It’ll cover the years 1960 to 1990 and I thought I’d go ahead and share some with you today.
Monsanto Poisons the Public with Glyphosate
Glyphosate was a “pre-engineered answer to a new world of patented GMO seed.” Prior to its use in crops it “was used as a scaling agent to clean lime and other water deposits from industrial pipes.” It’d originally been discovered in 1950 by a Swiss chemist but no one could find a use for it.
Then in 1970 a Monsanto scientist discovered that it could act as a powerful herbicide. The Rockefeller Foundation began pouring money into research starting in 1972, perhaps viewing the herbicide as a way to control population. That same year World Bank head Robert McNamara said that world population control was needed.
The companies and the world monetary and governmental organizations sold glyphosate on the idea that it’d increase crop yields, thus ending hunger around the world.
In reality the compound destroyed soil microbiology. This was known when it was first sold in 1974, as farmers used it exclusively to kill all vegetation that was sprayed.
Besides killing plants that grow, glyphosate also kills human gut microbes. We can trace the world’s increase in disease to the infusion of “cheap, chemical-laden foods” filling our diets.
How it works is that glyphosate inhibits CYP enzymes in the body, enzymes that are critical to our gut’s bacteria. We need this bacteria because it detoxifies xenobiotics, or foreign substances in the body.
Because we’re now eating so many glyphosate-laced foods, we don’t have enough of this beneficial bacteria in our gut to stop other toxins, toxins that ironically are now being enhanced by the glyphosate.
These toxins then take over our body’s immune system, increasing inflammation and damaging our cellular systems. Dangerous substances are allowed to break into the blood, and at that point the poison can penetrate every organ in the body as the blood-brain barrier has been crossed.
In effect, glyphosate acts as a channel for disease. “As glyphosate depletes this microbiology, they are essentially destroying the human race from the inside out – ever so silently.”
It wouldn’t be until 1996 that Monsanto developed their “Roundup-ready” line of genetically modified soybeans, corn, and cotton. Planting started in the US.
Prior to that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) had only been used in tobacco plants in America. Now the food supply would be hit with the stuff. In 1974 American farmers had used 0.8 million pounds of glyphosate on their crops but by 1995 they were using 28 million pounds.
Glyphosate was the most widely-used pesticide in the country, with Atrazine and metolachlor coming in next. In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glysophate as a “probable human carcinogen.” This was based on “increased prevalence of rare liver and kidney tumors in chronic animal feeding studies.”
According to the American Cancer Society, incidences of liver cancer have “more than tripled since 1980.” About 24,000 Americans die from liver cancer each year now.
In regards to kidney cancer, the American Cancer Society tells us that “for reason that are not totally clear, the rate of new kidney cancers had been rising since the 1990s.” As of this writing, more than 14,000 American die from kidney cancer each year.
People know something is wrong with their food supply. For years people and governments have tried to get labels on their food telling them if the food has been genetically modified, such as with GMO seeds, or sprayed with GMO-seed supporting herbicides like glyphosate.
They’re blocked time and time again, however, as Monsanto and other large corporations do not want the truth to come out. If people knew that their food was poisoning them, those companies would lose money. To them, nothing is more important than money.
In 2000 the patent for glyphosate expired, meaning lots of other companies besides Monsanto could produce and market it.
In Europe glyphosate is used on up to 40% of crops. In 2015 the World Health Organization concluded that glyphosate “probably” caused cancer. It came to those conclusions after looking at a 1985 study on mice, one that had been rejected by the FDA at the time.
By 2016 1.7 billion pounds of glyphosate were being used annually.
The Waves of Corporate Consolidation
The huge uptick was “fueled in part by the increased availability of consumer credit” on such items as “automobiles, radios, household appliances, and leisure time activities like spectator sports and movies.”
The rise of TV in the 1960s further boosted spending on advertising as more and more companies sought the disposable income of American consumers. It was clear that TV networks could make large corporations a lot of money. For that reasons the buyouts began.
Mergers had been nothing new in America, for they’d been going on in the 1890s during the robber baron days. In the 1910s and 1920s the second wave of mergers started, primarily in “banking, retailing, steel, chemicals, and food products.”
The third wave of American mergers started in the mid-1950s and went to 1969, with the peak “go-go boom of 1962-1969.” This period was defined by conglomerate-type mergers, which made up 60% of all mergers. These were primarily in the electronics and military industries.
