It is with a strange mix of emotion that the country watched Bill Gates step down from his reigning post at Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT). After all, it is with gratitude that we recognize the role that his technology has played in making our lives easier.
Yet many also share the sentiment of Steve Jobs, whose choice words about the Microsoft founder convey strong sentiment felt by many who have for years hesitatingly handed over access to our personal, professional and private information, allowing it to be controlled, licensed and patented under the proprietary ownership and technology of one innovator.
Bill Gates' ambition, drive and intellect are legendary, without a doubt. The strategy with which he implemented such market dominance of a patented and licensed software, a technology upon which the world became dependent, is nothing less than awe inspiring. While we revere his ability in the US, we stand alone in our admiration. In the EU, the courts have challenged Microsoft's monopoly. Around the world, others have pirated his technology. Regardless, there is not a country on the planet that has not been impacted by Gates' work.
So what is a man of his stature, wealth and intellect to do now? A man of this nature, drive and intellect is not one to sit idle for long...
He has launched a philanthropic movement among the wealthy, challenging them, in the words of the Economist, to "Keeping Up with the Gateses." But perhaps there are also indicators that he is being groomed for a role in government...
As the United States continues to find resistance to the acceptance of genetically modified crops, as recently demonstrated by the Supreme Court's split ruling on genetically engineered alfalfa, a superhero of epic stature, wearing a "GMO" cape just might be needed to save the day.
And given that the genetic engineering of the food supply with patented and licensed chemicals and technology is essentially creates "technofood" with the biotechnical design of "food's operating system," Gates' expertise would come in handy for the monopoly wishing to drive their patented technology further into our food supply.
Should he choose to enter the revolving door between industry and government, Mr. Gates would join other government officials who have done the same, including Donald Rumsfeld, Clarence Thomas, the Clintons and a cast of characters worthy of a John Grisham novel. Not only would he bring his prestige, power and much needed pennies to the government, but, like Rumsfeld, Justice Thomas and the others, he would also be able to leverage the work that he has done on behalf of Monsanto.
In his new role in "the public arena", Gates and his Monsanto colleagues that he has assembled at the Gates Foundation, (www.monsanto.com), could advance their objectives together: the technological advancement of agriculture and aquaculture, arguably two of the world's most vital industries in a time of overpopulation and food and water shortages.
Gates experience with patented and licensed technology, his influence as an innovator and his reputation as a trusted intellect could in turn promote the adoption of Monsanto's licensed and patented technologies around the world, particularly testing new agricultural technologies in Africa. It is almost certain that Gates' depth of knowledge in successfully navigating the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well as anti-trust regulation, would prove a valuable asset to Monsanto's product penetration of their "technofood" and agricultural and agrichemical strategy going forward.
Additionally, with his recent appearances before government committees in Washington, DC, Gates might lend a "white knight" aura to the American biotech industry, which in its infancy, has alienated government agencies around the world (www.iht.com). Gates might, furthermore, be able to advance the objectives of the arctic seed vault, a "doomsday" scenario project detailed in the New York Times, in which the Gates Foundation and the biotech industry have been actively involved .
Given his wealth of experience in patented and licensed technology and his growing interest in the technological development of agriculture, it would come as no surprise should Gates step into a leading role at the United States Department of Agriculture or the Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps in a newly created position like Chief Technology Advisor whose responsibilities might be to oversee the global adoption and deregulation of agrochemical technologies now found in our food and fuel supply.
Gates' technological insight and depth of knowledge regarding licensed and patented technologies would be an asset to the EPA and his presence an asset to the current administration focused on corn and agricultural commodities. Given that corn, used for both food and fuel, has been transformed through technological advances in chemical and genetic engineering to produce an insecticide in its cells (thereby ensuring profitability and promised yields given the increasing demands placed on this commodity) it is now regulated by the EPA as an "insecticide" (source: www.epa.gov) containing patented technologies licensed to Monsanto and is no longer simply reuglated by the FDA and USDA as "food".
Additionally, Gates could quickly navigate the EPA with the insight of a mentor, friend and Seattle neighbor, Bill Ruckleshaus, who is intimately familiar both with the inner workings of the EPA as well as the strategies of Monsanto, as the two are both alums of Seattle's Lakeside school, two of the city's respected "Seattle-ites" and Rucklehaus served not only as the head of the EPA, but also as a board member for Monsanto for over a decade .
What a remarkable power play it would be. This marriage between the Microsoft and Monsanto could have the appearance of a white knight riding through the Golden Gates, not only saving American agricultural exports, but also reinforcing the claim of the biotech industry' and their marketing appeal to save the planet using patented technology and chemically laden products.
But should this "white knight" head to Washington, DC, perhaps, just perhaps, before we greet him at the Golden Gates as our "knight in shining armor", we should take a look at the Trojan Horse that he just might be riding in on and the "GMO" flag. It will, no doubt, be waving.
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