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Ten real world corporations from the mind of a super villain

01 Dic 2013
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Iñaki Berazaluce

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We were already warned by the documentary ‘The Corporation’: Firms behave like psychos and what is worse, they don’t have a choice in order to survive to this loony bin called Global Economy. However, the psychiatric holds different ranges of derangement: on one side we have old-school locos who want to increase profit every year and on the other the rotten to the core who won’t hesitate to destroy and exterminate to achieve their goal: even more money.

Listed below the ten most evil corporations in the world:

Walmart_Associates_Produce

10 Wal Mart

Business: Multinational retail

Act of villainy: Small trader predator and ‘associate’ exploiter

What’s wrong with me? Wal Mart is the US biggest employer with 2.2 million employees around the world. Yes, but most of them live on the poverty line with wages around 8 dollars per hour (less than six euros). Meanwhile Wal Mart’s CEO makes more in an hour than one of his full time ‘associates’ (fancy term for slave) in one year.

On a free market a Wal Mart worker or ‘associate’ could apply for a job somewhere else but this is not the case: the multinational retail company not only has annihilated competition but also the local industry: 85% of its products are imported from China.

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9 Office Cherifien des Phosphates

Business: Mining

Act of villainy: Plundering neighbors resources.

Nobody you know has heard about this corp. but I bet the fruit you take at lunch has grown thanks to the phosphates that they extract from Saharans soil. Humankind benefactor? Not even close:

1. A significant share of the mineral this Moroccan company sells comes out of Bou Craa, the biggest phosphate mine in the world, which happens to be in Western Sahara. In other words, Office Cherifien profits from others natural resources.

2. The endless wealth it generates (Morocco is the top phosphate exporter on Earth) doesn’t have an impact on population because it goes directly to the Moroccan royal family. According to Forbes, Mohammed VI aka ‘king of the rock’ is the seventh richest monarch on Earth, with a 2,500 million fortune.

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8 Nestlé

Business: Food, cosmetics and whatever

Act of villainy: Water looting.

Nestlé’s charming logo –bird mommy feeding its chicks in the nest- is one of the most hypocrites in corporate communication history. The Swiss multinational is also the most boycotted in history for scandals such as its milk powder which made breast milk repellent to infants or the most recent appropriation of water resources in Ethiopia, South Africa or Pakistan.

It’s the markets law: when water is scarce it becomes a huge business. According to Hang the Bankers, Nestlé takes over 1.1 million liters of water every day from a Canadian aquifer (even during droughts) in exchange of a ‘reasonable’ sum of 3.71 dollars, total, and then sells them –bottled and labeled− for 2 millions, making spectacular margins of a 53 million percent. Bang!

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7 Pescanova

Business: Fishing

Act of villainy: Damaging the environment, exploitation of employees.

Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’: ‘you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs’. Yep. Prawns taste great on Christmas but for you to be able to buy them, Pescanova has to plunder a bunch of mangroves in Nicaragua.  Intermon Oxfan distributed last summer a report pointing out the terrible labor and environmental practices that the Spanish corporation, which owns the biggest worldwide fleet, carries out.

Pescanova is guilty of the irreversible damage caused by prawn hatcheries in the Nicaraguan mangroves, as well as the exploitation of Chilenian shoals of fish with bottom trawling. Furthermore, the hatchery workers deal with non-stop schedules for very little.

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6 Academi

Business: War

Act of Villainy: Someone else’s war contractor

Probably Academi won’t ring a bell but Blackwater will make you picture a mercenary army taking over postwar Iraq. Step by step this contractor has replaced US regular army to fight insurgents.

Academi is in fact Blackwater´s overhauling, the biggest mercenary company in the world: 40,000.  Its web doesn’t lie: ‘Elite training. Trusted protection’.  The private army carries out a very profitable war in the name of the US. In fact 90% of its income comes from the Pentagon.

If we fall into conspiracy and paranoia, Monsanto aka the devil could buy Academi to be reborn as Evil Corp. but fortunately it won’t happen any time soon.

