2002/05/27 IMF and World Bank: Out of Control
THE International Monetary Fund and World Bank are institutions out of control. For evidence, consider the institutions' feeble and fatally flawed debt relief program. Under their Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, the world's poorest countries can receive reduction of approximately one third of their current payments to overseas creditors -- if they endure six years of closely monitored, extremely intrusive "structural adjustment." ... HIPC is the institutions' most important fig-leaf, a program designed to obscure the view of the harm they are doing to poor countries.
2002/02/14 Greenwash + 10
The UN's "Global Compact" with global corporations associates with notorious violators of UN values -- Global Compact companies have already violated the Principles of the Compact, without censure -- or even acknowledgement -- from UN officials. The Global Compact represents a smuggling of a business agenda into the United Nations. It should not be considered a contribution to or framework for the Johannesburg Summit. Here's the evidence.
2001/11/15 Technology and the poor
The United Nations Development Programme's "Human Development Report 2001 -- Making new technologies work for human development" attempts to address a key question for the 21st century: will technology entrench millions in even greater poverty -- or can it be used to eradicate poverty and suffering? But it chooses the wrong challenge. The key issue is not "making new technologies work for human development". The challenge is enabling poor people to make technologies work for them.
2001/8/24 Philip Morris Sees the Light
After decades of denial about the hazards of tobacco, Philip Morris has been promoting the benefits to society of premature deaths from smoking, in a study that found the early deaths of smokers have "positive effects" for society that more than counteract the medical costs of treating smoking induced cancer and other diseases.
2001/7/7 The Enemies of Democracy
Report of a chilling, documented history of ongoing corporate efforts to use propaganda and "public relations" to distort science, manipulate public opinion, discredit democracy, and consolidate political power in the hands of a wealthy few. Details, references, and lots of resources.
2001/5/26 Murder that is a threat to survival
There is a strong link between diminishing global biodiversity and the disappearance of languages. While new trees can be planted and habitats restored, it is much more difficult to restore languages once they have been murdered. It has taken centuries for people to learn about their environments and to name the complex ecological relationships that are decisive for maintenance of biodiversity. When indigenous peoples lose their languages, much of this knowledge also disappears. And languages are being murdered today faster than ever before in human history.
2001/2/25 Seed patents threaten world food resources
Just as the Prince of Wales launched a millennium gene bank in Britain last November to conserve 10% of the plant kingdom, in Switzerland a threat appeared to the future availability of the seeds used to feed the world. Negotiations to keep their ownership in the public domain were only rescued at the 11th hour. These negotiations are a life insurance for humanity against rapid environmental, social and economic changes. Future food supplies will be under threat unless the talks succeed.
2001/2/25 The wreckers who trade in misery
Dedicated and well-organised groups are ruthlessly chipping away at the remnants of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) credibility. There is a real danger that they will cause the rules-based trading system to collapse, destroying efforts to reduce poverty and global inequality. The wreckers are not from the broadening anti-globalisation, anti-WTO protest movement. They are the governments of the world's richest countries, using their power to subordinate the WTO to their national interests and to the pursuit of corporate profit, regardless of the cost to poor countries, public health and the environment.
2000/12/30 BP -- Beyond Preposterous
BP Amoco won a Corporate Watch "Greenwash Award" for its thoroughly misleading ad campaign "Beyond Petroleum". The slogan "Beyond Petroleum" is supposed to mean moving "beyond fossil fuels" to renewable fuels, but BP uses it to refer to its marketing push for natural gas -- a fossil fuel. BP spent more on its new eco-friendly logo in 1999 than on renewable energy. This was BP's second Greenwash award in 18 months. Read how BP boss Sir John Browne won a Greenpeace "Academy Award" for "Best Impression of an Environmentalist" for creating "an environmental fantasy of epic proportions". And behind the fantasy? Spin, lies, cheating, abuses, broken laws, pollution on a grand scale.
2000/11/22 Shell wins Greenwash Award
Corporate Watch awarded its Greenwash Award to Shell for its ad claiming that Shell is at the forefront of reducing harmful greenhouse gases. Kenny Bruno, co-author of "Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism", takes a deeper look and finds that the company is full of hot air. Journey to Forever takes a further look, and finds that it's worse than that.
