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Big Corporations Have An Overwhelming Amount Of Power Over Our Food Supply

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

From our fields to our forks, huge corporations have an overwhelming amount of power over our food supply every step of the way.  Right now there are more than 313 million people living in the United States, and the job of feeding all of those people is almost entirely in the hands of just a few dozen monolithic companies.  If you do not like how our food is produced or you don't believe that it is healthy enough, it isn't very hard to figure out who is to blame.  These mammoth corporations are not in business to look out for the best interests of the American people.  Rather, the purpose of these corporations is to maximize wealth for their shareholders.  So the American people end up eating billions of pounds of extremely unhealthy food that is loaded with chemicals and additives each year, and we just keep getting sicker and sicker as a society.  But these big corporations are raking in big profits, so they don't really care.

If we did actually have a capitalist system in this country, we would have a high level of competition in the food industry.  But instead, the U.S. food industry has become increasingly concentrated with each passing year.  Just consider the following numbers about the U.S. agricultural sector...

The U.S. agricultural sector suffers from abnormally high levels of concentration. Most economic sectors have concentration ratios around 40%, meaning that the top four firms in the industry control 40% of the market. If the concentration ratio is above 40%, experts believe competition can be threatened and market abuses are more likely to occur: the higher the number, the bigger the threat.

 

The concentration ratios in the agricultural sector are shocking.

 

-Four companies own 83.5% of the beef market.

 

-The top four firms own 66% of the hog industry.

 

-The top four firms control 58.5% of the broiler chicken industry.

 

-In the seed industry, four companies control 50% of the proprietary seed market and 43% of the commercial seed market worldwide.

 

-When it comes to genetically engineered (GE) crops, just one company, Monsanto, boasts control of over 85% of U.S. corn acreage and 91% of U.S. soybean acreage.

When so much power is concentrated in so few hands, it creates some tremendous dangers.

And many of these giant corporations (such as Monsanto) are extremely ruthless.  Small farmers all over America are being wiped out and forced out of the business by the predatory business practices of these huge companies...

Because farmers rely on both buyers and sellers for their business, concentrated markets squeeze them at both ends. Sellers with high market power can inflate the prices of machinery, seeds, fertilizers and other goods that farmers need for their farms, while powerful buyers, such as processors, suppress the prices farmers are paid. The razor-thin profit margins on which farmers are forced to operate often push them to "get big or get out"—expanding into mega-operations or exiting the business altogether.

Of course the control that big corporations have over our food supply does not end at the farms.

The distribution of our food is also very highly concentrated.  The graphic shared below was created by Oxfam International, and it shows how just 10 gigantic corporations control almost everything that we buy at the grocery store...

And these food distributors are often not very good citizens either.

For example, it was recently reported that Nestle is running a massive bottled water operation on a drought-stricken Indian reservation in California...

Among the windmills and creosote bushes of San Gorgonio Pass, a nondescript beige building stands flanked by water tanks. A sign at the entrance displays the logo of Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water, with water flowing from a snowy mountain. Semi-trucks rumble in and out through the gates, carrying load after load of bottled water.

 

The plant, located on the Morongo Band of Mission Indians’ reservation, has been drawing water from wells alongside a spring in Millard Canyon for more than a decade. But as California’s drought deepens, some people in the area question how much water the plant is bottling and whether it’s right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining.

Nestle doesn't stop to ask whether it is right or wrong to bottle water in the middle of the worst drought in the recorded history of the state of California.

They have the legal right to do it and they are making large profits doing it, and so they are just going to keep on doing it.

Perhaps you are thinking that you can avoid all of these corporations by eating organic and by shopping at natural food stores.

Well, it isn't necessarily that easy.

According to author Wenonah Hauter, the "health food industry" is also extremely concentrated...

Over the past 20 years, Whole Foods Market has acquired its competition, including Wellspring Grocery, Bread of Life, Bread & Circus, Food for Thought, Fresh Fields, Wild Oats Markets and others. Today the chain dominates the market because it has no national competitor. Over the past five years its gross sales have increased by half (47 percent) to $11.7 billion, and its net profit quadrupled to $465.6 million. One of the ways it has achieved this profitability is by selling conventional foods under the false illusion that they are better than products sold at a regular grocery store. Consumers falsely conclude that these products have been screened and are better, and they are willing to pay a higher price.

 

The distribution of organic foods is also extremely concentrated. A little-known company, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) now controls the distribution of organic and natural products. Publically traded, the company has a contract with Whole Foods and it is the major source of these products for the remaining independent natural food stores. This relationship has resulted in increasingly high prices for these foods. Small manufacturers are dependent on contracts with UNFI to get their products to market and conversely, small retailers often have to pay a premium price for products because of their dependence on this major distributor. Over the past five years, UNFI's net sales increased by more than half (55.6 percent) $5.2. billion. Its net profit margin increased by 88 percent to $91 million.

