FOCUS: LESTER BROWN AND DENNIS AVERY
The Cartel `Experts'
Decide Who Eats
by Charles Tuttle and Marcia Merry Baker
Among the most prominent of the so-called experts on food and agriculture policy that you are likely to see yakking in your newspaper and on television, are Lester Brown and Dennis Avery. Their notoriety does not reflect aggressive public relations work, but rather the fact that these individuals are the figureheads for 20-year-old propaganda machines that are "approved" and bought and paid for by the commodities cartel interests.
Brown, who heads up the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute, and Avery, head of the Virginia-based Center for Global Food Issues, a division of the Indianapolis-based Hudson Institute, are usually portrayed, like Punch and Judy, as having opposing viewpoints, usually "left" and "right," respectively. However, they serve the same interests, and their job is to lecture, travel, and issue reports on food, agriculture, and related matters, in such a way as to manipulate public opinion favorably to cartel interests.
The characteristic Brown line is that world population numbers have exceeded the world's natural resources base, and population must be cut. And to "save" the world's environment, Brown demands that the use of advanced agriculture technology be limited to only certain people and places (determined by the food commodities cartel companies).
The characteristic Avery line is that the world can support billions more people, as long as free trade rights are extended to certain people and companies (of the food cartels), which will provide the needed food. He sings the praises of biotechnology, i.e., the particular advances whose use and patent rights are controlled by the cartel companies.
What Brown, Avery, and others like them have in common, is that they never name the names of the individuals, corporations, and entities that gain from food commodities control. Both Brown and Avery were created as bogus food "authorities," by these interests.
Here we provide the background, funding, and pedigree of Brown and Avery, and report on some of their propaganda activities in 1994-95.
Lester Russell Brown has been president of the Worldwatch Institute since its creation in 1974. Often called "Dr. Doom," or "God's Scorekeeper," Brown's entire career is associated with Worldwatch Institute, which was created for propaganda purposes. Brown was born in New Jersey in 1934, and was elevated into his role as an "agriculture authority" as a young man in Washington, D.C. in the 1960s.
Funding: The 1974 start-up grant for Worldwatch Institute was $500,000 provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The chief funders of Worldwatch over the succeeding years include the following foundations: Ford, Rockefeller, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, Andrew W. Mellon, [Ted] Turner, William and Flora Hewlett, Charles Stewart Mott, Geraldine R. Dodge, Edward John Noble, W. Alton Jones, Curtis and Edith Munson, Frank Weeden, Energy, George Gund, Surdna, Public Welfare, and Edna McConnell Clark.
Other Worldwatch funding agencies include the U.N. Environment Program, the U.N. Population Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Winthrop Rockefeller Trust, the Lynn R. and Karl E. Pickett Fund, the Robert R. McCormick Charitable Trust, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Associations: Brown is a member of the following groups: New York Council on Foreign Relations, Zero Population Growth, Common Cause, and World Future Society. He is a board member of the Institute of 21st Century Studies, the Population Reference Bureau; and an advisory council member of the Commission of National Institutions for the Environment. He is on the advisory committee of the Institute of International Economics, a consulting group run by C. Fred Bergsten of the Trilateral Commission, which acts in close association with the International Monetary Fund.
Education: B.S. from Rutgers University; masters degree in agriculture economics from the University of Maryland, 1959; masters degree in public administration from Harvard University, 1962.
Background: Brown worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. in 1959-69, starting out as an analyst for international agriculture in 1959-63, and otherwise working in the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service. During this period, Brown was groomed for service by Secretary Orville L. Freeman.
Freeman, secretary of agriculture in the 1960s, was in turn beholden—as he is to the present day—to the London-centered financial and food commodities interests operating out of Minnesota, Freeman's home state. Freeman started out as a lawyer in 1947, and was elected governor in 1955. He was part of the Hubert Humphrey political machine, including all its connections to organized crime and international free trade. Freeman has served as chairman of the Worldwatch Institute's board of directors for its entire 20 years, and serves on many similar boards, for example, the Club of Rome-linked World Future Society. The World Future Society is one of the biggest proponents of the insane "Third Wave" theory that society has gone into a post-industrial epoch, peddled by Alvin Toffler and Newt Gingrich.
In 1964-66, Brown was given the role of adviser on foreign agriculture policy to Agriculture Secretary Freeman. Then, after another Freeman appointment, Brown served as administrator of the USDA International Development Service in 1966-69. Brown went on to help found and work with the Overseas Development Council (ODC), started in 1969 with the backing of many private corporations, foundations, and individuals; Freeman was on the board, James P. Grant was president, and Theodore Hesburgh was chairman of the board. Brown calls this period with the ODC (1969-74) "the beginning of 26 rewarding years spent on Massachusetts Avenue's 'think-tank row.' "
Worldwatch chroniclers like to cite a specific discussion that Brown had with William Dietel, vice-president of the Rockefellers Brothers Fund, at the Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado in the summer of 1973, as the point of origin of the founding of Worldwatch. They cite the men's "shared common interests in forming a small research institute to do integrated study and analysis of global issues," specifically environmental and environmentally related issues.
