The glories of the intellectual property imperium! (from Occupy Monsanto)
GMO giants DuPont have contracted dozens of retired law enforcement officers to begin patrolling farms in the US next year to spot any potential intellectual property theft.
DuPont Co, the second-largest seed country in the world, is hoping to find farmers that have purchased contracts to use their genetically modified soybean seeds but have breached the terms of agreement by illegally using the product for repeat harvests. Should farmers replant GMO seeds licensed by DuPont, they could be sued for invalidating their contracts.
This reminded me of my teacher Sam Bowles talking about guard labor (I Google and am glad to find that he still talks about it). Excessive supervision that pays for itself by keeping down wages, prison guards, etc: a great deal of labor is devoted to just watching people who, in a better structure of motivation, would not need to be watched at all.
(To say nothing of the fact the the part of guard labor that consists of prison guards is devoted to keeping prisoners out of the labor market, so that’s everybody’s effort wasted: on this see Bruce Western and Katherine Beckett, and John Quiggin. But I digress.)
Further Googling tells me that Bill Totten, who has a company that distributes open source software in Japan, has made just the same association between IP protection and guard labor.