The campaign also tricks people because they post links to popular media sites. There is more information about this (in Spanish) here: https://www.reddit.com/r/argentina/comments/95m863/followup_...
Edit: found the subreddit, though it doesn't appear to be as active as it used to be: https://www.reddit.com/r/GMOFacts/
And then make it a punishable offense to "conceal corporate propaganda" if someone didn't check the box.
They seemed particularly interested in promoting a theory that the surfectant POEA had something to do with the illness.
The same Monsanto that manufactured PCBs and Agent Orange? That's a crazy coincidence.
More philosophically (and despite what SCOTUS has to say about it), companies aren't people; they are run by people. "Monsanto" can't do anything. The people running Monsanto have agency.
And the people who did the things you mention here are dead.
If I poison my neighbour and I'm caught, I'm going to jail. (In the US I may face the death penalty.)
If I'm working inside a corporate and my decisions poison [unknown power of ten] people and cause [unknown but significant] number of serious and possibly fatal illnesses, I am protected by the profit motive - possibly forever, and in the best case until such time as there's a legal case which the corporate loses, and then loses again, definitively, on appeal.
This is not hypothetical. There are many historical examples - not least the tobacco industry, the fossil fuel industries, the car industry, and many, many more.
It's a curious situation, and not a very satisfactory one.
We really should not be allowing the pursuit of profit as an excuse for collectively harmful activities.
What matters is whether corporations routinely get away with stuff that individuals don't, in practice. Not whether there's a "legal basis" for it.
And this is wide spread, plain obvious and readily admitted by most Americans.
Your framing of the question edges on the disingenuous because it really doesn't matter, even if there was legal basis to this or to the opposite, it would be selectively applied to large corporations any way. So many things for which there actually is a legal basis when it concerns individuals, corporations get away with in practice so frequently, that most individuals (of modal income) don't even attempt and try to get their right. Because they'll lose or bleed an unknown amount of money into it, which they probably can't afford.
> companies aren't people; they are run by people. "Monsanto" can't do anything. The people running Monsanto have agency.
Then that implies there are individuals using companies to get away with things they otherwise wouldn't be able to.
Generally speaking, the difficulty in bringing criminal cases against employees of corporations is convincing a court to pierce the corporate veil.
Unfortunately, this presents a catch-22. In order to prosecute an individual for corporate actions, one typically needs to prove the individual engaged in fraud or knowingly illegal actions (circumstances that justify piercing). However, if proved, one is unable to also sue the corporation (as you just argued the individual was acting against corporate interests and/or without corporate knowledge).
Furthermore, and I hope a lawyer corrects me if I'm wrong, criminal law requires much more stringent tests to prove guilty intent. In nebulous corporate power structures (and employing very expensive lawyers to design systems to shield themselves from exposing this proof), this is usually impossible.
E.g. criminal prosecutions over the housing crisis
 AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_Mobility_LLC_v._Concepc...
 American Express v. Italian Colors (2013), http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/06/details-american-express-v...
There is, as I understand it (as a company operator, not a lawyer, which I am not, though I have talked to them about this because I worry about getting sued) no "corporate veil" for torts. If Joe undertakes a service for BobCo, and Bob knowingly pays Joe in counterfeit dollars, Joe can sue Bob for fraud. If Joe performs that service competently and Bob defames him, maybe by claiming Joe stole all the company pencils and post-its, Joe can sue Bob for defamation. Joe might also be able to sue BobCo, but that's no consolation for Bob.
Given all this: I am having a hard time getting my head around how limited liability shields agents of a corporation from criminal charges.
My understanding is that there is still generally a veil in tort law, except when the tort was committed personally by an agent of the corporation.
I hit you in a company vehicle through my own negligence, you sue me.
I hit you in a company vehicle because I wasn't properly trained, you sue me and my company.
I hit you in a poorly maintained company vehicle and the steering column failed... who knows?
