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GMO vs. Liberty: Even Those in the Liberty Movement Demand Socialism




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So I Guess

we shouldn't have ingredient labeling either? It's socialist to do so? How come you can't buy raw milk but you can be force fed GMO's? I don't hear you bitching about THAT! Do you work for Monsanto or something?

skippy

wolfe's picture

That's crap. And I am tired of hearing it.

If you have two parties that are in competition and you say "Party A Must do X", but then when it comes time to say "Party B Must do X" you scream "socialism" or similar non-sense.

The fact is that companies like Monsanto take EXTREME advantage of the government to do EVERYTHING that they do, but then turn around and try to to hide behind the skirts of the libertarians when they are expected to pony up.

If companies are required to list ingredients, genetic material IS an ingredient, and therefore to keep the play field fair, must be stated just like any other ingredient.

Either that, or eliminate the government requirement for ALL labeling. But to say, "everyone must", oh, except Monsanto because now, on one issue we want to be libertarian.

Bullcrap... The requirement should be applied to ALL or NONE. Period.

The Philosophy Of Liberty -
http://www.thephilosophyofliberty.com/

I vote "none"

.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Cyril's picture

Same here. Plus, food for thought (pun intended) :

Same here.

Plus, food for thought (pun intended) :

what's the point of having a federal government deciding what and how to label for whom and when, anyway ? Has anyone asked the naive, genuine question ?

How come the MARKETS, themselves, cannot decide that for consumer and producers ?

Point 1.

Here's the ugly truth : pure over-regulation making. To justify the system. More bureauCRAPS, that's all what can be created eventually.

Point 2.

And EVEN ASSUMING there is ANY legitimate reason to surrender to the federal government the responsibility of this or that labeling without discussion and thru the force of neverending laws and sophisticated regulations :

point 2.a) how can ANYONE be gullible enough to think that it won't prevent - ANYWAY - powerful cronies with big funds leverage to find or craft whatever loop holes serve them in over complicating texts that require ARMIES of lawyers to be only READ ?

point 2.b) where does someone draw the line in the sand re: accuracy, from a scientific standpoint ? They force to list fats vs. sugars vs. proteins. They force to have mentioned whether the factory processed or not peanuts (for people allergic to nuts - like my son). Fair enough ... but wait. And we are supposed to believe that a free market couldn't have figured that out, AT ALL ?

This makes no sense. How can the regulation makers predict whether this or that type of equipment in the supply-chain factories should also be taken into account or not ?

The markets are almighty when they are free : just as for price discovery, I would bet my right arm that we would have saved LIVES if the markets, THEMSELVES, had found out about the hazards re: this or that, rather than waiting for all these sacred regulations to be updated in nonsensical administrative processes ... about which by the way, VERY FEW people have the slightest clues of what they consist in and WHO are REALLY making them...

My .02

Peace.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.

http://Laissez-Faire.Me/Liberty

"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

I couldn't agree more

Too often people see some problem in society and just ASSUME that the government would/could fix it, as if the government is omnipotent and omniscient, as if the government isn't just some dudes hanging out in an office building! Even if the market couldn't solve these problems (it can), and even if the government was well-intentioned (it isn't), it still isn't capable of solving them. It's a monopoly outfit with no profit motive which externalizes its costs and is only subject to the "consumers" of its services once every couple years, so it's bound to be incompetent, worse than the most ineptly managed private firm.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

I would argue that GMO is not food at all

and so should be labeled as GMO. It is like false advertising. Seriously, there are many cases of overt false advertising, such as when the label "natural" when it is actually GMO. The video makes a good point, but poisoning the food supply and killing people should not be allowed. We have a right to know what we are eating. It is almost a criminal act that they feed us frankenfoods without informing us of what they are serving.

I am Ron Paul.

It has no place in the market

They can't even grow it without contaminating everyone else's crops. And they can't sell it, without hiding what it is.

A lot of black-and-white thinking in this movement, especially..

.from anarchists. Always quick to throw around trigger words like "communism". They're this movement's version of the SPLC throwing out "racist" everywhere.

