A corporation, like any organization of people, has civic responsibilities in terms of legal and ethical conduct. Monsanto, the worldwide agrichemical business, is the subject of much legal controversy. Considering the enormous impact of their perception as it is conveyed en masse, one ought to also venture a conjecture: What if the company is not only not malevolent, but is in fact comprised in the main, of people with moderate to strong ethics, motivated by a vision of bettering mankind. This cannot be explored without considering the actions that motivate the ranks from the vast array of Environmental and Social Justice groups who so vociferously oppose them.
While they often win against their opponents, there are some significant lawsuits against the company which are contested hotly by both sides. The largest areas of lawsuits have to do with pesticides, particularly Roundup and the chemical PCB or Polychlorinated biphenyls. In the summer and fall of 2015 a number of lawsuits were filed against Monsanto accusing them that one of the main ingredients, glyphosate, in their herbicide, Roundup, has been linked to several types of cancer. These types of cancer included non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NLH) and Leukemia. The suits were precipitated by the World Health Organization’s 2015 classification of glyphosate as a class 2A probable carcinogen for humans. A Colorado based law firm is putting together a case for 50 people; similar cases have been brought in New York, California and Delaware. In these cases, individuals with cancer are suing for damages, claiming their cancer was caused by Roundup, that there was no clear warning of the products carcinogenic potential and t...
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Monsanto’s very name has at this point come to be loaded a very clear set of preconceived notions in the vast majority of the Western Public Discourse, and the positions are stated essentially as “fact” in much of that discourse. The students wanted to take a few of the most “controversial” issues around the company, and argue them from the perspective of both their virtue and of their opponents. In terms of their virtue, the students will consider both commercial virtue, and virtue as something with clear benefit to mankind. Monsanto is considered the Halliburton of agriculture, and as such, is a powerful cipher on the state of the culture and the public discourse that feeds and feeds off it. Since this is widely presented in media and academia as axiomatic, the students posed the question: Who defines axioms, and who does it serve?
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