Everywhere you look, the corporations are in control.

And this is especially true when you look at big food retailers such as Wal-Mart.

Right now, grocery sales account for about half of all business at Wal-Mart, and approximately one out of every three dollars spent on groceries in the United States is spent at Wal-Mart.

That is absolutely astounding, and it obviously gives Wal-Mart an immense amount of power.

In fact, if you can believe it, Wal-Mart actually purchases a billion pounds of beef every single year.

So the next time someone asks you where the beef is, you can tell them that it is at Wal-Mart.

On the restaurant side, the ten largest fast food corporations account for 47 percent of all fast food sales, and the love affair that Americans have with fast food does not appear to be in danger of ending any time soon.

Personally, if you do not like how these corporate giants are behaving, you can always complain.

But you are just one person among 313 million, and most of these big corporations are not going to consider the ramblings of one person to be of any significance whatsoever.

Collectively, however, we have great power.  And the way that we are going to get these big corporations to change is by voting with our wallets.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans seem quite satisfied with the status quo.  So the population as a whole is likely going to continue to get sicker, fatter and less healthy with each passing year, and the big food corporations are going to keep becoming even more powerful.

 

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Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:27 | 4963312 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Profit From Junk Food System.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:47 | 4963429 CCanuck
CCanuck's picture

Not surprised, see all the junkies out there...on a food system that turns them into zombies.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:04 | 4963505 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Interesting quick visual look at food around the planet. Note how many American products end up in other countries and how 'cheap' the junk food is compared to real food. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2319825/The-great-global-food-ga...

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:54 | 4963953 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

Consumers only real choice is to consume MOAR or MOARER.

Consumer's give up any real power to choose when they become consumers.

Do my cattle, rabbits, and chickens get to choose what they want to eat?  No.

The producers get to choose to feed you whatever is most profitable.

Don't be a consumer, be a producer, if you really and truly do, "...WANT to make better choices."

 

This Rabbit Hutch Kills Fascists...

 

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-02-28/rabbit-hutch-kills-fasci...

Terrine of Rabbit

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:19 | 4964148 dirtscratcher
dirtscratcher's picture

A big hat tip to ya Hedgeless, from a fellow producer. Like you I raise New Zealnd rabbits for meat but I also have chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, goats (dairy), a couple of hogs, and two beeves. It's really, really cool knowing where my food comes from and what's in it.  Fascist corps. got no hold on me, at least as far as food is concerned.

Now if I could only cure my brown thumb maybe my veggie gardens would be as productive.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:23 | 4964159 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

...if I could only cure my brown thumb...

MOAR horse manure.

It's really, really cool knowing where my food comes from and what's in it.

Amen.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:03 | 4964833 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

 

...if I could only cure my brown thumb...

MOAR horse manure.

 

-Chicken litter is probably even better Any animal waste works though (except human waste, I think). compost, cover crops in the off season (radishes, rye, clover, etc. - depending where you're at)...

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:12 | 4964859 Xanadu_doo
Xanadu_doo's picture

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2319825/The-great-global-food-ga...

 

-Damn, there are a lot of FUGLY people all over the world!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:37 | 4964073 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Yeah, krispkritter, that was an "interesting quick visual look at food around the planet!" (For me, it was second look, because I have seen that before.)

Regarding: "Note how 'cheap' the junk food is compared to real food." The government subsidies of food production are an inverted pyramid, in the sense that there is a correlation that the less healthy any kind of food stuff is, then the more that is subsidized. While the most healthy food stuffs tend to be the least which receive various forms of subsidies from the government.

Of course, similar groups of people benefit from the Profit From Junk Food System, as benefit from the Profit From Disease System. All in all, the ways that the profits from legalized lies have been able to be reinvested in legalizing even more lies appear to have already driven the USA beyond the event horizon of a social black hole. The ways that the revolving doors between the funding of research, and the government regulators, and the corporations, etc., have developed means that Junk Food is subject to Junk Science.

In my opinion, is impossible to exaggerate the degree of runaway, criminally insane consequences which follow from the triumphant corruption of the political processes, resulting in JUNK SCIENCE DETERMINING THE "SAFETY" OF JUNK FOOD. E.g., "the FDA has determined that foods developed through GEO processes are no different than foods developed by traditional plant breeding." That was similar to how the issues of the degree of bio-hazards from electromagnetic pollution was simply side-stepped, by making presumptions that there could not be any harms. Junk science tends to rubber stamp things as "safe," in ways which tended to by-pass doing any actual science.

