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14 Truly Evil Companies

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My last post, “The Apprentice-Randal is Evil”, brought about some heated debate. I was glad for the chance to hear your comments, and thoughts, about your concept of evil. For that, I thank you. But, as the comments went on, there was one notion that struck a cord with me: the concept of ethics in the business environment.

Most of us would like to believe that companies are more aware of ethical issues, and are conducting their businesses within such framework. I, also, would like to think that there is some accountability taking place, but, something about the idea of capitalism just won’t let me believe that everyone is onboard. Especially big business.

Ethics, to me, seem to be opposed to the idea of capitalism. The concept of a free market seems restricted when wrapped in the tight fabric of ethics. I could be wrong, I’m sure Rodney (a commentor from the last post) would think I am. I just didn’t know.

So, as any good researcher would do, I spent some time on the information highway. Now, I am well aware that a large percentage of information on this medium cannot be constituted as “truth”, but I am also aware that my local, and national, news source may not be impartial either. News is also a business. And, they, too, must also succeed by any means they feel necessary. So, in saying that, I had to take all information as suspicious.

Now I searched for awhile, and eventually landed on an article titled “Most Wanted Corporate Human Rights Violators of 2005.” This title tickled me in my evil spots, so I investigated further.

This article, listed here, went on to outline its findings on the 14 most abusive companies, and the crimes they have been accused of committing. The list is interesting to say the least. Whether or not I believe such accusations is of no relevance. I leave such decisions to you.

What is interesting is that I, personally, have supported a few of these companies on a regular basis. I can even go so far as to say that I have more than paid the salary of at least one executive, at the Coca Cola company, with the amount of their sweet concoctions I have ingested. Sad, I know, but true. (Secretly, I’m still searching for the article that states Coke still puts real Coke into their soft drinks. That I would believe.)

This article, however truthful, did give life to the wooden cogs in my head. I began to ask myself a few questions. Would I support a company who knowingly abused human rights? Would I buy products from a company who used child labor? Would I even take the time to find out what a company was doing outside the borders of this country, if I had a notion it wasn’t right?

I would like to think the answers to these questions would be no, no, and yes, but I just don’t know. Let’s say that I did find out that Coke was indeed guilty of the crimes mentioned in this article. Would it stop me from consuming my daily 300 milliliters of the dark magical syrup? Umm, I guess I could go cold turkey. I mean we are talking human rights here. And because of that, my mild addiction can be cast aside. I am not totally without heart.

What if Wal-Mart was also guilty of the aforementioned human rights violations? Would I stop shopping for bargains there? Yes, I think I could avoid their super box stores, and find a local retailer who doesn’t have eight year old kids sewing socks in the back room till all hours of the night. Yes, I could do that.

What if the company, who employed me right now, was conducting illegal activities in another country? Could I separate myself from my handsome salary, and find work with a less evil entity? Could I risk it? That, I don’t know. I’m not sure if I could endanger myself, and my livelihood for the sake of morality. Again, sad, but true. I don’t think I’m alone, either.

Where is your line? I mean, really, have you ever taken the time to find out exactly how your employer operates? Do you know where all your supplies are manufactured? In what countries? Do you even know where your company profits are going? Are they being rifled into the account of some company, or person, you know to be a criminal, a racist, or a radical? You don’t know for sure, do you? Neither do I.

However truthful this article is, we are still left with the ethical dilemma it poses. How far would we go to not support companies who don’t have any ethical frame work? And, how far we would let our lives be affected by our ethical beliefs?

I don’t have all the answers for you, or for myself. Such things come with investigation, and reflection. The one thing I am sure of is that if I were to see these violations first hand, instead of hearing whispers escaping from third world countries, I would have no choice but to take a stand. That would also mean that I would have to take down the makers of the one thing that gets me through the day. And that is a small price to pay for ethics.

The fourteen companies identified by Global Exchange are: Caterpillar, Chevron, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, Dyncorp/CSC, Ford Motor Company, Kellog Brown & Root (KBR), Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, Nestlé USA, Philip Morris, Pfizer, Suez-Lyonnaise Des Eaux (SLDE), and Wal-Mart.

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About T Stoddart

  • Nancy

    Well, I’m glad to be giving up chocolate – good excuse – & I already don’t deal w/Wally’s, wouldn’t buy a Ford if it was the last vehicle on earth anyway, and for me, the rest are moot. I think. Problem is, their subsidiaries. Nestle makes a lot more than chocolate. Ditto Suez. They all have their creepy corporate digits insinuated into every aspect of our lives, especially in places like the US. I don’t think there’s anything from soup to nuts to cleaning supplies that Nestle doesn’t have a stake in. What to do besides boycotting them? I wouldn’t mind someone putting a bullet thru the corporate CEO’s heads, but that wouldn’t stop them, either, I suspect, and unless one is a majority stockholder, even being a stockholder (thru a mutual fund or such) means nothing, since they screw their common stocks stockholders as readily as they do the people they exploit.

