The real story behind Wikileaks

If you don’t follow current events much, you may have missed the Wikileaks story.  It’s a fascinating one, dealing with technology and government, and the fundamental belief by many today that all information should be free and open.  Bottom line, hundreds of thousands of internal and some very highly confidential government documents have been leaked to the public.

I see two important points here, so far, there’s nothing sensational… There’s no plots by the US government to assassinate foreign leaders, there’s no new “Iran-Contra” scandals,  there’s no big revelation of a secret government effort to cover up the “real” details on 9/11.  In short, while there’s lots of juicy little tidbits here and there, there’s not a lot of significant news.  Surely that must be a bit disappointing to all the conspiracy theorists?    I mean, with the massive amount of information that’s been leaked, if our government was really covering up some of the awful things the’ve been accused of, surely it would show up somewhere?

Which brings me to my second point:  Saw this tweet from Jeremiah Owyang:  “Wikileaks proves there really aren’t any secrets anymore. If the US Gov can’t keep info quiet, who can?”  Think about that statement from what you often see the agriculture industry accused of on Twitter.

There’s a lot of change happening in ag, some if it is concerning, sometimes we wonder where the future will lead.  I just was sent a very well written post on this topic “The Vanishing American” Difficult issues there for sure, but lets start by dealing with reality, unlike what some would have you believe, we find not one shred of evidence that there’s some vast conspiracy by large, corporate agriculture to destroy the family farm.  There’s not one bit of evidence that any of these companies or organizations have little but there stated, public objectives as their purpose.

If the contrary was true, why don’t we seen any “Agribusiness Wikeleaks”?  If there’s all kinds of secret, behind closed doors scheming going on, in the age we live in, surely some of it would have leaked out?

The challenges we face in agriculture are significant, from a public that’s skeptical of modern production practices to the challenges of fewer and fewer farm families.  To solve those problems we have to start with an honest assessment and evaluation of whats causing them, and not follow whatever the current hot meme may be.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rob Wallbridge on November 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    No, there’s no conspiracy on the part of large, corporate agribusiness to destroy the family farm. They have no dark, secret agenda, you’re absolutely right. They are filling their stated objective, just as you say.

    So do we absolve them of all responsibility, praise their work, and go searching for causes elsewhere?

    Not for a second.

    Their “publicly stated objective” is to make money for their shareholders, period. That is a corporation’s reason for being, and a corporation that failed to fulfill this objective would not exist for very long. We can’t blame them for that, anymore than we can blame the coyote for attacking the sheep. But do we stand idly by and let it happen? Do we accuse those who try to protect their flocks of engaging in conspiracy theories against coyotes and tell them to mind their own business?

    No.

    We recognize that their interests are not necessarily our interests, and we work to protect our interests. In the case of large corporations, we recognize that our farms, our families, and our communities have intrinsic values that are more important than the next quarterly shareholder earnings report. We recognize that what may be best for the corporations selling us inputs and buying our outputs may not always be what it best for our farms. And we recognize that when our options are severely limited on both sides of that equation, there is the potential for abuse of that power. And so we work to take a broader perspective, to protect our interests, to balance the power, to give ourselves options, and the freedom to choose them.

    Corporations are not out to destroy the family farm, but they are certainly not out to save them. We need to decide what it is important to us, to our families, and our communities — what our vision of the future of agriculture looks like. Then we need to work towards that vision, working with those who share that vision, and striking a balance with those who pursue other ends.

    Reply

    • Lots of good thoughts Rob, thanks for sharing. I liked your last paragraph so well I’ll just copy and paste it again, couldn’t agree with it more:

      “Corporations are not out to destroy the family farm, but they are certainly not out to save them. We need to decide what it is important to us, to our families, and our communities — what our vision of the future of agriculture looks like. Then we need to work towards that vision, working with those who share that vision, and striking a balance with those who pursue other ends.”

      What I’ve realized, probably through a lot of the connections I’ve built in social media, is that corporations are made up of actual people, just like communities are, just like governments are. People are what matter, I’ve worked with good people that are part of big corporations, I’ve worked with good people that are the most fiercely independent family farm folks I’ve ever seen. I suppose there’s bad people in both categories as well, I guess our values don’t align enough that I find myself working with those folks that much.

      Reply

  2. I liked your blog post this morning. I have a little different perspective in relation to your opening, but thought your connection and second point as it related to ‘Big Ag’ was spot on!

    I can understand ‘whistle blowing’ and believe that it can be healthy. However, when it comes to matters of National Security, the safety of our men & women in the armed services and the potential effectiveness of our intelligence community I draw a line.

    While I agree that most of what has been ‘leaked’ has been relatively harmless, the fact that the individuals behind the wiki-leaks are flaunting and seemingly threatening to release more, that could be detrimental, that, is unacceptable. In my humble opinion.

    I too, concur with Rob’s last paragraph pertaining to corporations. We have seen what has happened to the poultry and pork industries and cannot afford to allow it to happen to beef and others.

    Great post Darin.

    Reply

  3. Posted by terry on April 20, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Rubes….

    Reply

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