If international commerce is too important to leave to generals

| Monday, February 27, 2012
I came across this while researching TRIPS (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), essentially the WTO telling members that they have to follow a common set of IP rules or be removed.

If war is much too important a subject to leave up to generals, as Bismarck said, the rules of international commerce are far too important to leave up to government bureaucrats.

-James Enyart, Director, International Affairs,
Monsanto Argriculture Company

Now that's a fun one to pick apart. The generals are the ones who get instructions and carry them out, hopefully in an effective and efficient manner, but who cannot be trusted to actually decide which wars to fight. The generals are subordinate, servants, to the leader, in this case, Bismark of Germany (or Otto from Bismark, which is in Germany).

Would that make the government bureaucrats the servants? Yes. And good! They should be servants. But in service to whom? Clearly Mr. Enyart thinks they should be in service, not to the people of their respective countries, but to those who wage international commerce: corporations.

It's no coincidence that I found this while researching that subject. TRIPS created and mandated many IP rules, with exceptions such as, "to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment..." How nice of them! But the exception has an exception, "Members shall provide for the protection of plant varieties." This is what allows seed varieties to be patented, a development which has led to many protests in the developing world, with Monsanto specifically as a frequent target.

I'll end this here, with more to say later on this subject.


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