By Colin Todhunter –, 17 September 2015



The mantra of global agribusiness companies is that they care about farmers. They also really care about humanity and want to help to feed a growing world population, preferably by using genetically modified (GM) crops. They say that they want to assist poor farmers by helping them to grow enough to earn a decent income. It seems like a win-win situation for everyone.

To listen to the PR, however, you could be forgiven for believing that these companies are driven by altruistic tendencies and humanitarian goals rather than by massive profit margins and delivering on shareholder dividends.


To promote itself and its products, the US multinational company Union Carbide came out with a series of brochures in the nineteen fifties and sixties with powerful images depicting a large ‘hand of god’ in the sky, which hovered over a series of landscapes and scenarios in need of ‘fixing’ by the brave new world of science and the type of agricultural technology to be found in a pesticide canister. One such image is of a giant hand pouring chemicals from a lab flask upon Indian soil, with a pesticide manufacturing factory in the distance and Mumbai’s Gateway of India opposite.

It was a scene where science met tradition, where the helping hand of god, in this case Union Carbide, assisted the ignorant, backward Indian farmer who is shown toiling in the fields. The people at Union Carbide didn’t do subtlety back then.

We can now look back and see where Union Carbide’s helping hand got the people of Bhopal and the deaths caused by that pesticide factory depicted in the image. And we can also see the utter contempt its top people in the US displayed by dodging justice and failing the victims of Bhopal. There’s humanitarianism for you: playing god with people’s lives and denying responsibility.


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