In 1995, Nobel Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Eli Weisel was introduced at a lecture by the head of Bayer, Helge Wehmeier. Wehmeier’s intro consisted of an apology on behalf of Bayer’s World War II former parent company, IG Farben. Farben ran slave labor camps throughout Nazi Germany, one of which held Weisel as a prisoner. Farben, through one of its subsidiaries was also responsible for the production of and sale to the Nazis of Zyklon B. This gas was used to kill hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of prisoners in concentration camps throughout the late 1930’s and 1940’s. Dozens of employees put on trial were convicted of war crimes yet none received long sentences and many were allowed to continue working in the pharmaceutical industry. Over ten million people died in the holocaust and I/G Farben was a crucial component of creating these atrocities. The company was also the largest single donor to Adolph Hitlers election campaign. They even purchased concentration camp workers for experimentation and forced labor. Its hard to think of a company that contributed more to the most horrible injustices in human history.
Bayer, which had been part of the Farben consortium, was able to become its own independent corporation again after the war. Their recent acquisition of Monsanto (for $66B) is the consummation of a long loving relationship between the two companies who between them made poison gasses for both World Wars and also provided agent orange during the Vietnam conflict. An action that is still causing birth defects in children today. Monsanto was even involved in the early development of nuclear weapons.
Bayer is now in the process of rebranding Monsanto which includes possibly renaming it. The names change but the ideas stay the same. Is it not remarkable that IG Farben was allowed to break up into its original components after WWII? The company ran slave labor camps during the war and actively contributed to the atrocities at concentration camps yet was allowed to stay in business. None of its employees received life or death sentences
If this website could consider itself the opposite of any other two organizations they might very well be Bayer and Monsanto.
Update: Recent liability judgements against Monsanto
May 17, 2019.- No amount of money can make up for the pain and suffering one has to endure with cancer. However, the spring courts across the country are beginning to punish Monsanto for the effects of their Roundup weedkiller. Last month a terminally ill groundskeeper was awarded $289M by a jury that determined Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, were responsible for causing Dewayne Johnson’s illness. This week a California Jury awarded over two billion dollars to a couple they determined were also given cancer by roundup. Nearly all of the judgement was for punitive damages. This is the biggest court judgement of 2019 in the U.S. as well as the largest ever against Monsanto. It is also the eight largest judgement ever in a civil case. Bayer (Monsanto’s parent company) immediately announced it will appeal Monday’s judgement. To be fair it is important to note that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not consider glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, to be cancer causing. The evidence in this case comes from independent studies that determined glyphosate to be cancer causing
There are currently over nine thousand cases against Monsanto making similar claims. This week’s judgement is seen as the tip of the iceberg as far as court cases involving Roundup. Lets do the math. If billion dollar verdicts continue at this level of judgement amounts, Monsanto can be collectively held for liabilities of nearly ten trillion dollars total. This is roughly the GDP of the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy and Brazil combined. It is a difficult number to comprehend and would dwarf any other collective court rulings in history. The largest court settlement in history happened two decades ago when big tobacco agreed to pay $206B to sick smokers. A total settlement by Monsanto would dwarf that by up to fifty fold. These massive judgements are often overridden by presiding judges. Last month’s $289B judgement has already been reduced to $78M in the case of Dewayne Johnson. Even this reduced settlement would result in an all time record settlement against Roundup if it became the mean judgement nationally ($78M per case would result in a collective judgement of almost a trillion dollars when applied to all 9,000+ cases.
The biggest thing to take away from this whole mess is that a pretty lawn is not worth the price of cancer. A uniform lawn is also not as valuable as a natural lawn. For one thing a natural lawn can be packed with wonderful species such as mint and wild strawberries. A natural lawn is sometimes better eaten than mowed. A chemical-clad lawn serves no purpose beyond looking the same as the next superficial property across the street. Laying off the chemicals puts the property in better sync with nature. Natural lawns are good for the ecosystem and provide a balanced habitat to many species of insects and birds.