Fairly simple. But all cases of tort law are not personal.
Example being the Volkswagen emission case (okay, criminal too, but let's say a citizen is suing under tort law). Who's at fault?
As soon as I (the plaintiff) lose the ability to clearly point a finger, things get much murkier. Now I have to prove participation or a handful of other caveats to pierce and sue an employee. Probably by digging through thousands of emails.
This is where I'd say from a system perspective corporations provide a de facto buffer, even if it's not a legal one. Compared to simply suing an individual, proving all of this is much more expensive. Which now can't be aggregated (why I highlighted arbitration) so costs can't be divided.
As I understand it, the "interesting" questions here are the extent to which you can hold directors or even major shareholders responsible for criminal conduct --- people who may not have been directly implicated in crimes themselves. But if you commit a crime while working for Dow Chemical, or instruct someone to commit a crime who then does so, Dow's liability shield can't keep you out of prison.
If I commit a crime while working for Dow Chemical, the plaintiff must prove that (1) a crime was committed and (2) that I was personally responsible for it being committed.
This sounds exactly like what would need to be proved if I were unemployed and committed a crime, but the different regimes of tort, criminal, and corporate law that bank switch into play when a corporation is involved mean the lawsuit proceeds under different rules.
Essentially, I'd argue that case law affords someone working for a corporation far more options for defense than an average Joe, thereby making it unequal (aka buffering).
With regards to your (1), (2) predicates: that's the case in every crime! Corporations present the additional problem of whether a person who instructed (or set up an incentive system that effectively instructed) you to commit a crime is also criminally liable. But your boss's liability, so far as I understand the law, never shields you from liability.
We want there to be joint liability between the person who commits the crime and the person who orders and profits from the crime. I'm ready to believe it's challenging to achieve that; that often only the people who actually commit crimes are charged in these corporate cases. But this subthread started because I read your first comment as suggesting that, simply by dint of committing a crime at a corporation, the alter ego liability of the corporation protected criminals. I do not believe that.
How about if you, in a powerful role, change incentives within the company such that people working under you are all but guaranteed to commit crimes, simply because the ones who refuse to will end up lower on the corporate ladder, so the supplicants and ones that will gladly commit crimes for you without having to be explicitly instructed, will remain?
Because that's not a very hypothetical power structure, at all.
What do you propose instead? Cars replaced horses. The latter regularly gravely injured people, and the dead horses and manure were a major health hazard in cities.
But, as a philosophy, the notion that the decision to use Agent Orange in Vietnam has anything to with the debate about GMOs or the carcinogenic effects of glyphosate is a position that will only mislead and confuse you.
It's not a useful lens through which to view the world and the regularity with which arguments of this form appear in threads like this one is discouraging.
"Dump our waste in the river which is the water supply in order to save 2% on downstream costs? Sorry investors, no can do. That harms the public."
Make it part of CEOs job to benefit the public instead of make the rich richer. Why would we ever want a company that doesn't benefit the public?
For example, none of the cells in my body are the same as ten years ago, ergo this is not the same body as a decade ago. Or, there is no continuity between my thoughts then and now, therefore mentally I am not the same entity. Or, all of the individuals composing a company when it committed an environmental crime are now retired, therefore it is no longer the same company.
Seriously? What about the continuity of corporate culture and management processes?
The son is not responsible for the sins of the father, no matter how much of the father’s “culture” he picked up along the way.
Agent Orange has nothing to do with GMOs or glyphosate. It just doesn’t. Full stop.
But by the same logic, if companies are just convenient fictions, then they should have no rights whatsoever beyond those of their constituent employees - no fiscal benefits, no corporate donations, no political lobbying, no corporate legal representation, etc. Is that also your position?
(In other words, litigating the history of Agent Orange does not clarify or contextualie this discussion about glyphosate; it adds only unnecessary and unhelpful moral confusion. It obfuscates and misleads. It is political axe-grinding of the worst kind.)