All this is is a debate over what fraud is:

A (GMO Corn): You stack ears of corn on a shelf. There is no real way for me to know whether the ears of corn are GMO or not, especially if I don't even know what GMO is. You are representing your product as the same corn everyone is used to, even though that is not true. To the consumer, maybe the unmarked corn IS non-GMO and just not advertised as such? After all, there's no duty to disclose ingredients.

B (non-GMO Corn): One way to know whether corn is GMO or not is for non-GMO corn to advertise itself as such. This puts an extra burden on non-GMO corn sellers to show that they are not GMO while the GMO corn gets to free-ride by implication.

All the law is doing is defining A as fraud and thereby shifting the disclosure costs from B to A. It makes sense as a matter of law to do this, since the non-GMO corn is actually doing the right thing via full disclosure. Laws should reward good-faith efforts.

Ventura 2012

There is a difference...

...between a legal definition for fraud, to be used in the event that a plaintiff files suit, and a positive requirement for companies to label their products.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

That's like the difference

That's like the difference between "buy healthcare or pay this tax penalty" or "pay this tax penalty if you don't buy healthcare"...in other words inconsequential.

If the law says its fraud for you to sell GMO corn as corn versus telling you to label your GMO corn as GMO corn or else its fraud, what's the difference?

Ventura 2012

The difference...

...is between courts applying a fraud standard in cases brought to them by plaintiffs after a crime has occurred, and g-men going out harassing companies for non-compliance with a regulation before any crime has occurred.

The same as the difference between prosecuting someone for shooting you, versus prosecuting someone for owning a gun because he might shoot you with it.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Read the proposition, its

Read the proposition, its largely self-enforced http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Text_of_California_Proposition_37_(November_2012) . Anyway, all we care about is enforcement being as economically efficient as possible. Ex ante enforcement may be more cost effective than ex-post, we don't know yet. The point is that its illegal to commit fraud as defined by the legislature no matter who brings the initial punitive action. Whereas in your hypo you changed the issue from assault with a deadly weapon to gun ownership.

Ventura 2012

Labeling one thing as another...

...is not fraudulent per se. Fraud does not consist in any objective facts. That is, whether an action is fraudulent cannot be determined solely on the basis of objective facts; whether an action is fraudulent depends on the understanding of the parties concerned. For example, Bob might sell a package labeled "corn" to Jones. Suppose this is actually GMO corn, and suppose that by the normative (or statutory) definition of "corn" this does not count as corn. By your approach, therefore, this would be fraud per se. But that's wrong. It's only fraud if Jones was mislead. If Jones understood that it was GMO corn, there's no fraud.

This is the problem with official definitions of products. It makes mislabeling itself the crime, when it is not the mislabeling itself which is the crime, but the misrepresentation, and there may be misrepresentation regardless of labeling, whether things are labeled in accordance with the official definition or not.

Criminalizing labeling that doesn't follow the official definitions is an injustice, and it's simply not necessary. You can protect people against fraud and torts on the basis of the existing laws governing fraud and torts, and without reference to any official definitions of products at all.

As for enforcement, if I read the law correctly, it sounds like anyone can file suit for mislabeling, correct? That is, you don't have to have been defrauded or harmed by a product to sue? That is an injustice as well. Only the victim of a crime has the right to sue the criminal. And, in practice, it suggests to me that the government might be the plaintiff in many of these suits.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

This is a good, well reasoned

This is a good, well reasoned response.

However, fraud is literally whatever it is defined to be by a legal authority. In some cases, it is better to define fraud as a "strict liability rule"(i.e. anyone who does not label their product is guilty of fraud) rather than to require all of the elements of fraud to be proven. This is the case here where the harm that results from the wrongful act is TOO ATTENUATED to be proven in court. So if I buy/eat GMO I cannot sue until I have suffered damages, in which case that could be stomach cancer 20-30 years from now and there will be no way to prove causation(that the GMO cause the cancer). Strict liability rules come into place where the burden of proof and severity of the harm are very high and the probability of detection is low. Its a shame that this discussion is relegated to the back pages of this thread. I think its pretty clear that we are now having a public policy debate over the best way to regulate fraud and no longer moralizing/name-calling like the video creator did.

