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Free-market hypocrites


Here's today's provocative question from Professor Hightower: Why do so many giant corporations hate the marketplace?

Yes, hate. Oh, sure, CEOs loudly proclaim themselves to be free-market worshippers, and they piously preach against the cardinal sin of government interference in the awesome workings of the holy marketplace. But after church, these corporate executives slink into the back alleys of devilish government to procure subsidies, regulations and other favors to satisfy their profit lust.

Take the case of Monsanto Inc., which makes a product known as BGH that forces cows to produce more milk. Aside from the damage this does to cows, BGH is essentially an artificial sex hormone that is passed through the cow's milk to people who drink it.

Guess what? Consumers especially mothers do not want their families drinking sex hormones. So there has been such a consumer outcry against BGH milk that numerous dairies and supermarkets now offer milk that's labeled as being free of artificial growth hormones, so consumers can have a clear choice. Splendid! That's the free market at work, right?

Right, but Monsanto hates it! We must have new government regulations to outlaw these additive-free labels, cries Monsanto, because they mislead consumers into thinking there's something wrong with sexed-up milk. So lobbyists for Monsanto and its BGH users have been swarming state governments, demanding that regulators interfere in the sacred marketplace. Our competitors must not be allowed to tell shoppers what's not in their milk, wail these lobbyists, for this information "confuses" consumers.

The confused ones are the corporations confused on the concept of the free market. If they're so proud of BGH milk, they should have their own labels declaring: "Mmmm, yummy! Milk with artificial sex hormones added!" Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, on sale now from Viking Press. For more information, visit

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