My point is that if you want to meaningfully engage in and understand a debate about glyphosate on the Internet, then a subthread about Agent Orange is guaranteed to confuse, distract, and mislead.
It has nothing to do with the topic at hand. It's political axe-grinding. It's mere well-poisoning (and would be even if the same people were involved, but, moreover, the people responsible for Agent Orange are dead).
If you ask biz school profs, culture is essential.
To me the bigger problem about treating corps as people is corps are willing to renege on any deal if it benefits them, and pursue profit at all costs. If a person you know acted like that, you’d call them a sociopath.
So “Corporations are people: sociopathic people.” Is probably the best description.
And yet you comment on every thread that mentions them :)
I see your name at the top of a thread, I just know I'm in for reading a huge thread that isn't much about the topic at hand (that alone should give you sufficient pause for thought), but about you trying to prove people wrong about an increasingly narrow question that you framed yourself.
In the end, you technically get to be right, and nobody learned anything.
The POEA experiments in that paper were about exposing cell cultures to different roundup compositions and components. It is not surprising that POEA kills the cells in this kind of experiment as it is a kind of detergent. Human cell cultures have no defense against having their cell membranes disrupted by detergents. Real humans are not cell cultures and can't be easily killed that mechanism. We have skin and other barriers like mucous membranes that protect the cells.
I didn't look much further, but seeing that paper as the first result does make me very skeptical about the idea.
This disregards the fact that Roundup can easily be inhaled or absorbed through food consumption or through skin-to-mouth contact.
It's literally sprayed. And when it's on food, it can easily be consumed.
we have metrics for "chemical X probabalistically causes cancer Y in tissue Z".
you can play games with the ROA and the probability. but the type of chemical (detergent, etc) is a non sequitor. if you expose cells to a detergent in high enough concentration, they'll lyse.
lysed cells are an ENTIRELY distinct "type" of cell death than the kind of cell death signature that you would see if the cell were cancerous. the author of that study didn't do any flow cytometry on his 293 T samples by the looks of it, but if he had, the differences would be enlightening. compare someone who has died in a plane crash to someone who died of ebola. you'd know that one was not the other very easily even if you couldn't attribute a cause.
anyhow, i looked at that paper you linked. the other big problem with the monsanto chemical -- which was not even mentioned in the lawsuit (!) was that it is an endocrine disruptor even in situations where it is not toxic. in other words, it's terrible for you and will distort your body's hormone chemistry in ways we probably don't even understand yet. that's just as big of a story as the chemical being legally confirmed as carcinogenic.
That doesn't mean that a detergents can't have other effects that are harmful to humans. It just means that I don't think a cell culture experiment proves anything in such a case. A study in animals would be something different.
Therefore, Roundup might or might not be harmful, but the study doesn't tell us much about it.
Right, because we're instructed not to consume detergents. Following this instruction keeps the detergents outside the body.
We are instructed to consume food grown with herbicides such as Roundup, and Roundup is often (if not always) delivered in a sprayed manner with significant aerosolization.
"Chemical giant Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289m (£226m) damages to a man who claimed herbicides containing glyphosate had caused his cancer."
pray tell, why would a legitimate scientific inquiry need to be malicious and attempt to obfuscate contradictory research?
Uhhh to say that is quite the stretch, a jury of layman should judge the scientific consensus? The referenced International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) report is anything but conclusive. That verdict speaks more to the widespread uninformed FUD against GMO.
Uhh. You mean the lack of consensus. Which is bought and paid for by Monsanto. When it comes to their own products, they outspend any independent studies by orders of magnitude in order to create enough noise for there to be a lack of consensus long enough to make a profit. It's straight out of the tobacco industry playbook.
Another way would be that big companies do the most damage to the most people’s lives, and are a risk for humanity.
Over 80% of genetically modified (GM) crops grown worldwide are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with glyphosate herbicides.