Of course, the single simplest symbol of that was the way that hemp, which is the best plant on the planet for food, was rebranded with huge lies that "marijuana is almost as bad as murder," which resulted in all cannabis cultivation being completely criminalized. EVERYTHING ELSE FOLLOWS THAT PATTERN. The Profit from Junk Food and Profit from Disease systems are related through the social pyramid systems, whereby they all cascade down from the Profit from a Diseased, Junk Money System, which has been able to systematically pay for corrupting every aspect of politics, and all social institutions, for more than a Century, as the funding of the political processes became a vicious spiral of the profits from fraud reinvested in more fraud.

At the present time, the JUNK SCIENCE that has resulted from the profits from fraud being able to be invested to develop fraudulent science has some of the worst possible longer term consequences. The false fronts of "scientific rationality" have actually become more and more perverted by the funding of the political processes, including the funding of "science" so that it has ended up profoundly perverted, and mostly inverted. "Scientific rationality" is now primarily the pretentious presentation of LIES, serving vested interests.

Another recent article featured on Zero Hedge has a correct title: Why America's Healthcare (Sickcare) System Is Broken And Unfixable

EVERYTHING regarding American civilization, including all other countries, to the degree that they are integrated into that kind of American civilization, which is like Neolithic Civilization on steroids, Is Broken and Unfixable. Indeed, my view is that the only way to PERHAPS fix these problems, such as Profit from Junk Food and Disease Systems, is to go through a series of profound intellectual scientific revolutions, which could then apply to politics. All of their problems in the USA are related to the ways that its monetary and taxation systems were perverted and inverted about a Century ago, which then provided more and more leverage to pervert and invert every other social institution, by their funding driving them to become more and more fraudulent.

Looking at the almost totally privatized "money" made out of nothing as debt system, it is clearly a FACT that the USA became based on about 99% legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. Furthermore, that problem then ran amok throughout every other social institution, resulting the triumphs of Junk Science being the basis for almost all forms of government regulation of industries. (With the limit case, expressed as the most extreme particular example, being marijuana laws.)

To fully understand the degree to which the Neolithic style of civilization, through which farming was based on human farming, or slavery systems, operating through backing up lies with violence, one needs to move past the ways that we were taught to think about time and space, to understand that those were profoundly wrong. Similarly, the ways that we were taught to think about entropy were perfectly inverted by the insertion of an arbitrary minus sign into the entropy equations of thermodynamics and information theory. Not only DO we actually live inside of Bizarro Mirror World, where everything is proportionately backwards and distorted, because the foundation was success in warfare based on deceits, which then became success in finance based on frauds, but also, along the way, everything else got dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories, to become perverted and inverted.

That overall situation currently looks like it "Is Broken and Unfixable," because we tend to still stay inside the tangled maze of the Bizarro Mirror World, while the only genuine solutions are to understand that enough so that we, figurative, go THROUGH that Mirror. As long as we stay within the same frame of reference of the biggest bullies' bullshit promoting false fundamental dichotomies, and related impossible ideals, then we stay within the Bizarro Mirror World, where everything is perceived backwards to the ways they really are.

Big Banks, and other Big Corporations, were built on the basis of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, and they have been able to put every other aspect of society into a high powered drive of promoting enforced frauds. Thereby, We the People were reduced to Zombie Sheeple, while the combination of the Profit from Junk Food and Disease Systems has literally made many of them practically be Zombies, due to damage to the brains, going beyond merely being brainwashed to believe in bullshit. However, despite that having reached the point of nearly 99% saturation of society, various false "solutions" to those problems continue to promote going backwards, because they continue to stay within the same frame of reference, by staying inside of the Bizarro Mirror World perception of everything backwards. Instead, the genuine solutions are to push through, to reach 100%, because that is actually the way things truly are. We should wake up to the degree to which we were taught to see everything backwards, on the most profound levels, because that is the only genuine way to perhaps fix the problems which are otherwise "Broken and Unfixable" as long as we stay within the frame of reference of the Bizarro Mirror World, where we perceive everything backwards, but are not aware of that!

Human realities were always organized lies, operating robberies. Human beings always lived as robbers in their environment. Civilization developed agriculture, and human farming (slavery through social pyramid systems) as systems of organized lies, operating robberies, because human beings necessarily operate as entropic pumps of energy. However, the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories where able to dominate everything, including the development of the philosophy of science. We utterly fail to develop better human, industrial, and natural ecologies, because we were taught to see everything backwards, while we were simultaneously taught to believe we were seeing things correctly. Therefore, everything is almost totally backwards, and that perverted inversion is getting worse, faster.

The social facts are that governments are the biggest form of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gang of criminals (which is expressed through phenomena like a handful of enormous corporations dominating food production, and dominating food distribution even more so, while, on the flip side, the single best plant source for protein and oil, hemp seeds, was criminalized.) The money controls the food, which controls the people, which has become junk money controlling junk food, controlling junk people. However, the ways that the controlled opposition groups now tend to respond to those runaway problems are to stay within the Bizarro Mirror World view, and so, call for marginally decreasing the degree to which the world is already about 99% controlled by legalized lies, backed by legalized violence.