    The problem is the corruption of the corporate management themselves, and the corruption they spread to congress – which, God knows, doesn’t need any help at being corrupt.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Look at Dubya.

  • Ja-Ja Binks

    Oy, there’s evil out there….
    Cant be, O shoot I’ve forgotten to take off my rose coloured glasses.
    Yikes its an ugly world out there mogley lets bail…..
    Capitalism as said cant be bed fellows with ethics, why? In my opinion its because there will always be someone without any ethics always trying to make a buck. Oh yes this opinion was MADE IN CHINA….LOL

  • RedTard

    This is just the usual anti-business left crowd having a circle jerk.

    The linked article points to corporations as the worst abusers in the modern world. As usual, your side is dead wrong and completely incapable of comprehending reality. The almighty governments you seem to love so much, not corporations, are the worst abusers and always have been.

    If the first sentence of the article is a lie then how can I be expected to believe anything else it says?

    The listed “abuses” mostly link corporations to legal practices in foreign companies, actions of foreign companies which they do business with and have no control over, and the filing of lawsuits from the anti-American and anti-Business establishment.

    Coca-cola is being accused of causing AIDS in Africa? Have you guys totally lost your mind? It’s disturbing that a large percentage of our voters in this country would support people who buy into this garbage.

  • Nancy

    And the usual right-wing reactionaries staging their own circle jerk, too, right Red?

  • As usual, your side is dead wrong and completely incapable of comprehending reality.

    this is exactly why most political posts, In The Middle excepted, are wastelands of commentary.

    one side believes that they have the key, the absolute truth on their side…and the other side is stupid, unable to understand what’s really going on.

    complete and utter bullshit.

  • Mark (#5), it isn’t that the statement you quoted is wrong, necessarily, it’s that it implies that the reverse isn’t also true. I’ve often found that both participants in a given debate are dead wrong and completely incapable of comprehending reality. 🙂

  • Nancy

    Unfortunately, reality is always comprehended subjectively. Now what?

  • Thank God for Wal Mart, I say. They’ve done more good and raised people’s standards of living with their brilliant market efficiencies than any other organization on the planet in the last decade.

  • So fuck it all, pass me a Coke.

    *shrug* Apathy: The Choice of a New… is generation a politically incorrect statement nowadays?

  • yea, i luv wal mart. now all those folks who used to sport those “hungry? eat your import” bumper stickers can now line up to get cheap ‘n shoddy goods all produced outside of the united states.

    gawd bless america.

  • and very true pwinn….it comes from both sides, sometimes simultaneously.

  • Ja-Ja Binks

    I think RedTard would fit more into the Lucky Pierre group not the circle jerk group….(Go to wikipedia to look Lucky Pierre up…HA HA HA)

  • T

    This is getting somewhere.

    I know the source of the article is not the most trust worthy, but sometimes information finds its way through unusual means.

    The real point of me writing this was to see if you would give up the things you may use on a daily basis. Would you give up your job, even? This has nothing to do with politics. Save that shit for the political category.

    Now, I must admit, I am currently enjoying my beverage of choice as I write this, shame on me. But, I’m in denial.

    No, wait, I’m addicted. Yeah, addicted. I need to get a class action suit going. Maybe I’ll put a call into Jackie Childs…he’ll know what to do.

    Carry on…


  • Ja-Ja Binks

    “As usual, your side is dead wrong and completely incapable of comprehending reality.”

    Is that a drug induced, crack haze that seems to be floating around you?

    Ha Ha

  • lumpy

    That list is pretty loony. Of all the rat-bastard oil companies the worst they could find is Chevron? Clearly their criteria are seriously skewed to certain issues.

    Proud to say I own stock in 4 of the companies, tho. Maybe I should use this list as my new investment guide.

  • Guppusmaximus

    So, am I supposed to do research on everything that’s sold in a grocery store because some idealistic college student said that Nestle & Coca Cola were criminals?? Not to say that site is wrong but just on the premise that Caffeine is a drug, I think Dunkin Donuts is the next company to be “At Large”…Don’t you??

  • I must say this post is pretty sad. The title would make you think that you had some real information on these companies, instead it provides nothing but a link to some pro-terrorist, anti-american baloney. While there are companies that take advantage of people, these charges are laughable.