2000/10/8 Talking pure manure
Agribusiness mouth Denis T. Avery keeps claiming that "people who eat organic and 'natural' foods are eight times as likely as the rest of the population to be attacked by a deadly new strain of E. coli bacteria (0157:H7)" -- despite solid proof that his "evidence" and "tests" are all falsified. In fact nearly all cases of E. coli 0157:H7 poisoning result from contaminated meat from industrial factory farms and meat processing plants, NOT organic farms. So why does he keep claiming it? Because the truth hurts.
2000/5/19 Hi-tech crops are bad for the brain
"Miracle" crops, hailed as the answer to global famine, are contributing to widespread brain impairment in the developing world, a new report concludes. The high-yielding rice and wheat varieties of the "Green Revolution" are among a range of environmental factors undermining the intelligence of millions of people.
2000/5/3 The WTO: "These guys just don't get it!"
In response to the anti-World Trade Organization (WTO) protests, a Washington think-tank sponsored a day-long seminar entitled "After Seattle: Restoring Momentum in the WTO". "This was supposed to be a seminar on how to rebuild public confidence in the WTO, not transform the agency into the former Soviet KBG."
2000/4/5 Countering myth with facts
"Agriculture needs to counter false charges" and to "educate the general public and government officials" in order to "counter myth with facts", say two spokesmen of the American poultry industry. Myths to be countered with facts: animal welfare, worker safety, environmental contamination, antibiotic use.
2000/4/1 Rape of a rainforest
Malaysian timber companies have become notorious for their systematic destruction of the world's remaining rainforests. Latest victim is Liberia, which has one of the largest surviving rainforest areas in West Africa -- report on an ecological and social crime.
2000/3/17 Do pesticides cause cancer?
The answer, straight from the horse's mouth -- chemical corporation Monsanto's "Fact Sheet On Pesticide Use": "Number of active ingredients in pesticides found to cause cancer in animals or humans: 107." Read on!
IMF and World Bank:
Out of Control
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
13 May 2002
THE International Monetary Fund and World Bank are institutions out of control.
For evidence, consider the institutions' feeble and fatally flawed debt relief program. Under their Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, the world's poorest countries can receive reduction of approximately one third of their current payments to overseas creditors -- if they endure six years of closely monitored, extremely intrusive "structural adjustment."
Structural adjustment is the policy package that includes such measures as indiscriminate privatization, labor market deregulation, government spending cuts, trade and financial liberalization, economic deregulation, an emphasis on exports and charges ("user fees") for people to attend clinics for basic healthcare.
HIPC is the institutions' most important fig-leaf, a program designed to obscure the view of the harm they are doing to poor countries. The World Bank and IMF regularly tout HIPC as a sign of their responsiveness to the poor.
But now the HIPC initiative is beginning to collapse, even on its own terms. In April, during their spring meetings, the IMF and Bank announced that several of the countries that have qualified for debt relief by suffering through the first three years of mandated structural adjustment are about to lose their debt relief eligibility. The charge: they have failed to implement structural adjustment conditions with sufficient vigor.
Apparently, the Bank and Fund cannot control themselves. They want to exact more blood from the world's poorest countries, even when they must know it will sabotage their public relations campaign.
There is, however, now an opportunity to rein in the Bank and Fund.
This year, the World Bank is seeking new monies for its International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the Bank that lends to the poorest countries.
Getting the U.S. contribution to IDA will require a vote by the U.S. Congress.
A broad coalition of U.S. environmental, development, religious, labor and global justice organizations has formed to demand that if the United States decides to contribute to IDA -- a near certainty -- that it also work for policies that will reduce the IMF and Bank's power. (Essential Action is part of this coalition.)
The coalition is drawing on a successful initiative of the year 2000, when the Congress enacted a law requiring the U.S. representatives to the World Bank and IMF to vote against projects or loans that included user fees for primary education or healthcare.
The Treasury Department, which manages U.S. policy at the Bank and Fund, invented a duplicitous reading of the legislative language to avoid carrying out Congressional intent, especially on healthcare user fees.
But the passage of the law helped force a reconsideration of education user fees. Now the World Bank, which for 15 years has encouraged school fees, is actively working to help countries remove such charges. In Tanzania, the recent elimination of school fees enabled 1.5 million children, who otherwise would have been locked out, to go to school.
The coalition is now urging the United States to oppose loans or projects that include a range of harmful provisions, including restrictions on labor rights, increased water charges for the poor, environmentally hazardous practices such as aggressive pesticide use, privatization without safeguards for workers and protections against corruption, and privatization of tobacco enterprises. (For details on the proposals, see below, "New report".
