onsdag, mars 25, 2009

Worst Companies In The World

In college, I had this old crazy hippie for a professor. He was skinny as a split toothpick and wore the same cardigans and corduroys every day. He had wild grizzled hair tied back in a rough ponytail and a thin scratchy beard that looked as if a particularly determined hoarfrost had decided to set up shop along his cheekbones.

He had lived his entire life in a little shack in Western Massachusetts. He had a crazy rich old neighbor who believed he could speak to bears. This guy would drive out to the local donut shop every morning and buy all their leftover jelly donuts. I'm not making this up. He would buy literally hundreds of jelly donuts at sharply discounted morning-after prices and then load them into barrels and drive them to his house and chain the barrels to trees so that the bears could come and have a picnic. And this guy would go out into his yard and pet the bears and coo at them and all the while my professor would be on his back porch with a rifle in his hand trying to decide which one he should shoot.

As is the case with many crazy college professors, he told me many things I'll never forget. Most of them had to do with aliens running the White House, but one thing which struck a peculiarly reasonable chord in me was his description of globalization as a mechanism for removing consequences from actions. It's easy to comprehend the labor that goes into creating a sweater when it's grandma knitting it in the corner--less so when it's some kid in Indonesia.

More generally, the people who buy shit in this country are often unaware of the effects of their purchases around the world. Even things which are domestically produced at great cost lose their salience when shipped between communities. And when you realize the consequences of those actions, it tends to come as quite a shock.

And so it was with this week's thread. "I dare you to find a company more evil than De Beers," forum goon scheherezade taunted his forums compatriots. "Here's a company that was founded by the guy who is basically african hitler (cecil rhodes) and their entire marketing is devoted to selling fucking rocks to CEO's wives." The challenge was clear: find a company that had done more wrong to the world than the diamong cartel. 22 pages later, I'm not sure we found a company more evil than De Beers, but I'm pretty sure we learned a lot more about how we're all going to die horrible painful deaths because of our own economic negligence or collective malfeasance. This week's Goldmine is a painful education, and while you may laugh, it won't be mirthful chuckling as much as the sort of hollow grunt one makes when confronted by a terrible ghost. Enjoy!


1 Comment:

Helge said...

Flott liste, alt vært litt svak for United Fruit selv. Vi gjør hva som helst for noen bananer