The State and Industrial Agriculture: An examination of political dynamics emerging from the Bayer-Monsanto acquisition
Myers, Robert Clinton
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This thesis uses the recent Bayer-Monsanto acquisition in order to examine historical and contemporary power dynamics found throughout industrial agriculture. With the theoretical aid of Karl Polanyi and Michel Foucault, I examine how the Bayer-Monsanto acquisition is a viable site in order to reflect the interconnectedness of political and economic forces that organize societies and markets across the globe. I briefly introduce the merger-turned-acquisition between these two former 'Big 6' firms that dominated international agricultural input markets. Questions are asked such as how has the history of agriculture led to its current organization, how have these particular firms garnered such market power, and what power structures or historical economic incentives have contributed to the acquisition's manifestation? In order to address these questions I engage in an economic-historical analysis of industrial agriculture, particularly focusing on the role of the U.S. state in drafting agrarian legislation, spreading knowledge regarding production processes, and promoting particular food products to be patented, grown, and consumed across the world. Through an examination of the acquisition itself, potential economic, environmental, and political implications are presented to analyze whether historically visible strategies have appeared to evolve to become invisible overtime. Although the result of this acquisition does involve few firms governing almost entire markets, I contend that there is more at stake than simply few firms monopolizing agriculture. The Bayer-Monsanto acquisition has economic, environmental, and political implications on a host of actors, and it forces us to question the legitimacy of democratic governmental institutions across the world and where power is situated within them.
- Masters Theses