  • T

    John, you make me laugh. It’s close minded to label everything pro-terrorist, and anti-american, just because you don’t agree with it.

    I never said that the article was the end all in truth. I used the article to spark the conversation of ethics and choices. But you missed that point.

    As for the title, it got your attention didn’t it? If you didn’t like it, that’s really too bad. I highly doubt you are capable of unbiased thought anyway. Maybe you are not a fan of ethics and human rights violations, I don’t know.

    And if you really think there are companies taking advantage of people, then why are these charges so hard to believe? Do some research. Prove the article wrong. I bet you’ll have a hard time. Better yet, list some companies you think are unethical, that I would like to see.

    As for Guppusmaximus, that choice is up to you. If you are interested in where your money is going, then a little research could help you make an informed decision. But, again, this article was intended to spark a debate about ethics, nothing more.

    And, yes, it would be very hard to know the true inner workings of every company. I would say close to impossible. So what are we to do? Some of us are willing to go blindly into consumerism, some are trying to get to the truth. Where are you?

    Thanks for commenting.


  • T

    John, although I don’t agree with your stab at me, I do say that I kind of like some of your comments on your own blog. Maybe you aren’t as close minded as I thought. But, then again, maybe you actually think about the content of the posts on your site.


  • It’s one thing to say you are trying to start a debate and get to the truth, it’s another thing to title an article “14 Truly Evil Companies.”

    That headline renders a judgment, it does not ask a question. I think the issues you raise are worth discussing but I do believe the headline and your stated purpose clash considerably.

  • T

    Dj I understand what you’re saying, but in truth, the 14 evil companies are linked to in the article. So what is the problem?

    The question, hence the debate, stems from the rest of the article I wrote. I mean, really, you can’t know the plot of a movie by just reading the title can you? But that does not mean the advertising company doesn’t use the title that will draw the most interest does it? It’s marketing 101.

    If I used a title that got your attention, then my choice worked. If I got you thinking about ethics, then the reason I wrote the article worked.

    Thanks for commenting DJ

  • uao

    I’m no friend of greedy, unethical fat-cat corporations.

    However, I glanced at the article linked to this one.

    Here’s what evil Caterpillar Corporation does:

    Human Rights Abuses: contracting with known violators of human rights, enabling house demolition, supplying equipment that kills Palestinian civilians and American peace activists

    Translation: They sell bulldozers. Israel bought some and knocked down houses with them.

    A bulldozer is not an instrument of killing. It can be used to kill, just as a baseball bat can. Is Spalding evil because it sells baseball bats to psychos who kill people with them?

    My disappointment lays in relying on this obvious propagandized article to hang your thesis on.

    There are plenty of evil companies; Halliburton is one that comes to mind.

    What you do is ask us to read the article, point out that it may not be true, and add that you don’t have the answers (in which case, why read?)

    I like the concept of your piece. I hope you’ll try another version someday, but rely on actual incriminating business practices beyond selling bulldozers to a country we are allies with (I’m no knee-jerk defender of Israel either, but that’sa different issue)

    Anyway, them’s my thoughts.

  • T

    uao, agreed. The buldozer thing is weak. But I didn’t write that one.

    And, this is not a thesis, it’s simply a post about ethics and business. As for answers, you have to find your own. I am not the resource for ethical dilemmas. What I did do is ask myself a few questions and I gave a few honest answers. Now, I would hope you would do the same. I can’t answer every question that I pose. All I can do is start a dialogue and see what others can add.

    As for me pointing out the truth of the article, well, I have no way of validating any article. I have no way of validating any information I read. All I can do is keep my ears, eyes, and mind open to all sources and hopefully, with enough info, generate an idea for myself.

    But, anyway, I appreciate your addition. And I hope you come back.


  • You’re right about Coca-Cola: Even here in England, we have stupid commercials that are as syrupy as the drink itself, informing us that this is the “season to love one another.” And that all the world comes together under the benevolent Coke banner. Bullshit.

    One reason why we won’t win the war on cocaine is because the plants are grown to flavor the drink, even though the concentration of cocaine in these particular leaves that they use is too small to worry about. But nevertheless, the point is, Coca-Cola has a sticky hand firmly in place in the Drug Wars.

    Just remember that next time you hear, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and teach them to live in harmony …”

  • But having said that, I don’t believe most of what they say – the Global Watch source you use is heavily tainted, especially with respect to Ford, which they shamelessly use to subjectively denounce the War in Iraq. Please … it’s so obvious why most of the companies are “evil,” according to them.

    I’m willing to consider some of these charges, but not all of them. I only mentioned Coca-Cola because I am opposed to most aspects of the War on Drugs.