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5 Mitsubishi

Business: Electronics, fishing, pills

Act of Villainy: Freezing tuna to sell them after extinction

Japs love tuna steaks just like yanks love Burger King. They love it so much that they have already eaten all the North Pacific tuna and now go for the Mediterranean (we too) and the Atlantic ones.

This fish will disappear in the following decades but the eagerness for its red meat won’t. Anticipating to this latent demand, the multinational Mitsubishi is fishing tons of blue tuna in European waters and deepfreezing them at minus 60 degrees. The documentary ‘The End of the Line’ shows that they plan to resell them as freshly caught when scarcity raises their prize. Mitsubishi is responsible for the 40% of Mediterranean tuna sold in Japan. WWF points out that the specie will be exterminated in 2048. Do your math.

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4 Armajaro Holdings

Business: Investment

Act of Villainy: Keeping all the chocolate!

In Roald Dahl’s book and Tim Burton’s film, ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’ Willy Wonka was an eccentric hermit who controlled the best chocolate. With much less grace and glamour, the speculator Anthony Ward is trying to monopolize cocoa production on the belief that like tuna scarcity will turn chocolate into a luxurious product.

Armajaro Holdings, Ward’s investment firm, bought in 2010 241,000 tons of cocoa, enough to produce 5,300 million chocolate bars, one per capita on the planet, if we subtract diabetics and ladies on diet.  According to the BBC documentary ‘Panorama’ in a few decades chocolate bars like Kit-Kat or Mars will cost around 10 euros. Why? Because cocoa production in Africa entails severe problems.

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3 Correction Corporation of America

Business: Prisons

Act of Villainy: Get customers to fill their prisons.

Imagine that your government privatizes −might have happened already− the penitentiary institutions and they rename them The Joint. Co. This company starts making heaps of Money and gets listed on the stock market. Unbelievable, right? Well, it’s been on in the US for a while. The heavyweight national champ, the Hilton of penitentiaries, is Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Its main activity isn’t rehabilitation any more, it is re-offense. This might explain why the US is the country with more imprisoned population in the world.

The methods CCA applies are even more outrageous than the nature of its activity: freedom denial. According to a report by The Public Interest group, CCA demands each state to ensure that the 90% of the cells will be filled with criminals. If this condition isn’t achieved, if crime rates decrease, the state government has to pay compensation. Governors with adjusted budgets won’t hesitate to encourage their police men to bring more black people to jail. ‘No one is innocent; there is just not enough evidence to convict you’.

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2 Rio Tinto

Business: Mining

Act of Villainy: Exploitation of workers, blockade of countries

Rio Tinto was founded at the end of the XIX century by an English group to exploit copper mines in Andalucía. It actually took its name from a river of the region. The company has grown and established its activities all around the globe.

Rio Tinto’s historical record of abuses against the environment is reflected in countries such as Philippines, Namibia, Madagascar and Australia but it reaches its paroxysm in Papua New Guinea. The island was blocked in 1990 by a subsidiary company, Bougainville Copper, in retaliation of a secessionist movement that threatened their activities. Red Cross estimates that 10,000 people died during the blockade (it lasted 7 years) due to the lack of medical aid.  The goal of its CEO was to “starve to death those bastards”.

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1 Monsanto

Business: Alimentation

Act of Villainy: Forbid farmers to replant seeds.

No Hollywood screenplay writer could have imagined the levels of evilness of Monsanto. The world’s number 1 supervillain corp. isn’t ashamed to recognize that its goal is to control the world’s alimentation. It’s only business.

Even though Monsanto has recently been awarded with the title to the most evil (ahead of McDonald’s and the Federal Reserve), they have been gathering merits since they provided the US army with ‘agent orange’ in the Vietnam War. They are also responsible of dangerous chemicals like DDT, aspartame and the bovine growth hormone that threatened consumer’s health.

Their most profitable line of product is the herbicide Roundup, which according to ecologists remains on food and causes a wide range of diseases like diabetes, cancer, Parkinson and depression. And without mentioning transgenics…

With the collaboration of Intermón Oxfam. Sources: EconmattersSalonEl PaísForbesHang the BankersPúblicoIndependentYorokobuThe Punch Corp Research

Here you can read the original text in Spanish. Translation by our beloved Alex Kafiristán.

 

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