When Robert B. Shapiro, presented his new plans for world conquest, he surely felt he had earned his keep as one of the highest-paid CEOs in history. As head of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto, he wanted to own a controlling interest in the world’s food supply also.
By the late 90’s, Monstanto already held GMO patents for many key crops; soybean, corn, canola, and even wheat (more on that later). They also held patent on the so-called “Terminator” gene, which offered almost unlimited power over anyone using their seed, whereby it became sterile after one generation, forcing you to buy Monsanto seed every year. Monsanto then embarked on a worldwide campaign to own all the major seed companies in the world. Truly a commercial-industrial wet-dream, fully in the spirit of (but too clever for) the “doctrines of Trump.”
I remember watching the almost tearful apology video by Monsanto CEO Robert B. Shapiro of 1998, where he apologized profusely to everyone it seems; shareholders, consumers, academics, researchers and governments; everyone collectively outraged by this “Frankenstein” scheme. He announced he was withdrawing the “terminator gene” and he was “very, very sorry” for ever having tried to us it in the first place (just try to find that video nowadays). His company, Monsanto was spun-out, and the parent company became “Pharmacia.” The old name had just become too toxic for shareholders and to the public at large.
Monsanto however, had it’s considerable monetary potential, due to it’s massive leverage over farmers worldwide, therefore the investors who were unburdened by ethical concerns were free to support Monsanto unencumbered. In the two decades since, they have been fairly prosperous, but all plans for world conquest seem to have been shelved.
GMO wheat? Yes, it exists, but all traces of it were removed from the industry, because it was also considered part of the “bridge too far” strategy that turned Monsanto from a world-beater, into a dirty word.
Robert B. Shapiro? Still around, but not drawing anything like the godlike salary he once had.
Farmers? Still complaining about being indentured to Monsanto, but like the frog in the pot, being slowly being brought to a boil, most of them are used to it now. Maybe Monsanto is regretting that it wasn’t their whole strategy from the beginning.