The coalition is also proposing the IDA appropriation be accompanied by new U.S. support for debt cancellation for the poorest countries. social and environmental assessments of structural adjustment -- conducted before such policies are put into place -- and requirements that the World Bank measure the effectiveness of its project loans.
Some set of these proposals will appear in an IDA authorization bill, which will be considered by the House financial services committee and the Senate foreign relations committee over the summer, as well as in the foreign operations appropriations bill, which is sure to pass by the end of the Congressional term.
It is sad and pathetic that these reforms, limiting the ability of the World Bank and IMF to do harm, must come from the U.S. Congress. Sad, because institutions that claim to be devoted to eradicating poverty should not need such external discipline. Pathetic, because it is not people in affected countries who have the ability to influence the institutions' policies, but uniquely the citizens of the United States.
With that power and influence comes obligation. The Treasury Department will oppose the coalition's proposals, if for no other reason than it does not like Congress trying to direct policy toward the Bank and IMF. It will take an expression of citizen concern to overcome the Treasury Department's obstruction.
© Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor, http://www.multinationalmonitor.org and co-director of Essential Action. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999; http://www.corporatepredators.org).
This article is posted at:
Responsible Reform of the World Bank: The Role of the United States in Improving the Development Effectiveness of World Bank Operations -- by a Coalition of U.S. Civil Societry Organizations, April 2002. (Acrobat file, 488kb)
For background information see The 13th Replenishment of IDA
The Bank Information Center (BIC) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides information and strategic support to NGOs and social movements throughout the world on the projects, policies and practices of the World Bank and other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). BIC advocates greater transparency, accountability and citizen participation at the MDBs.
Toolkits for Activists: "Never doubt that a small, highly committed group of individuals can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
Hazardous to Health: The World Bank and IMF in Africa -- "The policies dictated by the World Bank and IMF exacerbated poverty, providing fertile ground for the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Cutbacks in health budgets and privatization of health services eroded previous advances in health care and weakened the capacity of African governments to cope with the growing health crisis. Consequently, during the past two decades the life expectancy of Africans has dropped by 15 years." 5,900-word report by Ann-Louise Colgan for Africa Action, April 2002
States of Unrest II -- Anti-IMF protests sweep developing world, World Development Movement (WDM), April 20, 2002: As the IMF and the World Bank insists on its ideologically driven policies and prescriptions, the peoples' movement challenging it continues to grow worldwide. Millions of desperately poor people around the world have been brave enough to protest against IMF policies: doctors, farmers, priests, teachers, trade unionists and indigenous people, from Angola and Argentina to Zimbabwe and Zambia are saying enough to the IMF-imposed free market, one-size-fits-all blueprint of economic development. In 23 developing countries, a total of 76 people died and thousands have been injured and arrested in the protests. Of the 77 episodes of peaceful protests, 18 ended with the deployment of riot police or the army. Full report (Acrobat file, 96kb):
Overview of debt campaign:
Trade Campaign -- Useful Links:
Glossary of debt terms:
"Hundreds of billions of dollars in unpayable loans still need to be written off. And creditors have done little to change the lending practices that created the debt problem in the first place... It's not enough to clean up past mistakes. We also need to learn from them. 'Forgive and forget' is a recipe for more debt troubles." -- David Malin Roodman, Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions for the Third World Debt Crisis (Acrobat file, 376kb)
See: "Forgive And Forget" Won't Fix Third World Debt -- Worldwatch Institute
Bretton Woods Project -- Independent news and analysis on the World Bank and IMF:
Guides: IMF and World Bank -- OneWorld: "Economically speaking, we are more dependent on the ex-colonial powers than we ever were. The World Bank and the IMF are playing the role that our ex-colonial masters used to play." -- Martin Khor, Third World Network.
The OneWorld database contains tens of thousands of document from the partners' websites. Debt:
The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is an alliance of sixty leading activists, scholars, economists, researchers and writers formed to stimulate new thinking, joint activity, and public education in response to economic globalization.
50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice -- a coalition of over 200 U.S. grassroots, women's, solidarity, faith-based, policy, social - and economic- justice, youth, labor and development organizations dedicated to the profound transformation of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Network works in solidarity with over 185 international partner organizations in more than 65 countries.