During the early 1970s, Brown was active in many locations. He was faculty member, Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, summers 1971 and 1974; guest scholar, Aspen Institute, summers 1972-74. (He was MacArthur Foundation fellow in 1986.) In 1974, the Worldwatch Insitute was officially created.
These Aspen Institute links are critical. Aspen was founded by Robert Maynard Hutchins, the longtime chancellor of the University of Chicago, who was the leading American ally of the late Lord Bertrand Russell, the international socialist who advocated the elimination of science and the systematic elimination of the darker-skinned races. To this day, Aspen is one of the leading Malthusian policy snake-pits in the world, peddling the idea of "food as a weapon."
Awards: 1965 USDA Superior Service award; 1965 Arthur S. Flemming award, for one of 10 outstanding young men in federal government; 1981 A.H. Boerma award of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; 1982 National Wildlife Federation Special Conservation award; 1985 Lorax award of Global Tomorrow Coalition (the group associated with the Malthusian Donald Lesh and Club of Rome); 1986 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" fellowship award; 1989 World Wide Fund for Nature International award; 1989 U.N. Environment Prize; 1991 American Humanist Association, "Humanist of the Year"; 1991 Pro Mundo Habitabili award of King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden.
Markers: During the 1960s, Brown cultivated the reputation for being the "whiz kid" who could connect the issues of population growth rates with food availability. Orville Freeman and other mentors of Brown realized that in Brown, they had a pliable personality who could be counted upon to make the issue of population limitation the "big issue" for agriculture.
For example, Brown counts among his greatest accomplishments, working with Freeman in the 1960s, in their efforts to persuade the U.S. government to insist upon fundamental changes in India's food policy as a condition for food shipments from United States.
Brown's claim to fame in economics? His specialty is to assemble and cite any incident or statistics, from which he can adduce whatever his backers want to hear. An early example, the chroniclers report, dates from when Brown made a tour to India in the 1960s. He showed his self-professed "knack for putting together a lot of bits and pieces of information no self-respecting State Department analyst would use," and he produced arguments and "predictions" of an imminent countrywide drought and threat to the food supply, based on reports such as one from a duck hunter that his favorite lake had dried up.
Author: Publications include:
1963 "Man, Land and Food: Looking Ahead at World Food Needs," (USDA-FAS study, tying global agriculture forecasts to population growth forecasts)
1965 Increasing World Food Output
1970 Seeds of Change
1972 World Without Borders
1974 In the Human Interest
1974 By Bread Alone, with Erik P. Eckholm, for the Overseas Development Council
1978 The Twenty-Ninth Day: Accommodating Human Needs and Numbers to the World's Resources
1981 Building a Sustainable Society
1995 Who Will Feed China? Wake-up Call for a Small Planet
Editor: 1988-, WorldWatch magazine; co-editor, 1991, Saving the Planet: How to Shape an Environmentally Sustainable Global Economy; 1984-, State of the World annual reports, now issued in 26 languages, in multi-thousands of copies.
Dennis Avery has been, since 1989, the director of the Center for Global Food Issues, part of the Hudson Institute, for which he also serves as senior fellow. Avery resides as a "gentleman" horse and cattle rancher near Swope, Virginia.
Funding: The operations and policy of the Hudson Institute are funded by foundations including: the Charles Stewart Mott, John M. Olin, Harry and Lynde Bradley, Carthage, Sarah Scaife, Starr, Smith Richardson, JM, General Mills, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Funding also comes from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lilly Endowment Inc., Sandoz Corp., ConAgra Inc., Archer Daniels Midland, Philip Morris Companies Inc., IMC Fertilizer Inc., Louis Dreyfus Corp., British Petroleum Oil Company, Pfizer Inc., Amway Corp., Sunkist Growers Inc., E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Exxon Corp., Procter and Gamble Company, David H. Koch, Richard Dennis (who funds many Libertarian causes, including the Drug Policy Foundation which backs drug legalization), and Jay Van Andel (of Amway Corp., also a big funder of the Heritage Foundation).
Background: Avery received a B.A. degree in agricultural economics from Michigan State University in 1957, and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1959. He worked as an editor at the USDA in Washington, D.C., in 1959-67, and 1969-71. He was a staff member of the U.S. Food and Fiber Commission, 1967-68. In 1971-74, he was a policy analyst for the USDA. In 1974-80, he was assistant to the vice-chairman, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in Washington, D.C. In 1980-88, Avery was chief analyst for global agricultural issues at the U.S. Department of State. He was an analyst for World Perspectives in Washington, D.C. in 1988-89. Avery is a member of the National Association of Business Economists.
