1) A ploy by companies to intervene in a process (the act of growing food) so that they can extract rents from those dependent on that process; a way to own a patent on what currently (and for over a billion years) occurs naturally and without the company’s involvement.
2) A device certain companies use to establish a market for its pesticides and herbicides.
3) An excuse for growing of monocultures and for the use of herbicides and pesticides; the seed being the first in a chain of harmful actions that destroy habitats and ecosystems.
Organisms are constantly changing through evolutionary processes. So modification is not, on its own, contrary to the planet’s ecosystems. However, when people alter an organism a number of questions must be asked before the alteration is deemed to be beneficial or hostile to humans and other living things:
What is the plant being engineered to do? Is the plant being engineered to taste better or be more nutritious? Is it being engineered to survive a drought or to be more beneficial to the complex web of insects and microorganisms in the soil? Or is it being engineered so company can sell more ecosystem destroying herbicides and pesticides? Is it being developed so that industrial agricultural companies can consume more land with monocultures that deprive some species of habitat and kill others? Or is the plant being engineered so a company and its shareholders can hold a patent and thereby intervene in the process of growing food so they can set its rules?
A company with a patent on a GMO seed achieves, by the imperatives of the accounting statement, one of the most desirable conditions: it becomes a rent-seeker, year after year collecting a fee on an existing properties with negligible competition and without the need to make further investments to improve the product. (What advocate of GMOs is proposing that the patent for the seed be publicly owned or in the intellectual commons?)
GMO seeds are currently used in corn, soy, wheat monocultures that rely heavily on pesticides, herbicides and industrial scale fertilizers. These pesticides and herbicides are often found in lakes, streams, water supplies and many of them have been found in honey, birds, fish, and the blood streams of people.
There may be, in the future, GMO seeds that are beneficial. But, currently, most prevalent GMO seeds are a Trojan Horse for pesticide and herbicide sales or for patent ownership.
Eating products made with GMO corn, for instance, or beef from cattle fed with GMO corn, benefits the chemical companies that sell the pesticides and herbicides used on those crops and whose products are now pervasive in ecosystems.