- McLibel -

allowing business as usual

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on May 20, 1997 at 12:19:48:

In Reply to: What are the governing bodies doing? posted by Joshua Kainth on May 19, 1997 at 21:33:07:

> McDonalds have a responsibility to ensure that the food they provide
> in their restaurants is not only sourced, prepared and served under
> legislation laid down by the law of the land. They also have a responsibility
> to the various governing bodies who are in place for the publics protection.

True. As with most current systems, a pleasing lie is better rewarded than a harsh truth. This does rather mean that at ground level, the rules and regulations are subsumed into "Do what I tell you or get fired" and anyone who objects is called a "troublemaker". The laws of the land are unenforceable in this sort of situation - a clean up will get you past a Govt. inspection, then it's back to business as usual. It's all to easy for them to ignore their responsibility.

> If found guilty, I hope that the governing bodies in charge of overseeing the
> sharp practices referred to, do something and do something very quickly to
> see it stamped out not only by McDonalds but by all those who are doing the
> same.

I hate to sound cynical, but you'd hear the screams from companies all over the world. They would squirm and mutter about "unacceptable overheads" and "loss of wealth creation".

> Remember these organisation's hand over huge amounts in taxes to Governments.
> Their stability within a Country if unbalanced may cause destabilisation
> elsewhere.

> They are so powerful and have connections with people in high places.
> The case if found in favour of the defendants will, I fear become yesterday's
> news sooner rather than later. It may bring about a shake :up and a few heads
> may roll.

All too few, probably.

> It is my belief that the practices undertaken have existed for some time,
> existed today and will always exist.

Only if we allow them to.

> It is time for those in power at these governing bodies to act where
> necessary and put a stop to the disgraceful practices that have been
> highlighted.

Many multinationals are becoming more powerful than whole countries. Select groups of people from these companies fill economic "think tanks" like the OECD, which dictate future economic direction for the world's biggest companies en masse. These groups are almost exclusively geared towards the maximisation of profit, regardless of cost to social infrastructure or environment - they will cheerfully admit that the gap between rich and poor has grown (being exclusively rich) but insist that an "increase in overall wealth" benefits everyone. Meanwhile, anyone who disputes the desirability of this movement is either silenced by writ (like the McThreatened before Helen and Dave) or silenced by gun or noose (like Ken Saro-Wiwa). I dislike using violent metaphor, but I fear the battle lines will have to be drawn between those who support the multinationals (the few rich and their hired hands) and those who support the people and the environment.
It's _not_ "high and far-off" either. It's likely to happen within the lifetimes of today's twentysomethings. Our democracy is under threat, not from "green anarchists" (who nearly always decide with a vote) but from corporations, who would reduce any choice the people ever had to total irrelevance. You don't elect corporate heads.
Get used to it. We're going to see increasingly bitter confrontation between the multinationals and the oppressed, as the faceless corp. try their hardest to stop anyone cutting their profit margin. This is just the first skirmish.
If we lose? Forty years or so down the line, the world's dwindling resources will be fought over by a few superpowerful corporations while dispossessed people starve and national governments fade into obscurity.
If we win, it will be because people took heed of cases like this and banded together to stop it. We need every one of you reading this to do what you can if you value your freedom.

And no, I'm not exaggerating here.

The WTO and OECD are currently trying to pass legislation making multinationals unanswerable to governments (whilst enabling them to sue governments if they don't like the government's employment laws).

The collected corporations would like you to consume their products without asking yourself exactly what they cost. If you do make a public nuisance of yourself to a corporation, you can expect threats at best and death at worst.


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