Instead, my recommendation is that we need to go THROUGH the looking glass of that Bizarro Mirror World, to understand that human beings necessarily always operate systems of organized lies and robberies, in which context there can be relatively different dynamic equilibria between those different systems of lies backed by violence. The reasons why we have ended up with such extremely unbalanced systems, which have actually become about 99% corrupted, and almost inconceivably crazy, which includes that the actual political applications of "science" have become about 99% junk, is that we operate out of profoundly false political paradigms, which includes that the basic aspects of the established philosophy of science are also backwards.

Junk philosophy of science facilitates junk money, which then enables junk food, to create junk people. At the present time, it is practically impossible to imagining reversing those trends. However, in theory, intellectual scientific revolutions in the philosophy of science, which then apply to politics generally, and especially to the monetary system, then might enable there to be better food for better people. However, obviously, at the present time everything is headed in the opposite direction faster, so that it appears to require some series of political miracles to improve a social situation which otherwise looks like it has become "Broken and Unfixable!"

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:27 | 4963314 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

That's not food, nor is it my food supply...

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:40 | 4963392 PTR
PTR's picture

And Olive Garden is not Italian dining.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:28 | 4963617 greatbeard
greatbeard's picture

>> my food supply...

Two companies have my food supply by the nutz, Johnny's Seeds and Ball Jar.

 

 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:15 | 4964124 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

Johnny's Seeds are the shit! Never had anything bad from them ever. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:44 | 4965169 jimmytorpedo
jimmytorpedo's picture

Johnny's seeds are mostly hybrids.

Try seed savers exchange instead.

They are not the shit, they are actual seeds which produce plants which you can harvest more seeds from.

Just sayin',..

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:35 | 4963364 Zirpedge
Zirpedge's picture

You can keep your low grade poison, er food.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:36 | 4963371 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture

Grass Fed all the way......and barter too !!!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:38 | 4963377 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

93% of Americans want GMO foods to be labeled.  But your government will not permit that in the land of the free.

Eat your toxic food and follow it up with fluoridated water.

 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:46 | 4963425 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yeah, that was the one issue that broke me out of my no vote stance in Cali. Of course that proposition failed and I was proven once again that voting doesn't matter.

Miffed;-)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:48 | 4963439 Zirpedge
Zirpedge's picture

It matters, just who is doing the counting.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:06 | 4963825 Thought Processor
Thought Processor's picture

 

 

There is growing evidence that both 'Round Up' weed and insecticide chemicals and 'Round Up Ready GMO seeds' which are not effected by the Round Up chemicals (both from Monsanto of course) are enabling a widespread epidemic of several different diseases.

 

 

Scary shit.  

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:44 | 4964006 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

What also scares the hell out of me is their development of terminator technology.

Terminator technology refers to plants that have been genetically modified to render sterile seeds at harvest (through an inducible molecular mechanism, which means that the gene for seed sterility or germination can be turned on or off from the outside – by treating the plants with a chemical or other factor). It is technically known as a Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURTs. Terminator technology was developed by the multinational seed/agrochemical industry and the United States government to prevent farmers from saving and re-planting harvested seed developed by biotechnology and seed corporations. Terminator has not yet been commercialized or field-tested but tests are currently being conducted in greenhouses in the United States.

Can you imagine if this leapt into nascent wild plant populations? Dear God, this could end life on this planet! Absolute psychopathic insanity.

Miffed;-)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:15 | 4964135 Tijuana Donkey Show
Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

What if it jumped into the financial sector? Could be useful on Wall St...

 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:30 | 4964182 jemlyn
jemlyn's picture

Could that be why the broccoli, zucchini and cucumber plants I got at the local nursery have not produced any food?  Three years in a row.  This year I will have tomatoes from seeds I grew in the window sill and from some broccoli but the boughten ones still have nothing.  Has anyone else had this problem?  I am beginning to suspect a conspiracy.  It's easy to do with all the others we know about.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:51 | 4963447 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

response from my senator

Thank you for contacting me about genetically-engineered or genetically-modified (GM) foods.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Farmers have been growing GM crops like corn and soybeans for some time.  At this time, there is no federal law requiring producers to label GM foods or foods containing GM ingredients.  Supporters of GM food labeling argue that consumers have a right to know what ingredients are in their food and if any of those ingredients raise health or environmental concerns.  Opponents argue that labeling GM foods is misleading because it implies a warning about health effects when no significant health differences between GM and non-GM foods have been detected, according to the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association.

Several pieces of legislation related to the labeling of GM crops and ingredients, on both sides of the issue, have been introduced in the House and Senate.  In May 2013, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment to the 2013 farm bill that would have allowed states to require labeling for any food or beverage with a GM ingredient; the amendment failed by a vote of 27 to 71.  In April 2013, Senator Barbara Boxer similarly introduced the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, which would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to clearly label GM foods.  In April 2014, Representative Mike Pompeo introduced the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which would grant the FDA sole authority to label GM foods, should they be proven unsafe.