The Whirled Bank Group
Greenwash + 10
The UN's Global Compact, Corporate Accountability and the Johannesburg Earth Summit
By Kenny Bruno
January 24, 2002
The Road from Rio
"[C]ooperation [with the private sector] must be managed in a manner that does not compromise the independence and neutrality of the United Nations..." -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
"It is...crucial that governments protect the integrity of the spirit and letter of the UN embodied in 'We the peoples...' by ensuring a corporate-free UN" (emphasis added) -- Asia-Pacific Peoples' Forum on Sustainable Development, November 25-26, 2001. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
-- See "We the peoples" -- Millennium Report of the Secretary-General, 2000:
THE 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro represented a high point of hope for the international community in general and the United Nations in particular. The Rio Summit led to a series of challenging negotiations whose purpose was to protect the earth and improve life for its most impoverished inhabitants.
Unfortunately, that purpose was undermined by the Summit's failure to confront corporate power in any meaningful way. Governments in Rio allowed big business to avoid a binding legal framework on their activities, opting instead for a voluntary approach to sustainable development. In Rio, some NGOs warned that heavy influence of business on the Summit would lead to the "partial privatization of the UN," and the "globalization of greenwash."
During the almost 10 years since Rio, a parallel process has taken place, which has sidelined the agreements forged there and dissipated the energy that the Earth Summit inspired. Through the process of globalization, transnational corporations have increased their economic power enormously in the last decade. They have also successfully resisted most environmental challenges to their core businesses, maintaining unsustainable practices in the energy, chemicals, agriculture, extractive and transportation sectors.
Now, 10 years on, citizen groups, thousands of which are planning to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, are making an attempt to revive the spirit of Rio, a spirit that values environment, human rights, worker rights, human health and justice above commercialism, corporate rights and "free" trade.
The 2002 Johannesburg Summit is an opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to the goals of Rio and to avoid the mistakes made since the first Earth Summit. With a highly respected Secretary-General in place, it is a chance to strengthen the UN as an institution that can monitor global corporations and hold them accountable. But the Johannesburg meeting takes place as the UN is increasing its commitment to corporate partnerships, a situation that threatens the success of the Summit.
The highest profile partnership is the Global Compact. This asks business to adhere to nine principles derived from key UN agreements and is becoming a general framework for UN cooperation with the private sector. The motivation of the Secretary-General is to bring corporate behavior in line with universal values. However, business influence over its design has riddled the Global Compact with weaknesses and contradictions.
In the first 18 months of the Global Compact, we have seen a growing but secret membership, heavy influence by the International Chamber of Commerce, and a failure to publish even a single case study of sustainable practices. The Global Compact represents a smuggling of a business agenda into the United Nations. It should not be considered a contribution to or framework for the Johannesburg Summit.
"Greenwash + 10" is an update of the CorpWatch report of September 2000, "Tangled Up In Blue -- Corporate Partnerships at the United Nations." "Tangled" summarized flaws in the design of the Global Compact and other UN-corporate partnership programs. "Greenwash + 10" focuses on the Global Compact in practice over its first 18 months, and argues that it should not become a framework for the relationship between the UN and the private sector or for the WSSD.
Six articles previously published on our website (www.corpwatch.org/un) provide evidence that Global Compact companies are violating the Compact's principles, without censure -- or even acknowledgement -- from UN officials. We believe a careful study of the Global Compact's progress so far will provide an object lesson in the pitfalls of UN-corporate partnerships, a lesson which may help us focus on what is really needed to make the Summit in Johannesburg a success.
Global Compact Violators
The Global Compact associates with notorious violators of UN values. Several Global Compact companies have already violated one or more of the Principles of the Compact since it was launched. For instance:
Aventis has violated Principle 7, "support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges," with its introduction of genetically engineered StarLink corn, which has illegally contaminated the food supply and seed stock in the U.S. The full costs of this contamination continue to emerge; however, current estimates run in the hundreds of billions of dollars. (Full Article)
Aventis' genetically-modified corn seeds have illegally contaminated the food supply. Photo: Courtesy of IATP.
