At a time when just three corporations – Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta – control 55% of the world’s commercial seeds, industrial farming interests in the Brazilian Congress have introduced a bill that aims to overturn the country’s 10-year old ban on Terminator technology – seeds that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds. The technology is designed to secure corporate profits by eliminating the age-old right of farmers to save and re-plant harvested seeds.
Terminator & 'New Enclosures'
The genetic modification of plants to produce sterile seeds (dubbed "Terminator" technology by ETC Group) has been widely condemned as an immoral application of biotechnology. If commercialized, Terminator would prevent farmers from re-using seed from their harvest, forcing them to return to the commercial seed market for every planting. But Terminator is just one of a range of technological and legal strategies that corporations are developing to exercise monopoly control over the stuff of life -- strategies that ETC Group refers to as "New Enclosures." Non-patent approaches, such as genetic trait control, satellite surveillance, and digital rights management software could be used to impose new monopolies beyond intellectual property as the predominant means of corporate control in the 21st century.