ETC Group. New Issue on Corporative Concentration & the rise of nanotechnologies.
16 December 2005
on Corporate Power, Oligopoly, Inc. 2005
As governments at the 6th WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong bristle with the thorny politics of trade, the report that ETC Group releases
today, Oligopoly, Inc. 2005, serves as a reminder that what looks like buying and selling between countries is most often the
redistribution of capital among subsidiaries of the same parent multinational corporation.´
only in food and agriculture, but in all sectors related to the products and processes of life - has increased remarkably since the
last review two years ago. Since then: * the world's top 10 seed companies have increased their control from one-third to one-half of the global seed trade.
* the top 10 biotech enterprises have raised their share from just over half to nearly three-quarters of world biotech sales
* the market share of the top 10 pesticide manufacturers rose modestly, from 80 to 84%, but industry analysts predict that only
three companies will survive the next decade
* The top 10 pharmaceutical companies control almost 59% market share of the world's leading 98 drug firms (previously the top 10 accounted for 53% market share of 118 companies) Hope Shand, ETC Group's research director, observes, "It comes as no surprise that corporate concentration has increased dramatically since ETC Group's Oligopoly, Inc. 2003 report. The trend line is distressing and the predictions of new mergers and greater concentration are alarming. What we are witnessing is ever more concentrated control over every aspect of life."
As the input-ers and the output-ers battle for survival and supremacy, ETC Group's report shows that a subterranean struggle is
underway at the nano-scale to control the fundamental building blocks of life and nature. Corporate investment in nanobiotechnology (or,
synthetic biology) could give ultimate control to a very different set of corporate actors. In the coming decades, nano-scale technologies, particularly synthetic biology, could make geography, raw materials, and even labour, irrelevant.
of comparative advantage in the 21st century. While corporate concentration dominates commodity trade, proprietary technologies
spanning multiple industrial sectors are the royal flush - the winning hand that beats all. The message for Hong Kong is clear:
Technology Trumps Trade." In particular, countries in the global South need to consider both corporate concentration and emerging
technology trends to avoid dead-end trade deals.
Hope Shand and Kathy Jo Wetter (USA)
tel: +1 (919) 960-5223
Pat Mooney (Ottawa)
tel: +1 (613) 241-2267
Silvia Ribeiro (Mexico)
tel: +52 55 55 632 664
The Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, ETC Group,
is dedicated to the conservation and sustainable advancement of
cultural and ecological diversity and human rights. ETC Group is also
a member of the Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation
Programme (CBDC). The CBDC is a collaborative experimental initiative
involving civil society organizations and public research
institutions in 14 countries. The CBDC is dedicated to the
exploration of community-directed programmes to strengthen the
conservation and enhancement of agricultural biological diversity.
CBDC website is www.cbdcprogram.org All ETC Group publications are
available on our website: www.etcgroup.org