- McLibel -

Call it a free debate; unlike McDonald's, we encourage them.

Posted by: Rex ( McSpotlight, UK ) on May 16, 1999 at 13:42:03:

In Reply to: The War With Rex posted by Ludwig von Mises on May 15, 1999 at 15:32:18:

: --
: McSpotlight: In actual fact; if you examine the evidence; you will see that McDonald's is all for free speech for themselves; but have tried to gag more than 30 groups and companies in the UK alone; by issuing libel writs and threatening huge legal fees; for nothing more than the exercising of free speech.

: Does free speech cut both ways, or do you believe it should only be available to those with the money to hire good lawyers?

: As to exploiting, well, let's quote the UK's official legal representatives on the subject;

: "... the sting of the leaflet to the effect that the Plaintiffs exploit children by using them, as more susceptible subjects of advertising, to pressurise their parents into going to McDonald's is justified. It is true."

They do not exploit children. They freakin' advertise!!! If the leaflett had said something like: Their ads can strongly influence some children, it wouldn't have been slander. However, they said exploit, and no matter what that crazy guy says, they aren't expoiling anyone.

Advertising at anyone without the critical faculties to evaluate the advertising is exploitation. No ifs, no buts; the age group the adverts are targeted at are not of an age where they can discern and analyze.

: ... the First and Second Plaintiffs are culpably responsible for cruel practices in the rearing and slaughter of some of the animals which are used to produce their food...

Does McDs raise it's own animals? Maybe you should be after the suppliers, not the company...

Who provides the market? Who markets the overconsumption of meat that results in the large-scale consumption of said meat? - requiring the mass-production of livestock...

Who spends over $2 billion per year telling people that they want to eat meat at McDonald's?

: The Second Plaintiff does pay its workers low wages, thereby helping to depress wages for workers in the catering trade in Britain. To this extent the defamatory charge in the leaflet is partly justified.

Low wages???!!! If you can get in trouble for that, companies would completely run out of capital paying everyone. Seriously, there is really no standard for low wages, I don't know what you have over there(under the LABOUR PARTY), but over here we have minimum wage(ridiculous though it is), and anything above that is fair game. As long as McDs pays it's employees the legal minimum, there is no evidence supporting the fact that they pay them "low wages".

So if you set the minimum wage to 2 cents an hour, and McD's paid 3 cents, it wouldn't be a low wage?

You're defining low wages as compared to the minimum wage; not as compared to the average working wage or the wage required to maintain a humane standard of living; both of which are more meaningful indicators of utility.

: ... I do find that various of the First and Second Plaintiffs' advertisements, promotions and booklets have pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which McDonald's food, high in fat and saturated fat and animal products and sodium, and at one time low in fibre, did not match.

Uhhh...not quite sure what you're saying. Please explain.

Well, let's take your comments;

"Advertising is not a bad thing."

- does this remain the case when it is being used to market unhealthy food; when a half-truth is presented as the whole truth?

- Remember Nuremburg; the mass-marketing of an earlier and less subtle era...was that "bad". On the face of it, no; yet look at the results it had. You cannot merely say something is good or bad without looking at the possible consequences of it.

"They are actually quite ethical"

- how do you define "quite ethical"? - they are responsible for the mass-marketing of an unhealthy diet at a market segment too young to
disseminate the adverts. That's unethical, in my book.

- furthermore, they threaten anyone they don't agree with with libel writs, on the basis that they can use their vast capital to hire really good lawyers...or they used to... *g*

: and, from the Appeal judgement;

: it was fair comment to say that McDonald's employees worldwide 'do badly in terms of pay and conditions' [Appeal Judgment p247], and true that 'if one eats enough McDonald's food, one's diet may well become high in fat etc., with the very real risk of heart disease.' The Lord Justices went on to state that this last finding 'must have a serious effect on their trading reputation since it goes to the very business in which they are engaged. In our judgment, it must have a greater impact on the respondents' [McDonald's] reputation than any other of the charges that the trial judge had found to be true'. [Judgment p264]

So it's not health food. Big deal. Most Americans/Brits/any other industrialized or colonized people eat junk. They don't have to, and no one forces them to. They just do.

However, McDonald's has pretended to a nutritional value they actually don't have; that's not them saying "well, it's McD's food, do you expect it to be healthy, like it or don't eat it"; McDonald's have said on a repeated basis that their food is good for you and nutritious; a direct lie.

They even testified in court that Coca-Cola was nutritious because it contained water; if you advertise your food as nutritious on that basis without making your definition of "nutritious" clear, you are actively misleading the public.

: Is a totalitarian corporate state any less repressive than a totalitarian communist one?

A totalitarian state controlled by companies? Oxymoron? Privatization is a means to LIMIT government, and a state without government cannot be totalitarian.

McSpotlight: Not at all; it merely limits elected government.

If, say, Bill Gates and Microsoft decide to, e.g. build features into software that renders its competitors' software inoperative, use its marketing muscle to push this to the people who by the software and use the accrued capital to acquire new competitors before they become a threat, how is competition there? The fact remains that over 95% of computer users use M$; and every computer user who buys software preloaded has paid for that software in full regardless of whether they wanted it or will ever use it; Microsoft is able to bully manufacturers into pre-loading their code onto computers and this effectively functions as an involuntary tax on anyone buying a ready-made computer.

Let us now say that a large chemical company decides to start breaking the law by emitting heavy metals or organophosphates or dioxins into the local water; in an effort to reduce their operating overheads; what power does any one person have against that corporate; especially in the absence of a more powerful force to stop them?

If you look at the MAI negotiations, you can see that the corporate world is negotiating a treaty that will effectively remove elected governments from decision-making over issues like health and safety, working conditions and environmental safety in the workplace; the trend is towards larger transnational conglomerates with total control over their workplace and the environment around it.

Check Monsanto's recent declaration that the UK public was powerless to stop Monsanto planting transgenic crops in the UK; this is not the action of a company which has things like elections to fear; it is totalitarian - and it represents a possible future world government; that of the corporates; a government that the general public have no say in electing.

Personally, I find the idea of a world ruled by a few large Western corporations dystopian to say the least. Mind you, saying that in Colombia would earn you a visit from death squads funded by Chevron and BP...


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