As Congress considers proposed legislation it is critical to balance concerns for safety with policies that encourage innovation. I believe we should closely study the potential health and environmental risks of new GM products before they are grown by farmers or sold at the grocery store.  At the same time, we should keep in mind that many of the foods we consume today are the product of countless years of agricultural modification.  We should exercise appropriate caution in examining modified foods but should not jump to conclusions based on suspicion not backed by scientific proof.

I will be certain to keep your views in mind should the Senate consider legislation affecting GM food or labeling.  Again, thank you for contacting me.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine


Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:59 | 4963487 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Your senator needs to watch this video of Dr Stephanie Seneff of MIT talking about GMO foods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_AHLDXF5aw

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:12 | 4963854 Thought Processor
Thought Processor's picture

 

+100

 

Thanks for posting.  

 

Pretty fucked up.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:05 | 4964089 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Senator's real response:

"Margaret, get those GMO companies on the line, I think that we have enough letters and calls to get them to "contribute" more. And send this sap another canned-response."

 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:15 | 4964131 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

Exactly.  I got two of these pretty much identical form responses after emailing on two seprate occaisons.  I replied letting him know his argument was flawed

"we should exercise appropriate caution in examining modified foods but should not jump to conclusions based on suspicion not backed by scientific proof."

douche. 

Let him know I look forward to voting him out next chance I got.

Pointless I'm sure, but made me feel better.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 18:51 | 4964780 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

With respect, but voting in a criminal system is participation in its, their, criminality, and complicity in their crimes against you.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:51 | 4963453 msmith9962
msmith9962's picture

Response when I questioned my oatmeal

Thank you for contacting us regarding our Quaker products. 

None of the oats, wheat or barley used in our products -- across all brands -- are grown from genetically modified seeds. In fact, genetically modified seeds for these crops are not currently commercially available in the U.S.

That said, we’re glad for the chance to provide some clarification about genetically modified ingredients. When it comes to safety, the FDA has determined that foods developed through this process are no different than foods developed by traditional plant breeding. And in fact they conclude that these GM foods don’t differ from other foods in any meaningful way.

Finally, all of our products (worldwide) comply with all applicable food laws and labeling requirements. Quaker relies on and supports the regulatory agencies charged with safeguarding our food supply when sourcing ingredients for our products. We are committed to using only safe and approved ingredients for our products.

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us, Matthew, and hope this information is helpful.

Jeff
Quaker Consumer Relations
A Division of PepsiCo

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:07 | 4963832 Esso
Esso's picture

Wow, that's off the charts on the bullshit scale. All the alarms are howling.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:11 | 4964112 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

Notice how they hide behind "laws."

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.”
? Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:41 | 4963389 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Yeah the average American has power through their wallet.  Sure.  The end result of any 'free market' capitalism system is a market where you have a tighly controlled oligopoly/duopoly/monopoly.  The only thing that can break it up is gov't intervention usually unless there is a dramatic and innovative technology which over a short term makes the older competitive noncompetitive. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:51 | 4963746 F-Tipp
F-Tipp's picture

"The only thing that can break it up is gov't intervention usually unless there is a dramatic and innovative technology which over a short term makes the older competitive noncompetitive."

Tell me how great the government is doing at intervening to break up these "tightly controlled oligopoly/duopoly/monopoly" companies. Have you considered that the revolving door between regulatory agencies and government provide these companies with this ability? Free markets don't exist as people conceive them anymore. Try to start up your own farm, sell your product and see which government agency arrives first to shut you down.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:53 | 4963754 4r7lukm
4r7lukm's picture

"Yeah the average American has power through their wallet. Sure."

Absolutely. People like junk food. What you really mean is you want to dictate your tastes to other people.

"The end result of any 'free market' capitalism system is a market where you have a tighly controlled oligopoly/duopoly/monopoly."

We don't have a free market in most sectors of the economy. As for the food supply, it is not an oligopoly/duopoly/monopoly, and the article clearly states there are dozens of players, not one or two. Profit margins are not huge in this sector. Aside from state influence, the main factor determining the number of players in any market is economies of scale, which are different depending on the business. Yes Monsanto is scum, but they rely on the state and intellectual property laws, which are completely bogus.

The only thing that can break it up is gov't intervention usually unless there is a dramatic and innovative technology which over a short term makes the older competitive noncompetitive."

There is no historical basis for your claim. The vast majority of monopolies are state-enabled and wouldn't exist without gov't intervention. In the rare situation where a company has market dominance without state backing (think Apple when the iphone first came out, or Google in web search) it's usually because they're offering a product that provides customers with something no one else knows how to provide. As for technological progress, that has always led to changes in markets and market players. Many factors lead to dominant players coming and going. There was a time when the car business was dominated by American and German companies, but that didn't last and now Japanese and Korean makers are huge players.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:44 | 4963406 gcjohns1971
gcjohns1971's picture

Are you kidding?

