Monsanto is often called one of the most ‘evil’ companies on the planet. It has a history of knowingly contaminating the environment and food with various poisons, cover ups and criminality (see this, outlining the company’s appalling history). In recent times, there has been much focus on its promotion and patenting of GMOs, the deleterious impacts of its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and how GMOs pose a threat to human and animal health, ecology and the environment (see this, for example).
Campaigners and activists have described how global agribusiness players like Monsanto are threatening food security and food democracy. Monsanto and others have been able to capture or unduly influence government regulatory/policy agendas, important trade deals and global trade policies via the WTO. Monsanto is a major player and wields enormous political influence and receives significant political support.
Little wonder then that we now have campaigns specifically targeting Monsanto. While it is laudable and correct to highlight the actions of Monsanto and indeed its partners like The Gates Foundation, we should not be side tracked from developing a wider analysis to understand the underlying forces that drive companies like Monsanto.A recent piece by Christina Sarich shows that any shares held by Gates or the individuals at the top of the Monsanto corporate structure like CEO High Grant or CTO Robb Fraley are dwarfed by those held by institutional shareholders, such as Vanguard, Capital Research and State Street.
While it is difficult to specify the individuals behind these entities and others like them in the financial-corporate world, existing research (and in the absence of data, informed speculation) indicates the name Rothschild crops up time and again along with Goldman Sachs, Loebs Kuhn, Lehmans, Rockefeller, Warburg, Lazard and Israel Moses Seif. Moreover, the eight largest US financial companies (JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, US Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley) are entirely controlled by 10 shareholders and four companies appear as shareholders in these many of these: Black Rock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. In fact, these four appear to be major stock holders in many major US and European companies. (See this broader breakdown of big money and ownership.)