Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Putting the AG in Iraq

AlterNet has a follow up story to previous (and slightly misrepresented) reports about the sexily titled Order 81 [PDF], otherwise known as "Amendments to Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety Law", a piece of legislation enacted way back in 2004 by Paul Bremmer before leaving his position as administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. The AlterNet piece explains the order as basically setting up a favorable Intellectual Property regime for US biotech /seed companies, one similar to that operating in much of India, especially where cotton farming is becoming dominated by Monsanto's Bollgard ® Bt patented seed variety. Disturbingly, the parallel rise in suicides (over 4,500 in the last 6 years) by farmers in these regions is linked to the corporate domination and financial tactics used to create the IP environment so beneficial to companies like Monsanto, an environment that practically forces these farmers into unresolvable debt. PBS's Wide Angle Series has an episode on the Indian situation as well.
While the debate about the war goes on, and US withdrawal becomes more and more imminent, it looks like there are other questions yet to surface about the kind of Iraq being left in the wake of the US occupation. Such developments also reveal that it takes much more than oil to lubricate the "free market".
[image from Hindu Net]

posted by ryan griffis  # 7:36 PM

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