The PURPOSE of the income tax is to enable government through tax law to cartelize and consolidate industries into fewer hands.

Woodrow Wilson and the rest of the North Eastern intellectual establishment were after this, EXACTLY THIS -and they put it in writing. 

Having a unified tax policy rather than a collection of excise taxes incites the more powerful businesses to lobby Congress to create tax benefits for THEIR business plan, and tax obstacles to their competitors.  It is THE WHOLE POINT OF THE EXERCISE.

The creation of Government Departments to manage everything through "Regulation" are the direct and inevitable result of the lobbying.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:02 | 4963500 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Your right there wasn't any systematic and concentrated efforts by private industry in the 1870s and onwards at cartelize and consolidating industries.  Pick up a history book and read about late 19th century American financial and historical trends especially regarding trusts and how they are utilized.   

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:58 | 4963782 4r7lukm
4r7lukm's picture

Much of the cartelization that went on back then was state-enabled. That said, the monopolization that went on was peanuts compared to the graft that goes on today thanks to massive government.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:07 | 4963517 Sven Sikztu
Sven Sikztu's picture

@gcjohns1971

who the hell would down-vote the above comment? fckin' govt sucking scum...

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:44 | 4963407 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

The problem is the disconnect people have between what they put in their mouths and their health. They use a multitude of medications just to keep themselves functioning but these themselves cause health problems. Then I see 500lb people literally shocked when they break a bone and the dr tell them they may not survive surgery due to their weight, high BP, COPD and cardiac problems. They see it as one would a car with a worn out part. Unfortunately a human body is far more complex. Reality hits home when it is too late.

Miffed;-)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:44 | 4964004 813kml
813kml's picture

I'm sure that I will be labeled an asshole for saying this, but I have zero sympathy for people who can't make the connection between diet and health.  I know that junk food is cheap and many people can't (or don't think they can) afford healthy food, but if someone is so absolutely dense that they can't put two and two together then they deserve to be thinned (ha!) from the herd.  In this day and age of the internet one has to be willfully ignorant in order to be that clueless.

It's like a smoker who wonders why they are short of breath or an alcoholic who can't quite pinpoint the cause of their pounding headaches.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:54 | 4964049 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I understand what up you are saying and somewhat agree. When I was very asleep 10 years ago I was in chronic pain and 50# overweight. I was buying expensive shoes and always complaining my feet hurt( I stand 8 hrs a day at my job) . When I flipped off the medical world and took responsibilityfor my own health I lost the weight and to my surprise I could wear regular shoes and be pain free. But I woke up on my own being somewhat of an asshole and was tired of Drs telling me what to do. May be people are just too pliant today.

Miffed;-)

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:46 | 4963420 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

This does miss the huge and prevalent trend though among people starting people who are home gardening though and the dramatic rise & prevalence of community gardens again.  A little dated and there are various estimates I have seen out there but it has exploded in the past several years.  

http://www.gardenresearch.com/files/2009-Impact-of-Gardening-in-America-...

Home gardening peaked during WW2 and the 'Victory Gardens' and it diminished and lagged ever since as a % of households but it is definitely a rebounding trend that is here to stay for several reasons.  Ditto 'farmers markets' too although they are so broad in nature. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:09 | 4963533 Imminent Collapse
Imminent Collapse's picture

Know and support your local organic farmer.  Otherwise, don't complain.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:47 | 4963432 thatthingcanfly
thatthingcanfly's picture

Here's how it works. The corporations fund Team America. Then Team America goes police the world. And the corporation people sit up in their corporation buildings, and they're all corporationey, and... hmmmph.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:48 | 4963442 samsara
samsara's picture

Know your food,  Know your Farmer.      It's easy. 

Join a CSA.   (Community Supported Agriculture)

Know your meat is good, Know your Veg. & Fruit are good.

Find one Near You.  

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Local Food For Local People.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:58 | 4963481 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

This is very sound advice. Pay a little extra even if you have to, keeping these people in business is the last link we have to local food production. If the day ever comes that any of us will have to spend some personal time working on a farm to have access to the production (at any cost) then these will be the only farms still operating.

I've belonged to several over the years. Don't now because we have a very healthy farmer's market culture around town, which I happen to prefer. Usually it's the same bunch of producers either way.

Need to stat thinking in real terms about food production issues. The coming fail in energy centralization equals a fail in factory-scale food production. Which means, just about everything in the aisle of the local mega-chain market.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:52 | 4963452 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Why make a fuss about vendors of junk food?

Now the interesting question becomes: who supplies all of our meat, corn and dairy?