In my experience the two most common anti-GMO arguments that I hear are: A) that GMOs can be patented, which creates IP problems when they spread, and B) that somehow human-designed species might be less safe than natural ones due to unintended health consequences of the modifications (not really sure the rationale for that one.)
Who else is going to do it? Either a judge or a jury needs to determine the facts of a case if there's a dispute over the facts.
> The company once manufactured controversial products such as the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange and recombinant bovine growth hormone.
Are there any examples of US court rulings against big American companies with comparable foreign competitors? I mean, rulings affecting only the American company? (putting it at a disadvantage)
The US is becoming a risky market for foreign enterprises, since it has become extremely politicized, like so many corrupt countries around the world.
Does anyone have any environmental attorneys they've worked with in the past they can recommend?
Background frequency of cancer? Background frequency of owning the most popular weed killer? Expected number of co-incidence?
Even people who smoke that get cancer don’t know whether it was the smoking or not. Plenty of people who don’t smoke get lung cancer too.
I’ve never seen a cause of cancer determined beyond population analyses or someone having a specific gene where the rate of cancer development is near 100%.
Edit: I should also add extremely rare cancers where people have been exposed to a known causal agent. Like mesothelioma and asbestos.
Besides if the glyphosate truly is dangerous then the risk lies with microdosing it over a long period of time, I doubt farmers quaff bottles of Roundup when they're thirsty.
Glyphosate is not. Claim was BS. Good journalists to challenge them on the spot. Bad Monsanto for making that claim. It is clearly not safe to drink. Not one gulp. Microdosing is not the point there, the claim was not made for microdosing, the claim was safe to drink.
Good journalism would've been to show how his claim is bullshit by citing sources disagreeing with the statement. But that doesn't make for good TV.
Also I disagree that the claim was that glyphosate was "safe to drink" like a soda or something, rather he said that it wasn't going to hurt you which is IMO not exactly the same thing, especially in the context which was that glyphosate was accused to cause cancer. I'm sure you could eat few spoonfuls of salt and it won't hurt you, I still don't advise doing it.
At this point I might sound a bit like a Monsanto lobbyist myself and I assure you I'm not, I'm just a bit annoyed that these types of stunts seem somehow more important than rational discussion and scientific studies. This guy is not even a Monsanto exec like claimed by the parent. I guess they revised their scripts after that.
I disagree that asking
him to drink a glass of
roundup and him
refusing is a good
This judgement is absurd and not scientifically based, luckily the judge will reduce it.
> Testimony and evidence presented at trial showed that the warning signs seen in scientific research dated back to the early 1980s and have only increased over the decades. But with each new study showing harm, Monsanto worked not to warn users or redesign its products, but to create its own science to show they were safe. The company often pushed its version of science into the public realm through ghostwritten work that was designed to appear independent and thus more credible. Evidence was also presented to jurors showing how closely the company had worked with Environmental Protection Agency officials to promote the safety message and suppress evidence of harm.
Edit: Could not find detailed information on the court case (among plenty of general articles), URL welcome.
Edit 2: jakewins had already provided a link to court proceedings: https://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/toxic-tort-law/monsanto-round...
Also, questions of exposure are not addressed here. This person was drenched in it couple of times by accident. If I use rat poison for my job vs have it rubbed or consumed in different doses, results can be quite different. Monsanto claims it's safe in any form and quantity but I don't think that's ever been verified. Level of exposure matters a great deal. There is a reason so many cleaning products have warnings on them about keeping them away from the body (though not for cancer)
Yes, the claim neatly was crafted to render all the systematically gathered evidence only tangentially relevant, so what you are left is a lay jury deciding what they feel is more probable (the civil standard being a mere preponderance of the evidence, not the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of criminal law) on a complex scientific topic without strong scientific evidence and with plenty of opportunity for factors which roster to the likeability of the parties to influence the decision.
