snowden talks about surveillance…
I'm wondering if these
technologies are irredeemably anthropocentric, or can we find
some aspect to them where we can continue to utilize them?
VS: You know, for me, technologies are not some magical
phenomenon that gets sent from the skies to a few privileged
men, which is how Bacon used to think of the new technologies,
and the new science, and the new Atlantis, and superheroes, etc.
That's not the way the world works. The way the world works is,
people are creative and innovative, and they evolved tools.
The problem with the tools that have come from the commons…
Microsoft is not the inventor of software. It's the patenter of
software. Monsanto is not the inventor of seed and definitely
even not of recombinant DNA. It's the patenter, and it's the
buyer of others who might have had the patent before them.
it's really a race for ownership through any means whatsoever.
And the reason I worry about digital technologies is not that
humans have worked out ways to deal with digital technologies,
but that those who control digital technologies want to use it
as an instrument of control.
For example, all of India's economy was shut down on the 8th of
November 2016, for a digital economy. Big cash notes were
banned. All the savings of millions and billions of people were
This privileging of digital basically means that the
global financial system where money runs to the U.S. to Wall
Street, to these investment funds, that those people get your 6%
rental with every transaction, and the hard-working person,
through exchange, loses out. Has to pay more.
The second reason why the digital economy is being used as a new
digital dictatorship, and I've written about this, is the new
merger between digital technologies and information technologies
on the one hand, and agriculture and biotechnologies on the
other, but also digital technologies and finance.
finance economy has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to
do with wealth. It has everything to do with speculation, wire,
And I think it is narrowing our possibilities by not allowing
the wide intelligences which are not one-dimensional, which are
not linear, which play out in all kinds of combinations of
hearts and heads and hands working as one to guide us out of
At this moment of crisis, to put your fate of humanity
in combinations of zeros and ones, and machines owned and
patented, and algorithms owned and a handful of men who have
zero real experience of what life is about is a very, very
GR: And you also mention the term
Terra Nullius, the second
coming of Christopher Columbus and that whole mentality that
seems to infect so much of our culture including the sciences.
mean, you come from a scientific background, and the way that we
approach things, and you had to relearn from meeting with women
and peasant folk a different understanding of this.
you maybe help us, those of us who wish to relieve ourselves of
this infection, what we could do to not unknowingly or
instinctively duplicate and replicate these same patterns?
VS: There are no empty lands; there are no empty minds, and the
very idea that knowledge starts when someone gets the idea of
conquest or extermination is the illusion born of colonialism,
it's the illusion born of fossil fuel age it's the illusion born
the concentration camps of Hitler and those are the kind of
sciences that are dominating today especially in agriculture.
I think it is really time for us to recognize that we've done
agriculture for 10,000 years. And there's 10,000 years of knowledges, not one but many.
It takes a different kind of
ability to be able to live on fish in the Arctic in Greenland,
and a totally different kind of ability to harvest your food
from the Amazon rainforest.
Each of these interactions generates
its own knowledge, so the idea of one agriculture, one science
that Bill Gates is trying to propose is absolutely against the
diversity and vitality of the world.
The second thing we need to know and remember now is something:
indigenous people never separated themselves from other species,
never had an anthropocentric hierarchy, and realized that every
plant, every microbe, every animal, was an intelligent and
Science is finally waking up to this. The science not controlled
by the poison cartel.
And I think we need a new alliance of the ability to look
through new eyes like microscopes, and the old
eyes of wisdom, and join those in a resurgence of the real which
is what my new book is about.