I guess they didn't want us thinking about those names?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:53 | 4963466 ZDRuX
ZDRuX's picture

Don't like the food they're selling? Grow your own food and stop complaining.. it's always somebody else's fault.. /smh

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 13:57 | 4963479 Racer
Racer's picture

"Bread & Circus, Wild Oats Markets "

What ridiculous names!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:05 | 4963513 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Biggest scam with GMO seeds isn't their harm on people but that their incremental and sustained improvements on yields.  That is the thing Monsanto really fears and has been even more paranoid about squashing open and transparency research on because why pay the ridiculous prices if the yields aren't even statistically significant improved over 3 or 5 years. 

That is the real racket with GMO. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:08 | 4963531 DOT
DOT's picture

These are the chosen "winners" in the big game of a centrally controlled system. The government has created these companies to better your meager existence. Eat your fuckin' peas Doritos!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:22 | 4963590 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

Cargill, ADM and Tyson didn't even get a mention?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:26 | 4963606 TheObsoleteMan
TheObsoleteMan's picture

These are just the manufacturers and packagers. Above them are the producers, WHO ARE EVEN FEWER. Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Tyson, etc.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:30 | 4963615 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

Don't forget Smithfield Foods...now owned by the Chinese.

Largest pork producer in the United States.

 

...not to mention ConAgra

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:46 | 4964017 813kml
813kml's picture

I thought that DC was the largest pork producer.

Learn something new every day.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:43 | 4963690 svc101
svc101's picture

Because Brando's got electrolytes.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 14:44 | 4963696 db51
db51's picture

These Mother Fuckers can burn in hell.   I farm, and right now prices are under the cost of production thanks to these blood sucking leeches.  Farmers are too fucking stupid to put a halt to this insanity.    In 2001 a bag of corn seed wholesale was $ 24.00/unit.   It is now $ 200.00/unit.   Corn prices went from $ 1.90 in early 2000 to $ 7.00 only for a short time during the 2012 drought....then China and USDA started massaging carry over numbers, acreage reports etc to keep prices down.   Corn prices are about the same now as they were in the 60's and 70's.....when a combine cost $ 5K as opposed to $ 450,000.00.  We're fucking screwed, make no mistake about it.   We get ass fucked by ADM, Cargill, Bunge, Monsatan, John Deere et. al daily. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:04 | 4963813 blue gkm
blue gkm's picture

BOTTOM LINE this food makes us sick!!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:15 | 4963866 css1971
css1971's picture

Well. I can time heartburn to 3 hours 30 minutes after I eat some bread... So yeah it does.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:07 | 4963826 22winmag
22winmag's picture

Who eats that crap?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:07 | 4963827 blue gkm
blue gkm's picture

high fructose corn syrup is a silent weapon. why do you diabetes is takeing off in industeralized nations? stop drinking soda pop people

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:48 | 4964024 813kml
813kml's picture

And aspartame is even worse.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:11 | 4963852 GoatHerder
GoatHerder's picture

The GoatHerder loves this subject. Its quite simple buy from your local farmers market or on farm sales. Most people would rather skip the farmers market and just stuff some crap down their gullets. I raise sustainable pastured pork and goat so I am not controlled by crony agribuisness. I wish everyone on zerohedge would make the effort to visit a local farm or farmers market and purchaes some real food you can stab a banker in the backw hile improving your general health.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:12 | 4963855 overexposed
overexposed's picture

This all started with the Federal government regulating the f--k out of everything under the sun.  Small, family-run farm operations CANNOT survive in the regulatory state that Upton Sinclair and his socialist compatriots have built over the past 100 years.

As always, in order to INCREASE competition, you must DECREASE government.

Something that will never happen in your or my lifetime, folks.  Hedge accordingly.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:13 | 4964113 Joe A
Joe A's picture

I don't like big government either but dominance by big food companies and biotech happened because government is in bed with big business. Monsanto managed to get so big because Bush the Senior deregulated the FDA. That entailed firstly that an ex Monsanto lawyer became boss at the FDA (and hence dictated policy there), that scientists at the FDA were made redundant or they left out of frustration, and it led to the situation where the FDA actually doesn't research GMO but that the approval process is based on evidence (not peer reviewed) delivered by biotech companies themselves....

Overregulation might apply perhaps to small companies but big corporate interest makes sure they get off the hook somehow.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 15:48 | 4964023 Joe A
Joe A's picture

Read 'GMO myths and truths'. 300+ pages full of information about GMO and what it is and what it isn't.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:01 | 4964076 kchrisc
kchrisc's picture

While the graphic is alarming, I wonder how much more alarming it would be if Ashkenazi interests and control in these corps. were also highlighted?!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:16 | 4965087 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

That's a lot of cheese for the provolone popes!