Whatever the arguments are that this is a necessary thing to accept in the legal system (and maybe even desirable, in that it disincentives certain antisocial corporate conduct), it doesn't really say much about the underlying facts.
They are punishing that level of arrogance. If they had a warning around it, they would be in way less trouble.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
Are you willing to drink an entire glass of soy sauce to prove its safety?
You can drink small amounts of acetone (nail polish remover). Your body actually produces acetone in small quantities as a ketone body.
However, I wouldn’t agree to drink it either.
Since I can't formulate it so succinctly myself and because it answers several questions raised in previous comments here's the abstract of the article "Mesnage, R, Defarge, N, Spiroux de Vendômois, J, Séralini, G.E, Potential toxic effects of glyphosate and its commercial formulations below regulatory limits, Food and Chemical Toxicology (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2015.08.012.", but you will find similarly unsettling abstracts in many articles about this subject.
Glyphosate-based herbicides (GlyBH), including Roundup, are the most widely used pesticides worldwide. Their uses have increased exponentially since their introduction on the market. Residue levels in food or water, as well as human exposures, are escalating. We have reviewed the toxic effects of GlyBH measured below regulatory limits by evaluating the published literature and regulatory reports. We reveal a coherent body of evidence indicating that GlyBH could be toxic below the regulatory lowest observed adverse effect level for chronic toxic effects. It includes teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects. They could be explained by endocrine disruption and oxidative stress, causing metabolic alterations, depending on dose and exposure time. Some effects were detected in the range of the recommended acceptable daily intake. Toxic effects of commercial formulations can also be explained by GlyBH adjuvants, which have their own toxicity, but also enhance glyphosate toxicity. These challenge the assumption of safety of GlyBH at the levels at which they contaminate food and the environment, albeit these levels may fall below regulatory thresholds. Neurodevelopmental, reproductive, and transgenerational effects of GlyBH must be revisited, since a growing body of knowledge suggests the predominance of endocrine disrupting mechanisms caused by environmentally relevant levels of exposure.
There has been a lot of studies about Glyphosate nocivity around the years, but the three most significant are the ones led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The controversy began with a report published by the IARC, an intergovernmental agency under the authority of the WHO of the United Nations. According to this report, the carcinogenicity of Glyphosate is 'probable'.
This result was contradicted in November 2015 by a study published by the EFSA. In the face of uncertainty, many Member States refused to renew the authorization of Glyphosate, which was due to expire on 30 June 2016. Pending a new study, this time by the ECHA, the European Commission has only extended the product's registration until 15 December 2017.
This new study was published in March 2017. Like EFSA, it rejects the potential carcinogenicity of Glyphosate.
However, the potential dangerousness of Glyphosate is not ruled out. But why you asked, my good friend?
As many scientists, NGOs and politicians denounce, the IARC, EFSA and ECHA reports are not comparable. While the first one decides on marketed products, such as Roundup, the other two only study Glyphosate alone, without the adjuvants that reinforce its effects. Moreover, when IARC bases its analysis on public studies, EFSA and ECHA work mainly on data directly transmitted by industry, including Monsanto, which would make their conclusions questionable.
Yes, two of the most cited studies saying Glyphosate and Roundup are safe use data directly gave by Monsanto itself! And wait, there is more...
Christopher Portier, an American scientist, denounces those facts in an open letter sent on 29 May 2017 to Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and relayed by numerous media. "Both EFSA and ECHA have failed to identify all statistically significant cases of increased cancer incidence in rodent studies," he writes. He also states that, using Monsato own data, he has detected "eight cases of significant increase in the incidence of different tumors", which appear in neither of the two publications. Mr Portier therefore 'respectfully' asks EFSA and ECHA to 'conduct their own analysis' and 'amend their conclusions accordingly'. To base his results, the American researcher relied on data used and published by EFSA, which until now had remained confidential.
If you still do not believe that, at least, the precautionary principle should apply here and that both Roundup and Glyphosate should be banned, I don't know what you need.