Posts Tagged ‘Dow’
So says Paul Krugman…
Limited time this morning, so light blogging. But I can’t resist posting this. Jonathan Chait finds James K. Glassman, co-author of “Dow 36,000″ — a 1999 book that argued, based on some creative double-counting and other innovations, that 36,000 was the right value of the Dow at the time of publication — claiming that this week’s Dow high vindicates his ideas. But that’s not what’s so perfect.
No, what caught my eye was where Glassman went on the strength of his bold prediction. And the answer is, he’s the Founding Executive Director of the George W. Bush Institute.
Purdue University scientist Bill Johnson in soybean field confronting waterhemp
Farmer Mark Nelson bends down and yanks a four-foot-tall weed from his northeast Kansas soybean field. The “waterhemp” towers above his beans, sucking up the soil moisture and nutrients his beans need to grow well and reducing the ultimate yield. As he crumples the flowering end of the weed in his hand, Nelson grimaces.
“When we harvest this field, these waterhemp seeds will spread all over kingdom come,” he said.
Nelson’s struggle to control crop-choking weeds is being repeated all over America’s farmland. An estimated 11 million acres are infested with “super weeds,” some of which grow several inches in a day and defy even multiple dousings of the world’s top-selling herbicide, Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate.
The problem’s gradual emergence has masked its growing menace. Now, however, it is becoming too big to ignore. The super weeds boost costs and cut crop yields for U.S. farmers starting their fall harvest this month. And their use of more herbicides to fight the weeds is sparking environmental concerns…
At the heart of the matter is Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed company and the maker of Roundup. Monsanto has made billions of dollars and revolutionized row crop agriculture through sales of Roundup and “Roundup Ready” crops genetically modified to tolerate treatment with Roundup.
The Roundup Ready system has helped farmers grow more corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops while reducing detrimental soil tillage practices, killing weeds easily and cheaply. But the system has also encouraged farmers to alter time-honored crop rotation practices and the mix of herbicides that previously had kept weeds in check.
And now, farmers are finding that rampant weed resistance is setting them back – making it harder to keep growing corn year in and year out, even when rotating it occasionally with soybeans. Farmers also have to change their mix and volume of chemicals, making farming more costly.
For Monsanto, it spells a threat to the company’s market strength as rivals smell an opportunity and are racing to introduce alternatives for Roundup and Roundup Ready seeds.
“You’ve kind of been in a Roundup Ready era,” said Tom Wiltrout, a global strategy leader at Dow AgroSciences, which is introducing an herbicide and seed system called Enlist as an alternative to Roundup.
Then there are countries taking the position that reduction in use of fertilizer, pesticides, herbicide – is beneficial for farmers and consumers alike. Even if it takes a bit longer and reduces short-term profits.
Think North American farmers would stand for that?
Hundreds of tons of waste still languish inside a tin-roofed warehouse in a corner of the old grounds of the Union Carbide pesticide factory here, nearly a quarter-century after a poison gas leak killed thousands and turned this ancient city into a notorious symbol of industrial disaster.
The toxic remains have yet to be carted away. No one has examined to what extent, over more than two decades, they have seeped into the soil and water, except in desultory checks by a state environmental agency, which turned up pesticide residues in the neighborhood wells far exceeding permissible levels.
Nor has anyone bothered to address the concerns of those who have drunk that water and tended kitchen gardens on this soil and who now present ailments from cleft palates to mental retardation among their children as evidence of a second generation of Bhopal victims, though it is impossible to say with any certainty what is the source of the afflictions.
Why it has taken so long to deal with the disaster is an epic tale of the ineffectiveness and seeming apathy of India’s bureaucracy and of the government’s failure to make the factory owners do anything about the mess they left.
Dow has exhibited the same corporate avoidance of responsibility made famous by asbestos companies. Only exceeded by the cowardice and corruption of Union Carbide in the first place.
Excellent article – asking the hard questions of Indian politicians as well as corporate demi-gods.