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:11 | 4964116 Likedeeler
Likedeeler's picture

"It is all about leverage" as Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation said once in a Forbes interview for their global mission.
Place a few millions here and there and be able to steer the big fleet of stupid investment money.

If I was a big bad billionaire I would construct a leverage that I could steer the prices of food by manipulating my own commodity prices.

I would make for example use a mandatory blending of food into the very much bigger commodity like mineral oils and by that control the prices of food.

oops

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:05 | 4965047 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Price is but one concern. Quality / content of food is another.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:15 | 4964126 samsara
samsara's picture

The Chive even did a spread on it, and blew up each company individually.

http://thechive.com/2014/07/16/10-companies-that-have-a-stranglehold-on-the-food-market-11-photos/

Keep Calm

and

Chive On

KCCO   Tylers

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 16:19 | 4964147 TinF0ilHat
TinF0ilHat's picture

I don't buy even 1% of those products.  This also does not show all the organic companies these large companies own. 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 17:44 | 4964532 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Or a lot of those companies' foreign/alternate brands.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 17:42 | 4964519 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

10K an acre for cropland to purchase.  We always hear how broke the farmers are but drive through any small farming community and look at the pickups in the diners.  They are not all 10 plus years old,  far from it.  What has gotten out of control is the spiraling prices of everything.  Feed, fertilizer, seed,  petroleum ,  equipement and transportation.  It is one big whirlwind of monopoly money.  Everyone knows it too.  I may have been born yesterday but it wasn't late at night.  I don't know what the black swan event will be or when the Fed and DC run out of fingers to plug dikes not dykes with,  but when the flood begins you better already be in the hills and out of the markets.  Farm on,,,,

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 17:46 | 4964539 potato
potato's picture

The problem isn't the increased efficiencies of giant corporations.
The problem is that there are no consequences for misbehaving

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 18:05 | 4964596 4r7lukm
4r7lukm's picture

This article is junk.

"Nestle doesn't stop to ask whether it is right or wrong to bottle water in the middle of the worst drought in the recorded history of the state of California."

It's not as if bottled water is water being wasted -- it's for drinking, the most important use of water. People are more likely to waste tap water than waste bottled water that they paid for.

"and whether it’s right to sell water for profit in a desert region where springs are rare and underground aquifers have been declining."

If water isn't being sold at a profit, then that implies price controls. Price controls always lead to poor allocation of scarce resources, and that will make a shortage worse, not better.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 20:19 | 4965093 durablefaith
durablefaith's picture

go troll somewhere with gullible readers, you are wasting your time here.

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 18:18 | 4964650 mastersnark
mastersnark's picture

Americans are conditioned to "Buy Corporate" via their insatiable TV watching. We might as well make that the US motto

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 18:49 | 4964760 AdvancingTime
AdvancingTime's picture

 Horse meat mixed with beef was found last year in Ireland, then Britain, and then expanded steadily across the Continent. The situation in Europe created unease among American consumers over whether horse meat and other surprises might also find its way into the food supply in the United States. How good is your memory, or how far back do your reference points go, do you remember Soylent Green? More on this tasty treat in the article below.

http://brucewilds.blogspot.com/2013/03/horse-meat-and-soylent-green.html

 

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:05 | 4964841 durablefaith
durablefaith's picture

its not about profit. profit, flavor, and low prices are merely the tools the elites use to get useful idiots to implement their agenda. their agenda is control of food supply as a weapon.

dont be a useful idiot. grow your own food, buy or barter from a neighbor (hyperlocal).

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 19:47 | 4964983 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

LDSPrepper
Wranglerstar
Meat Trapper

Get control of your own food supply, cut these fuckers off at the knees. Of course... this usually means controlling your land & water too. Sometimes that's more of a problem than it ought to be which means the solution includes migrating.

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 02:01 | 4966187 litemine
litemine's picture

Look what Peacock Oil did with the Hopi Indian's water.....

Hydrotransported coal. With Potable Water. 3 Million Gallons a DAY.     The documents were missrepresented and employee's of the Coal Companies were the Leaders who sold out others.....While...................................The Profits helped some (FEW) to live the AMERICAN DREAM.

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 10:44 | 4967362 sam site
sam site's picture

 

The French GMO Seralini Rat Cancer Toxicity study should have convinced the world of the deadly danger of GMO foods and it's toxic sidekick Roundup, with the results showing the rats developing tumors after the 3rd month. 

Sadly the public gets captured through toxic injury from a long list of poisons in a deliberate campaign to chemically dumb down and disable the health of the public.  Few realize, this poisoning campaign goes beyond industry profits and aims to suppress knowledge of and possible elimination of the criminal Jesuit banker-owned Fed where the profits are far bigger than pesticide sales or GMO food.  Follow the far bigger money and that's banker scams like Fractional Reserve Banking.

View this to understand this poisoning capturing campaign of the public

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB3xcN_eoPo

 

  

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!