Ventura 2012

A few points

fraud is literally whatever it is defined to be by a legal authority.

Yes, but that positivistic view of law only tells us what the law is, not what it ought to be, which is the question at hand.

In some cases, it is better to define fraud as a "strict liability rule"(i.e. anyone who does not label their product is guilty of fraud) rather than to require all of the elements of fraud to be proven.

Better for what purpose? I don't see how it serves the interest of justice to define something as fraud which is not fraud (labeling of products in a certain way) only because it might be correlated with actual fraud. And, practically speaking, fraud shouldn't really be that hard to prove anyway. All Jones has to prove is that he reasonably believed that the product was one thing based on the comments/advertizing/labeling/whatever of the seller, and it was in fact another. Moreover, fraud isn't even the crux of the issue. Fraud (from a libertarian perspective) is a pretty trivial matter. Someone guilty of fraud is liable for nothing but the return of the money paid for the misrepresented product. Prosecution for fraud isn't going to make Monsanto shake in its boots. The way to go after Monsanto, or anyone else selling harmful products, is to sue them for damages, which brings us to...

This is the case here where the harm that results from the wrongful act is TOO ATTENUATED to be proven in court. So if I buy/eat GMO I cannot sue until I have suffered damages, in which case that could be stomach cancer 20-30 years from now and there will be no way to prove causation(that the GMO cause the cancer). Strict liability rules come into place where the burden of proof and severity of the harm are very high and the probability of detection is low.

It seems to me that if the causal connection cannot be proven, then there is no liability. If something cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or by a preponderance of the evidence, in a court of law, then on what grounds can we say we know that it is in fact the case? Is it reasonable to assume liability precisely because it can't be proven?

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

#1. If the question is only

#1. If the question is only what fraud "ought to be" then why did you repeatedly define fraud so as to show that what I am saying is/should be fraud is mistaken? Anyway, water under the bridge.

#2. And how in God's name can you call me a legal positivist when you are arguing for common law defined by judges instead of by a freaking public referendum?!? Aren't you the one saying that the law is what the judge says it is regardless of what the people actually believe should be the law? A judge is supposed to "discover what the law is" according to the "traditions and customs of THE PEOPLE". If the judge's ruling is at odds with the people then it is not the common law.

#3. I told you why its better, because common law fraud provides basically no recourse against GMO producers. So you agree with me that fraud should be easier to prove, I agree, hence why this referendum was a good thing.

#4 You're conflating contractual "fraud" with tort fraud. I'm unaware of a libertarian that wants to abolish tort law. In fact it is VITALLY important to anarchists that a very robust tort law be developed.

#5 Had the people been convinced that GMO causes damages by some evidentiary standard, they would have passed the referendum. You can establish causation as a matter of law, that is what strict liability is. This is the people of a State establishing the causal connection instead of leaving it up to judges, juries, and legislators. Again, SOMEONE has to decide the issue. Might as well be the people. Someone has to decide these rules of evidence and conduct.

Ventura 2012

this is disrespectful

The author of this video aught to just admit he is an anarchist.

Not everyone in the liberty movement is ready to disavow all laws.

Many- if not most, free market Austrian economists, for example, believe in laws against fraud. And that is precisely what prop 37 aimed to do - prevent fraud.

There are already laws against fraud.

People who have been defrauded or harmed by products already have recourse to the courts. Mandatory labeling has nothing to do with fraud. No more than a gun ban has to do with laws against shooting people.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

If there are already laws

If there are already laws against fraud, then what's wrong with redefining fraud? Legislatures make the laws first and foremost.

Ventura 2012

To prosecute fraud...