The fourth wave of American mergers got started in the 1980s. A big spur to this was the deregulation of the airline, trucking, natural gas, and banking industries by President Carter, and the deregulation of the telephone industry by Reagan. President Reagan also took an “openly relaxed” approach to antitrust policies, another spur to big corporations to merge.
In 1984 Standard of California took over Gulf Oil for $25 billion. In 1985 Nabisco Brands and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company merged for $4.9 billion.
In 1988 there was a leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for $25 billion. Those were the two largest consolidations of the 1980s, oil and snack foods.
There were other large deals as well. In 1985 Capital Cities Communication bought ABC for $3.5 billion and General Electric bought RCA, the owner of NBC, for $6.3 billion.
In 1989 Time Inc. merged with Warner Bros. in a $14 billion deal.
There were large consolidations in the American advertising industry as well. In 1982 and 1983 alone, “eight sizable agencies were bought by larger ones.” They were big money ventures. In 1987 WPP Group acquired J. Walter Thompson Co. for $566 million.
“Agency consolidations were driven by three factors,” an Ad Age report tells us, and those were:
“Banks and other lending institutions were willing to finance highly leveraged acquisitions; agencies that were bringing in huge profits had money to spend on acquisitions; and agencies were looking for ways to increase profitability.”
Larger corporations saw the revenue potential that advertising agencies could bring, and by 1990 there were just about 30 independent advertising agencies left in the country, down from the 100 that existed in 1980.
A large reason for the acquisitions was the changing nature of TV advertising. The networks no longer had the same power now that cable TV was encroaching on their audience.
Big network viewership dropped below 60% in the early-90s. Cable TV home-shopping networks also rose up to cut into advertising’s profits.
In response, advertisers dropped the standard 30-second TV advertising spot to 15 seconds in an effort to increase the number of ads seen while also decreasing the cost. In 1986 a new TV ad record was set when “The Cosby Show” began asking for $400,000 to air a 30-second spot.
There was a stall in mergers in the early-90s due to the recession but then the fifth wave of American mergers started up around 1994. “Its pattern is eerily similar to the century-ago wave of the 1890s,” Monthly Review wrote in 2001.
In 1995 CBS was bought by Westinghouse for $5.4 billion. In 1996 Capital Cities Communication, the owner of ABC, was bought by Disney Corp. for $19 billion. That same year Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner, Inc. In 1999 Viacom bought CBS for $37 billion. In 2000 Time Warner, Inc. merged with America Online.
It was seen as a mega-deal, but by 2004 Ted Turner’s personal stake in the stock of those companies dropped from $7 billion to $2 billion as more and more people abandoned AOL to browse the web on their own.
By the late-1990s mergers and acquisitions were averaging $76 billion a deal. In 1999 worldwide merger deals reached $3.4 trillion, which was equal to 34% of all of America’s industrial buildings, plants, equipment and machinery. All in an attempt to increase consumerism.
By 2015 the American advertising industry had grown to $180 billion, the largest amount spent by any country. China comes in second with $90 billion. Most of that advertising is on TV, with $71 billion spent through that medium in the US in 2015.
2016 expects to see $200 billion spent on American ads.
The Consolidation of the Banking Industry
Banking was an industry that merged a lot in the 1980s. At the end of 1984 there were 15,084 commercial banks, independent banks, and thrift holding companies. By the end of 2003, however, that number had fallen 48% to 7,842.
The vast majority of the decline in banks happened in the community banking sector, though it still makes up 94% of all banking. It’s also important to note that 3,097 new banking organizations opened during that time as well.
During those years the banking industry’s assets grew from $3.3 trillion to $9.1 trillion, an increase of 70%.
Those assets were not evenly distributed across the industry, as organizations with $10 billion in assets saw their numbers increase by 31% during those years while organizations with assets of less than $1 billion saw their numbers drop by 14%.
Banks with assets of less than $100 million saw their numbers drop 6% so that in 2003 they only made up 2% of the entire banking industry.
By 2003 a quarter of the nation’s bank deposits were held by just three large banks – Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. In 1984 a total of 42 banks had held that many deposits.
One bank alone, Bank of America Corporation, held nearly 10% of the banking industry’s assets by 2003, which came out to $512 billion in deposits and another $870 billion in assets.
The reason for this decline in banks was due to “a growing concentration of industry assets among a few dozen extremely large financial institutions.”
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