Robert Reich on Environment

Former Secretary of Labor; Democratic Challenger MA Governor


Lawsuit-enforced monopoly on seeds led to tripling prices

Monsanto, the giant biotech corporation, owns the key genetic traits in more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted by farmers in the United States and 80 percent of the corn. Its monopoly grew out of a carefully crafted strategy. It patented its own genetically modified seeds, along with an herbicide that would kill weeds but not soy and corn grown from its seeds. The herbicide and herbicide-resistant seeds initially saved farmers time and money.

But the purchase came with a catch that would haunt them in the future: The soy and corn that grow from those seeds don't produce seeds of their own. So every planting season, farmers have to buy new seeds.

Since 2000, Monsanto has more than doubled the price of corn and soybean seeds. The average cost of planting one acre of soybeans increased 325 percent between 1994 and 2011, and the price of corn rose 259 percent.

Source: Saving Capitalism, by Robert Reich, p. 34-5 , May 3, 2016

Supports Smart Growth and protecting open space

Open space is a high priority. I will encourage communities to participate in the Community Preservation Act, to protect open space. I strongly support the Environmental Bond Bill -- essential to protect and restore rivers, streams, lakes, and water supplies, as well as habitats and open spaces across the Commonwealth. And I will reauthorize the major open space accounts at a level that allows managers to plan and allocate resources over the longer term. I’ll extend the Self-Help and Urban Self-Help programs to provide direct acquisition grants to nonprofit land trusts for the purchase of open space.

I’ll also use “smart growth” economic-development strategies to focus growth on older communities with under-utilized infrastructure that can be rehabilitated and retrofitted -- while at the same time discouraging suburban sprawl, strip malls, and destruction of open spaces. And I’m in favor of restoring chemically-contaminated sites through “Brownfield” development that’s socially just.

Source: Campaign site RobertReich.org, “Our Environmental Heritage” , May 2, 2002

World environmental agency should impose emissions rules

Rather than try to weaken international institutions, progressives should push them in a different direction. We need a World Bank that coordinates real debt relief for third-world nations; an IMF that conditions loans on investments in education and strong social safety nets rather than on fiscal austerity; a global patent office that forces drug manufacturers to slash prices on pharmaceuticals needed by poor nations; a global health institution capable of attacking AIDS and cracking down on the trafficking of women and children for prostitution; a world environmental agency that imposes strict emissions rules; and an international peacekeeping force that responds immediately to tribal genocide.
Source: The American Prospect, vol.12, no.17, “Proper Global Agenda” , Oct 8, 2001

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Page last updated: May 02, 2021