Nike has violated Principle 3, "freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining," in Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Cambodia and Mexico. Nike has been actively involved in lobbying Washington against using trade policy to pressure China to respect workers' rights. (Full Article)
Rio Tinto has violated Principle 1, "support and respect the protection of international human rights within their sphere of influence," and Principle 8, "undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility," at the PT Kelian gold mine in Indonesia. (Full Article)
Norsk Hydro has violated Principle 1, "support and respect the protection of international human rights within their sphere of influence," and Principle 2, "make sure their own corporations are not complicit in human rights abuses," at their bauxite/alumina joint venture in India. (Full Article)
Unilever has violated Principle 7, "support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges," Principle 8, "undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility," and Principle 9, "promote the diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies," at their thermometer factory in Kodaikanal, India. (Full Article)
Unilever's mercury tainted glass was found at this crowded scrap yard in Kodaikanal, India. Photo: Shailendra Yashwant/Greenpeace, 2001.
The International Chamber of Commerce has violated Principle 7, "support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges," and Principle 8, "undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility," in their overall program of lobbying on behalf of big business. (Full Article)
Business Action for Sustainable Development -- The success of Johannesburg 2002 is threatened by the industry lobby group Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD). BASD intends to advocate voluntary measures and "self-regulation," while publicizing anecdotal case studies to prove industry's contribution to sustainable development. The selection of former Shell head Mark Moody-Stuart to lead BASD is a slap in the face to citizen movements for corporate accountability, as Shell is a symbol of transnational corporate impunity. [See: Shell wins Greenwash Award -- "Shell claims it is at the forefront of reducing harmful greenhouse gases, but the company is full of hot air." ]
We recommend that:
- The Global Compact should be renamed the Global Accountability Compact and substantially redesigned. The redesign should make clear that it is not a partnership of allies that agree on all goals, and should clarify that the purpose of the Compact is not to support a liberalized trade agenda. The Compact should include provisions for monitoring of compliance with its Principles, and for public review of corporate case studies. Global Accountability Compact companies should commit to supporting the implementation of UN-brokered multilateral agreements.
- In the meantime, the names of corporations participating in the Global Compact should be made public. Corporations violating one or more Global Compact principles should be suspended from further UN partnership activities.
- Governments should not look to Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) or similar advocates of voluntary corporate responsibility for the primary solutions to unsustainable business practices.
- Instead, governments at the Summit Preparatory meetings in New York should begin discussion of a Framework Convention on Corporate Accountability to be launched in Johannesburg.
Download PDF (1.03Mb/16pgs)
Letter to Kofi Annan Recommending Redesign of Global Compact -- Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN, January 29, 2002
"CorpWatch counters corporate-led globalization through education and activism. We work to foster democratic control over corporations by building grassroots globalization -- a diverse movement for human rights, labor rights and environmental justice."
CorpWatch: "We've posted the official UN response to the Alliance for a Corporate-Free UN's letter of January 29, 2002. It is important to note two salient points: First, the "response" does not address the key issues raised in the international Alliance's letter, but rather changes the subject and focuses on supposed 'inaccuracies' in CorpWatch's recent 'Greenwash +10' report. Second, the letter itself inaccurately portrays the positions and critiques contained in the CorpWatch report, labeling the Alliance's ongoing disagreement with the Global Compact's approach as a 'misunderstanding,' and the wrong view."
The UN "response" is just an evasion.
Update: July 20, 2004
Progress Or Blue-washing?
The United Nations' Global Compact, a controversial "voluntary corporate citizenship initiative," now includes 1,700 companies and several dozen non-governmental organizations and labor groups. "Some companies are using it for public relations," admitted consultant Scott Greathead, but it fosters "dialogue between companies and their civil society critics" and "lends the stature of the Secretary General to the concept of corporate responsibility." Consultant John Elkington contends, "More attention should be paid to the extent to which corporate lobbying by Global Compact members align - or don't align - with their stated commitment." Also, the lack of enforcement "raises real concerns about the longer-term risk to the UN's reputation," he warns.
-- Business Week, July 20, 2004
Feel No Remorse -- The Corporate Creed
M. W. Guzy is a former police detective and school teacher who now writes a weekly column for the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Jan 23 2002
The Washington Post recently reported that the Monsanto chemical company knowingly polluted the towns of Anniston, Ala., and Sauget, Ill., for years with the deadly by-products of PCB manufacture. While doing so, the firm -- now Solutia, Inc. "intentionally concealed the public health hazards and environmental devastation associated with these pollutants." The corporation did this to protect its profits.
