Corporate Takeover of Universities

Corporate influence in university medical research has become a big problem with massive conflicts of interest, and undermining of independent research.  Instead universities are increasingly working for big Pharma, big medidine, and now big Agro.  Just another reason to beware what higher education degrees.  This from Care2

Colleges that began as cultivators of ‘open-source’ agriculture are now incubators of patented, corporate agriculture

Institutions of higher learning such as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UofI) for instance, or Iowa State University (ISU) were originally founded as land-grant colleges, which means the federal government helped fund their building on federal land for the purpose of researching and teaching agriculture, science, and engineering for public benefit. But today, many of these land-grant colleges have essentially been taken over by private interests with little concern for anything other than their own profits.

“The idea of the land grants was to generate agricultural research, funded by the federal government, that benefited society as a whole. And that’s pretty much how things went for the first century,” writes Philpott. “But then, starting in the 1980s, the federal government started to level off its investment in ag research […] That’s when food and agribusiness companies, which were then in the process of consolidating into the vast global enterprises we know today, began to funnel huge amounts of cash into land grants.”

But even the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which used to more closely represent the interests of the people, has become nothing more than a tool for promoting industry interests rather than public interests. So whether the funding comes from the USDA or directly from private industry, it is essentially all now going towards the promotion of GMOs and chemical-crop systems — little, if any, is used to develop improvements in non-GMO, organic, and sustainable agriculture systems.

Mother Jones commenter Linda Ferris said it best when she wrote, “The ‘sell out’ by colleges and universities is no surprise for readers who have lived in communities around any one of the systems mentioned in the article […] This (agricultural schools) is Monsanto’s new incubator of technology and propaganda — a factory of making money on the cheap by controlling these institutions and using their students to do their research and work.”

Be sure to read the entire Mother Jones piece for a more comprehensive understanding of how private corporations are brainwashing the next generation of farmers into embracing corporate agricultural systems:
http://www.motherjones.com

Sources for this article include:

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/public-research-private-gain/

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/14/monsantos_college_strangehold/

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