...you don't need official definitions of products. It's absurd for the government to officially define corn, milk, beer, etc. It's the role of a judge in a trial to determine whether a product was misrepresented. You use common English definitions. You're not calling for a redefinition of fraud, you're calling for a redefinition of "corn" or "milk" or whatever. I think it's ridiculous. The State has no business doing it at all. I'm not defending the current definitions. nor any changes to those definitions. Get rid of them all.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

GMO corn and Organic Corn are

GMO corn and Organic Corn are either two different things or they're not. Someone has to decide which. A judge has to decide whether there WAS an misrepresentation by defining the term. He has to apply a standard. Its either his interpretation common law or the legislatures. Who cares which definition prevails as long as its the right one? FYI Judges are state agents and common law is law. If anything, I think a referendum defines the real "common law" a lot better than a single judge.

Ventura 2012

I totally agree. And if you

I totally agree. And if you think the definition of corn is well established, and that GMO corn is not corn by the commonly understood definition of the term, then take these companies to court using existing fraud laws. There is no need to "redefine" anything.

thanks for posting

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I disagree with Paul...

Austrian Economics and the Ron Paul philosophy represent a point of view; putting GMOs in our food is an overt act of public health sabotage and should not be permitted unless the food is labeled as such. Why should Americans be expected to "eat at your own risk"? Government has a responsibility to protect the public against known health risks in our food; a food producer should not be allowed to sell this without informing the consumer. An agency that rates or grades produce would be fine and good, but in the meantime the mass poisoning of our food system without public knowledge must be stopped. IMO what is going on in the food industry is criminal.

Nothing comes to those who wait.

"Why should Americans be

"Why should Americans be expected to "eat at your own risk"?"

That's just the thing. No on is -ever- expected to "eat at his or her own risk". The market should demand that companies label their products as to whether or not they contain GMOs, or they should not purchase them. Nearly 50 percent of California's voters asked for Prop 37. If 50 percent of California residents stuck to their guns and demanded products clearly labelled as not containing GMOs, they'd get what they wanted. Period. Instead, they -don't- stick to their guns. Instead, they say "oh well" when the proposition fails and go back to dutifully purchasing GMOs, being too lazy to take responsibility for their lives other than the 5 minutes it took to vote.

We LIVE at our own risk

But you make a good point. The LAW is meant to protect not plunder.
There is an argument that I don't subscribe to that could be viewed as liberty minded that goes as you state the LAW should protect against any one, any corporation or the market in general if it has the potential to harm.

The problem with that argument is the subject line of my reply.

Please subscribe to smaulgld.com

"what is going on in the food industry is criminal"

What specifically are these crimes, and who are the victims?

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Crimes...

Recent studies have found GMOs to cause in lab animals: gigantic tumors, downline generation sterility, birth defects and DNA alterations, among other biological anomalies. No long term independent testing has been done to determine what long range effects GMOs may have on humans, animals, bees and other insects, or the water supply. Some pesticides sprayed on food have been shown to cause a wide range of illnesses and birth defects, and the actions (and lack of action) of our government with regard to food safety have lead to a situation where the public has no idea what they are eating or feeding their children. I am in favor of individuals assuming responsibility for their choices; I also believe that government (state government) has a duty to protect the public (as much as possible) from the kind of havoc being inflicted on people as the result of deliberate misinformation from the drug and agricultural industries. The victims are everyone who believes the food is safe when the producers know it is not, or when Swat teams raid raw milk dairies with guns, or when HFC gets added to 80% of what most people eat, even though it's been proven to be damaging to human health.

Nothing comes to those who wait.

If a product causes someone harm....

...that person can sue for damages.

That's how we deal with these problems in a free society. There's no need for the government to force producers to label their products or otherwise regulate their activities. You have no right to force someone to do or not do something in order to prevent them from possibly harming someone; you only have the right to force them to make restitution if they have in fact harmed someone.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

How to Sue

when you KNOW something is making you sick but you can't PROVE it. Why are you holding up for the likes of Monsanto? Millions of farmers have sued Monsanto and most of them lost those cases because Monsanto BUYS out the courts and lawyers. Might as well sue the government for all the good it does.

skippy