Let’s Make Business a Partner With Consumers

Image result for john deere 5105M

Several years ago we sprung for a new John Deere loader tractor with a cab. Like a warm shop and drainage tile, we should have done it sooner. A lot of loader work is done in winter and dressing warm doesn’t quite make it heaven.

The tractor has a reverser, which means a stalk (where the turn signal would be) switches from forward to reverse without using the clutch. Once the warranty was up we had to use the clutch, not a big deal but I guess my left leg had atrophied somewhat.

Our regular independent mechanic suggested we take it to the dealer because of the proprietary nature of the electronics. So we did. We bought a switch that told the tractor we were in the seat for $567. I asked the service manager if I could just bypass the switch. I mean, what difference would it make? He said it would confuse the computer. It confuses me.

Presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, wants to help us. She has come out in support of a “right to repair” bill that forces companies to make manuals and diagnostic tools available so we can work on our own equipment. Deere has us over a barrel when it comes to repairing modern equipment.

I think Warren has it wrong. We bought that tractor knowing the situation. To force them to give us information that didn’t come with it is theft. While I would love to be able to avoid the ridiculous shop rates at the dealer, it sets a bad precedent. It would further erode the property rights that have made this country one that doesn’t have to fence its citizens in; as is the case in countries that have arrived where we are headed today.

Deere could charge more for its products and charge less in their shops to make it work for all of us. They could sell the information at a price that would still make it worthwhile to develop helpful technology and they could eliminate such nonsense as a seat switch because each of these nanny-tech do-dads dumb us down requiring further safeguards in a spiral of idiocy.

In another ag related case, a six person jury in San Francisco has granted an $80 million award from Monsanto to Edwin Hardeman, who claims the herbicide Roundup (Glyphosate) caused his cancer. I’ve been spraying Roundup for 37 years and all that time I was reassured that it was approved by the government. Wouldn’t that mean that the government is the responsible party here? Did this man use other products? How do we single out Roundup with his cancer?

Judge Vince Chhabria is overseeing hundreds of similar lawsuits. I doubt Bayer (who now owns Monsanto) will go bankrupt because of this. But it brings up more questions of law.

What if there was no government approval process? Then Monsanto would be held liable if they misrepresented their products as safe. It would be fraud. The way it is, no one is accountable unless it can be proven that Monsanto influenced the EPA. With the EPA out of the equation, a user agreement between the seller and customer makes it perfectly clear.

What happens when the terms of the agreement are violated? The way the law reads now, bankruptcy and corporate laws protect the fraudsters. Not only are cheated customers left with nothing, or worse (like cancer), investors and creditors lose as well. When a corporation goes belly-up, the company’s decision makers maintain lavish lifestyles while workers go without jobs.

In Ancient Greece bankrupt individuals became slaves of the people they owed. In the Yasa of Genghis Khan a third bankruptcy brought a death penalty.

Government as mediator would prevent a lot more problems than government as babysitter. John Deere and Monsanto have made good partners with farmers. Let’s not let a culture of victim-hood profit from its intervention.  

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