There is an idea that is pervasive in American capitalism that entrepreneurs are the great producers, great men who move the Earth through intelligence, perseverance, and creativity. You can hear it echoed from Ayn Rand to Ted Nugent: the executives are the people who produce and keep the world moving, while the knuckle-draggers shuffling to work at 6 in the morning and don’t make enough money to pay taxes are, in fact, parasites.
This is bullshit.
The fact is, those corporations often didn’t get to their billions through wisdom or creativity, or even good luck. They got there through criminal activity, inherited wealth, and ruthless disregard for the value of anything but the stockholders and the corporation’s profit.
Case #1: duPont Chemicals
The duPont corporation is the perfect example of why these global companies think something like a whipping boy is a damn good idea. It’s because these are the same assholes who had whipping boys in feudal Europe. We have this silly idea in America that we are no longer controlled by the monarchs and scoundrels of medieval Europe, but is that really true?
It’s hard to believe that is true when I look at a family like duPont, who were Burgundian nobility who emigrated to the United States to escape the guillotine for their injustices to the lower class during the French Revolution.
If that’s not enough, they were one of the biggest companies accused by Smedley Butler of trying to overthrow the U.S. government to install a fascist dictator, as fascists tend to be more friendly to big, ruthless business. Now, you might not believe in Major General Smedley Butler’s accusations, but that doesn’t clear duPont of dirt. They’ve also been accused of having hemp made illegal to destroy the competition against their new product – Nylon – and they are also responsible for the lovely carcinogen probably in your kitchen right now: Teflon. They’re not even close to the worst.
Case #2: Chiquita
Chiquita weren’t always the non-controversial banana company with the wacky mascot that we all know now. At one time, they had a different name – the United Fruit Company – and a very different business ethos.
You see, rather than grow by producing affordable, delicious fruit… they bribed government officials in third-world countries, amassing enormous power over the politics of these developing nations and using it to exploit the workers in those places, to grow the cheapest fruit known to man (second to slave labor, I guess). Hence the banana republic.
Oh yeah, the guy the U.S. government supposedly sent in to make these banana republics more docile for the companies? None other than Major General Smedley Butler.
Case #3: Ford, GM, IBM and the Nazis
I don’t know, but it doesn’t seem like helping the Nazis massacre millions doesn’t seem like a very American way to make billions, but that’s just what these companies have been accused of. Yet Ford and GM have been accused of not bothering to close shop when fascists took power in Europe; hell, they took the opportunity to borrow some slave labor from the concentration camps.
IBM took it a step further, and actually provided the punch card system the Nazis used to keep track of all those slaves.
That’s not counting the German corporations you buy products from every day who provided such valuable technology as Zyklon B, the gas used to exterminate the Jews. And the horrible and well-documented business practices of Wal-Mart and the Disney Corporation. Or the ruthless monopoly of Standard Oil, and the shady dealings of Microsoft… the list goes on.
These executives are not the benevolent and wise leaders portrayed by people like Rush Limbaugh or Ayn Rand. They are liars, cheats, and ruthless narcissists. Would you give your money to the Nazis? Then why give it to the people who enabled them?