In this interview, social justice and anti-GMO advocate Vandana Shiva, Ph.D., discusses her book, "Oneness Vs. the 1%: Shattering Illusions, Seeding Freedom," which she co-wrote with her son, in which she argues that the ultra-wealthy elite are responsible for a majority of the environmental, financial and health crises currently facing us.
In reality, it's really about the 0.001% — the small number of billionaires and centibillionaires who have become ultra-rich over the past 30 years or so. Most of them didn't exist before globalization. The 1% is just a useful metaphor for the ruling elite that the publisher thought would be easier to communicate.
One of the key players is, no surprise, Bill Gates, whose wealth and "philanthropic" efforts have garnered him unprecedented influence over agriculture and global health policies that threaten food security and human health.
"I was in Paris for the climate summit, and I've been doing this UN Summit since the Earth summit in '92. I've been doing the Biodiversity Convention, drafting of clauses, including Article 19.1, which basically required biosafety and assessment of GMOs. So, I was very surprised that, for the first time, the billionaires were on the stage with the heads of state," she says.
The Ongoing Transfer of Wealth
One of the "solutions" to climate change offered by this billionaire club was geoengineering, which in reality is no solution at all. As noted by Shiva, if the climate is already changing for the worse, engineering temperatures, deflecting sunlight, dumping iron fillings on the ocean and chemicals in the sky, and creating artificial volcanoes, you're simply creating additional problems without solving the original one.
At the end of the August 2020 update of the book, she also discusses COVID-19, and how this engineered pandemic has catalyzed the transfer of wealth to the rich. While global lockdowns have decimated small businesses and left many to struggle financially, the rich have amassed fantastic profits.
"The 2008 crisis was very clearly about deregulation of the financial economy," she says. "It was about collateral, it was about taking securities, bundling up risk, and then the system totally collapsed because it was really trading in fictions. But I've been working on the economy, because I started to work on the seed in 1987.
Companies wanted to own and patent life. That's how my journey on GMO started. But they also wanted to change the trade laws. They wanted to own seed as their creation. They wanted an intellectual property treaty in the GATT. I first heard this in a 1987 [United Nations] meeting.
That's when I decided: a) I would save seeds, b) I would keep track of the GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The antiglobalization movement grew out of that, and the International Forum on Globalization. We shut down WTO in Seattle, which shows the power of the people. We will not allow this lie of seed being Monsanto's invention.
I worked with our [Indian] parliament, I worked with our government to write laws. Article 3G [says] seeds are not inventions. This is what has prevented Monsanto from ripping off Indian farmers even more than they did. They've been taken to court now for the illegal collection of technology fees …
Basically, what we have today is this transfer of wealth. Monsanto's behavior is also the big tech's behavior. Do they produce anything? No. They only collect rents on digital platforms. They're rent collectors …
I saw the seed issue with Monsanto. I said, 'Here they are collecting rents from seed, which they didn't make. Then we won't let them own it.' In effect, whether it's Amazon or Gates, they're basically rent collectors. What they've done with this pandemic is literally create a closed economy, which depends on them and their rent collection."
The eight-minute video below provides a sobering summary of the massive wealth transfer that has occurred in 2020 thanks to pandemic lockdowns, during which small businesses were forced to close while giant multinational companies were allowed to stay open and thereby monopolize the market. The end result is the largest transfer of wealth in modern history.
The End of Democracy
Shiva goes on to review how India mobilized against Walmart's encroachment, which threatened to destroy local businesses. The COVID-19 lockdowns, however, have prevented the same kind of mobilization against the tech and retail giants.
As local businesses around the world have had to close their doors for months on end, Amazon.com's power has exploded. Amazon is even encroaching on grocery suppliers.
"I was just reading a paper, that the super wealthy in the U.S. have transferred $50 trillion to themselves [over the past 30 years; the globalization period] … While they rob you of your job, they're still extracting [money from] you for that forced software program on digital payments, for software programs on … digital education.
Poor Indian children, who could afford a universal education, now cannot afford education because their parents have no smartphones. So, we are seeing an engineered imposition of an economy. A healthy economy grows as an evolution with choices, with justice, with equity …
True economies would say, 'Here is what I bring. If my digital [currency is] better than your cash, choose it. Is my forced vaccination better than your immunity? Make your choice.' The minute choice is removed from people's life, democracies stop. When the choice is removed from our conditions of being, our conditions of living, then life is threatened …
What is globalization but deregulation of commerce? It is knocking down every law that was put in place by democratic societies for the protection of the environment, the protection of health, the right to education, the rights of workers. Now that's what's being targeted."
In India, they recently eliminated all labor laws, and they're trying to remove the Farmers' Rights Act, as well as environmental laws. This is what allows for the transfer of wealth to happen, Shiva says.