Author: Publications include:
1968 Food and Fiber for the Future
1991 Global Food Progress
1993 "Biodiversity: Saving Species with Biotechnology" (brief)
1993 "Frontline Perpetuates Pesticide Myths" (article)
1994 "The Organic Threat to People and Wildlife" (brief)
1994 articles: "Boosting Crop Yields Saves Wildlife," "Hi-Yield Farming and Wildlife Preservation Change Terms of the Environmental Debate," "Avery Tackles Dr. Gloom at Senate Hearing," "Fighting Famine Is Politically Incorrect," "Saving the Planet with Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming."
Editor of the Hudson Institute's Global Food Quarterly.
The propaganda conferences
Through publications, conferences, and media events, Lester Brown, Dennis Avery, and others in their networks keep up a barrage of hokum for the gullible.
In June, Brown was among the featured speakers at a Washington, D.C. conference, hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (based in Washington, and founded in 1975 as part of the Kissinger-era food control politics), where Avery restated his customary theme that the world's population has exceeded the "carrying capacity" of its resource base. Later in the year, Brown toured Asia to trumpet this theme, and to focus on China as the "face of the enemy" in terms of producing too many hungry mouths that will threaten to consume the world's scarce food supplies. To underline this, he released his 160-page tract, Who Will Feed China? Wake Up Call for a Small Planet. In October, Brown spoke on the need for population reduction in Quebec City at the 50th anniversary of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
As the loyal opposition, Avery also attended a food conference in Beijing this fall, along with George Bush (who is associated with the British food cartels), and spoke at numerous Washington, D.C. conferences; for example, a September conference of U.S. dairy farm interests, heavily lobbied by the British company Grand Metropolitan ("Good Humor") and Philip Morris ("Kraft"). Avery's refrain is that billions more people can be fed. In particular, his theme is that the Pacific Rim will offer an export boom market for the United States. But his unstated theme is that free trade and cartel food control must be absolute. In particular, he demands that Asian nations better open their domestic markets to private international companies, or else. A quick review of last year's conferences shows how the Brown and Avery vaudeville act works.
The year started off with the release in January of the Worldwatch annual "State of the World 1994," preceded, as usual, by a press "briefing" in December 1993. The usual notes were struck about population exceeding food supply capacity, etc. The report was released in each of 26 languages, in several thousand copies, all designed to shape both public and scholarly opinion. It became required reading in hundreds of colleges.
Throughout the year, Brown authored various statements on how population has exhausted resources, that were released to media as opinion columns, in particular, before the Cairo U.N. Population Conference, whose backers are the same as those of Worldwatch.
Enter Avery. He, too, authored dozens of columns and releases in 1994, in apparent opposition to Brown, saying, "Billions more people can easily be fed." But a look at a 1994 Hudson Institute conference on the subject shows what a sham their pro-population, pro-technology position is.
Called "The Greatest Opportunity in Farming History," the conference was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, the headquarters of the Hudson Institute since it moved from New York, where it was founded in 1961 by Herman Kahn (known as "Mega-Death" Kahn for his advocacy of the usefulness of nuclear war).
The official host groups were the Competitiveness Center and the Center for Global Food Issues of the Hudson Institute.
The financial sponsors were top cartel firms, including Cargill, Inc., ConAgra, Sunkist, AGP Cooperative, Inc., Countrymark Cooperative, Inc., DowElanco, and Miles Laboratories.
The theme of the conference was that free trade must be expanded (beyond even the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT), which, it was argued, would allow international "competition" in farming, through which, from interventions of selected biotechnological and other high-technology inputs, plenty of food would be produced for future billions of people. Former Vice President Dan Quayle gave the conference keynote on "American Agriculture as a Growth Opportunity"; he called free trade the friend of the U.S. farmer. Other speakers included Paul Faeth, economist from the World Resources Institute; Dean Kleckner, head of the American Farm Bureau; and many former USDA officials. All made special pleas for the rights of the food cartel (euphemistically called "U.S. national interest") to operate freely, outside any national controls.
In particular, Avery and the Hudson Institute-cartel crowd demand exclusive control over present and future biotechnology breakthroughs. They demand the arrogation of sweeping patent rights and exclusive "intellectual property" rights, to be enforced under the GATT Uruguay Round and World Trade Organization, to control innovations in food and fiber from seed to table.
For example, the cartel company W.R. Grace, in October 1992, received patent rights to all genetically engineered cotton, of any type, by any means, produced in the United States until the year 2008. Grace is thus entitled to a royalty on any plant or seed of genetically engineered cotton, the fourth-highest-value U.S. crop, no matter how the genetic matter was introduced or by whom. Similarly, Monsanto has a sweeping patent for engineered wheat.