Shortly after this report was published, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an editorial condemning the socially irresponsible greed at the heart of the matter. It said, in part, that the episode "provides a chilling glimpse of the dark side of corporate culture." Noting that "it is one thing to make a human mistake out of ignorance," it opined that "once a company knows" it is harming the public, "then conceals this knowledge or refuses to act on it, it has broached even the minimum standards of ethics."
I sympathize with the sentiments expressed, but articles like this remind me of Sgt. Reese in "The Terminator." He was the rebel soldier who was sent to combat the automated killer for whom that film was named. In one memorable scene, Reese tries desperately to convince disbelieving civilians that the Terminator may look like a man but, in fact, is not human.
"You don't understand," he pleads. "It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear." He thus unwittingly describes the modern corporation.
Corporations employ people, but this does not make them human. Like the Terminator, they are artificial entities created with a single purpose in mind -- the former to kill, the latter to generate profit. All other activities they engage in are incidental to their respective missions.
Of course, corporations contribute to the general well being. Not only do they produce needed goods and services, but they promote prosperity by providing well-paid jobs, health insurance, and retirement plans for their employees. To enhance their public stature while reducing their tax liabilities, they also contribute to worthy civic causes.
All of these activities, however, are tangential to their central enterprise of garnering the largest possible profit. In fact, they have a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders to do just that. Understanding this defining feature of the corporate life reveals terms like "business ethics" and "corporate conscience" to be oxymorons. These misnomers come into use when we commit the intellectual sin of anthropomorphism -- attributing human characteristics to non-human entities. The firm is neither good nor bad, and it feels no pity or remorse.
During the '70s, the Ford Motor Company produced a subcompact auto called the Pinto. The corporation subsequently learned that the vehicle had an unfortunate tendency to explode when involved in rear-end collisions. The decision was made to continue building the Pinto because it was cheaper to settle with survivors than it would be to stop production and re-tool the line. This is the kind of clear-eyed business vision that polluted the fields and streams of Anniston and Sauget.
If these decisions seem inhuman, it's because they are. Asking a corporation to limit its profit in the interest of ethics is akin to asking a hungry tiger to consider the long-term health implications of eating too much red meat. You can't expect the beast to betray its nature.
The fun-loving firm that brought you the Pinto has just announced 35,000 job cuts. It didn't take this action because it's evil, but rather because its capacity for production currently exceeds the demand for its product. Ford will gladly accept any tax rebate Congress sends it -- acquiring wealth is its reason for existence. But it won't hire one new worker until demand again exceeds capacity. CEOs who ignore the laws of economics suffer the same fate as airline pilots who violate the laws of physics.
Teddy Roosevelt didn't gain a reputation as a "trust-buster" because he was an admirer of Karl Marx. He despised socialism, which he saw as a threat to liberty. He likewise distrusted unbridled capitalism because he recognized that markets are efficient, but also ruthless.
The only way to humanize corporate behavior is to make breaking the law less profitable than obeying it. When crime truly doesn't pay, corporations become model citizens.
The bottom line is that somebody is going to set policy. Who would you prefer: Teddy -- or the Terminator?
Corporations Behaving Badly:
The Ten Worst Corporations of 2001
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
... We propose that Congress legislate a Corporate Character Commission (CCC). This would be a 10-person panel, with members chosen from the human person community. Ideal candidates would be ethicists, philosophers, corporate criminologists and the like.
The CCC would check on the criminal records, recidivism rates, acts of immorality and other wrongdoing of the largest corporations.
If the CCC were up and running now, we would propose that it take a close look at the Ten Worst Corporations of 2001. Clearly they do not care. They are not moral entities. They should be stripped of their constitutional protections. Their shareholders should be made fully liable.
Multinational Monitor has named Abbott Laboratories, Argenbright, Bayer, Coke, Enron, Exxon Mobil, Philip Morris, Sara Lee, Southern Co. and Wal-Mart as the 10 worst corporations of 2001.
Back to Index
Community development | Rural development
City farms | Organic gardening | Composting | Small farms | Biofuel | Solar box cookers
Trees, soil and water | Seeds of the world | Appropriate technology | Project vehicles
Home | What people are saying about us | About Handmade Projects
Projects | Internet | Schools projects | Sitemap | Site Search | Donations |
© Copyright of all original material on this website is the property of Keith Addison, unless otherwise stated. It may not be copied or distributed without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. All material is provided "as is" without guarantees or warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.