The Globalization of Hypocrisy
By Paul Buchheit
21, 2013 "Information
Clearing House" -"CD"
The damage caused by the relentless corporate drive for profits
has become more clear in recent years. In the most important
areas of American life, devastating changes have occurred:
Almost half of the working-age adults in America passed up
doctor visits or other medical services because they couldn't
afford to pay. The system hasn't supported kids, either. A
UNICEF study places the
U.S. 26th out of 29 OECD countries in the overall
well-being of its children.
Student loan balances increased by 75% between 2007 and 2012.
Median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53%
among black households between 2005 and 2009, mainly because of
the mortgage banking collapse. Almost half of
ZERO wealth, with their
assets surpassed by debt.
Water and Food:
Life-giving seeds and drinking water have been increasingly
treated as products to be bought and sold.
All these areas of life have been degraded by a free-market
system that has
thrived on publicly-funded
research, infrastructure, and defense. Yet in a brazen show of
corporations have ignored all the problems they've caused,
choosing instead to cut their taxes in half
despite doubling their profits, to hold
60% of its cash offshore,
to eliminate workers rather than create jobs, and to reduce the
pay of their remaining employees.
An Apple executive explained: "We don't have an obligation to
solve America's problems."
Calling Themselves 'Multinationals': No Allegiance to Anyone
Big business has found its Utopia, a world in which millions of
people are willing to work for a fraction of U.S. salaries.
In this dream world of global capitalism, young people are going
from zero income on the farm to a few dollars a day on a 12-hour
factory shift, and as a result, based on the
World Bank's poverty
threshold of $1.25 per day, they're no longer "in poverty." So
the media piles on praise for free markets.
The Economist proclaimed
that "poverty is declining everywhere." The
Washington Post gushed that
"a billion people have been lifted from poverty through
But the reality is very different. Inequality continues to grow,
Poverty levels haven't
changed much in 30 years, with almost
half of humanity, up to
three billion people, living on less than $2.50 a day. A quarter
of the world's
children - over 170 million
kids under age five - are growing up stunted because of
The World Bank estimates the total
cost for a successful
attack on malnutrition would be approximately $10.3 to $11.8
Apple alone underpaid its
2012 taxes by $11 billion, based on a 35% rate.
It may be time to update the company's quote: "We don't have an
obligation to solve the world's problems."
Even if there were no obligation to help solve the world's
problems, there IS an obligation to pay for global energy
consumption and infrastructure usage and industrial pollution.
Yet a review of
25 multinational companies
shows clear negligence in meeting that responsibility. The 25
companies, with almost a half-trillion dollars in 2011-12
income, paid just 8% in taxes to the U.S. and 9%
to foreign countries. A 35% tax -- paid to ANY country or
countries -- would have generated another $90 billion over two
years, four times the amount needed to battle malnutrition.
Even Worse Than Not Paying: Making the World Pay for Them
study estimated that
toxic pollution affects the
health of more than 100 million people, shortening their
productive life spans by 12.7 years on average. A related
study concluded that in
2010 over 8 million individuals were at risk of exposure to
industrial pollutants at 373 toxic waste sites in three
low-income countries (India, Indonesia, and the Philippines).
Some of our largest multinational companies hold top positions
federal contractor misconduct
list, which recognizes corporate environmental, ethics, and
labor violations. Oil spills are common. Underdeveloped
Nigeria have been ravaged
by oil production. Big firms are buying up
farmland in more than 60
developing countries. Most perversely, multinationals are
working hard to pass trade agreements, such as the
which would actually dismantle environmental
Absurd as it once seemed, a 1991 quote from the World Bank's
Larry Summers now comes back to haunt us: "Just between you and
me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging more migration of
the dirty industries to the LDCs (lesser developed
countries)?...I've always thought that underpopulated countries
in Africa are vastly under polluted."
And as big business makes its way around the world like a
modern-day Attila the Hun, pillaging and despoiling, it has the
military covering its back
with 900 overseas bases in 130 nations. If one of the countries
kicks up a fuss, the corporations can just move on to the next
Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active
member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social
justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org,
PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main
author of "American
Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He
can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.
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