A Unique Expose
Sukumar Muraleedharan
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MONSANTO: POLLUTION, POLITICS AND POWER by MarieMonique Robin Tulika Books, 2011, 372 pp., 675
January 2011, volume 35, No 1

Corporate history affords severalcase studies of companies changing and reinventing themselves over time, acquiring a contemporary shape and form simply not foretold in their original genetic code. Mutations in product profile are a part of corporate evolution. But few companies manage to retain the unmutated gene of corporate criminality through all transformations of product profile. This book by a highly regarded French journalist is precisely that kind of a case study. The story of Monsanto that MarieMonique Robin unfolds is of a company whose scientific and technological career has been so deeply scarred by felony and ethical violations that it is by most criteria, unique. What is it about Monsanto that makes it a serial offender What impels it to push the frontiers of research with the singleminded intent of multiplying profit What makes it evade all prescribed safeguards in its rush to the marketand persist with hazardous products despite the human costs.

The chronicle that Robin unfolds is compelling, persuasive and deeply alarming. It leaves no room for even the most voluble champions of corporate free enterprise to make a case of unfair treatment. The problem in fact is the opposite: of public safety becoming a victim of untrammelled corporate profiteering, of oversight bodies unable to maintain a distance from the companies they regulate and becoming, in effect, accomplices in criminality.

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