  • T

    Mark, I knew there was something up with Coke. I would kill for one right now, I tell ya.

    Seriously, I know when it first came out there was a small concentration of cocaine in it, no one knew what cacaine was but boy it sure made them feel good. But then again, it was marketed as “medicine” back then, “an herbal tonic” and such.

    As for Global Watch, I am more than sure that they have an agenda concerning their picks. But for what ever their reasons, each of these companies, besides catepiller, needs closer scrutiny.

    Thanks for your comment.


  • uao

    Incidentally, Coca Cola contained cocaine as an active ingredient until 1903; then it was replaced with caffeine.

    T’s right; it was marketed as a tonic for a variety of ailments, including as a cold medicine. There was no such thing as ‘soda pop’ as we know it in the 19th century.

    Coca is no longer a part of the Coca Cola formula; the flavor comes from the cola nut.

    Coke still hates to talk about this history.

  • Ja-Ja Binks

    Its all depends on what pair of glasses your looking through…… The saying about walking a mile in a mans shoes may pertain to some of what has been mentioned here. Lets say your a Palestinian and you see someone in a Caterpillar bulldozing your house, what is going to be etched in your mind? I can tell you the name Caterpillar would certainly be a part of that picture. Whether or not you think its lame certainly would be debateable if the shoe resided on the other religion.. Or reality…
    Just my 2¢ worth…..Nothing personal…

    حيّة يزدهر طويلة و

  • Uao is right, Coca-Cola took the cocaine out in 1905. There was always high amounts of caffeine in it due to the kola nut extracts.

    The point is, if you’ve ever wondered, as I used to, about what “vegetable extracts” they use in their formula, it’s coca leaves for flavoring and kola nuts for the caffeine punch.

    Hence, Coca – Cola! Cola is now slang for any soft drink, but its roots go way back with Coke’s invention.

  • I understand, Ja-Ja. It does matter very much on what glasses you’re seeing things through, whether they be rose-colored or clear.

    In fact, that was exactly the point I tried to make. Companies do nasty things. They may also do good things as well. It’s up to us to determine whether the good outweighs the bad, but the top 14 list was very subjective. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Ja-Ja Binks

    20 people can witness an accident and if you ask each one what happened you can get 20 different stories…Everything is subjective, BUT not everything is the truth…. Or… can all 20 stories be the truth?
    Does every good cancel out every bad?
    Or is it a matter of degrees?
    Personally I think if you stand for nothing then you stand for everything..
    And I for one cant and wont stand for everything…
    Stand up for what you believe …
    You just might be right…
    If not then at least you’ve shown you have a backbone…

  • ben

    who ever wrote this has no idea what monsanto deos and if you live in the city im pretty sure you dont know what your talking about when it comes tro farming because roundup deonst leave the pesticide in the soil. and they have it patented so no one can use their genetically modified seeds to produce a crop. MONSANTO IS NOT AN EVIL COMPANY!

  • ben

    this isnt right because roundup deonst leave the pesticide in the soil. and they have it patented so no one can use their genetically modified seeds to produce a crop. MONSANTO IS NOT AN EVIL COMPANY!

  • GredMustDie

    I know a way to fix this it involves allot of killing though but I think it is worth it. Slaughter all the greedy unethical people kill every last one. Show people that to be unethical means to die that would fix the problem.

  • knowsthetruth

    i promise you that the reasonmost corporations are unethical is due to the bureaucracy. i suggest you read into Noam Chomsky Lectures ( a linguistic professor who translates political jargon ) and read some articles by Chris Hedges at http://www.truthdig.com for it seems to me that you are all making opinon’s based on second hand knowledge and the worst source of all : the Net
    i have studied U.S political culture and foriegn policy extensivly and i will tell you that all the accusations made by the author are not only true but, an understatement
    if you only knew what your government was passing into legislation and what the whole culture of politics was, you would be afraid to go outside
    anyone who thinks that the government has your best interest at heart is not only delusional but a fine example of propaganda commited by your government
    If you were a dictator and you needed to model another countries propanganda model, you would model the U.S in a heart beat.
    not only do they have the greatest propaganda model in history, it is part of U.S foriegn policy to create fear at home to justify wars abroad….. i suggest you read : Terrorizing the nieghbourhood
    the real story of how U.S foreign policy works
    everything i write is backed up by facts as the information of what happens today will be made 25yrs from now, so everything that happened in the Indo-China Wars AkA: the Viet-Nam war… is presently available as is everything that happened in the Cold War
    is also available

  • knowsthetruth

    in the 60’s they told the people at home: if we dont go into Viet-Nam, China will take over the world
    perfect example of U.S propaganda, the real reason the wanted to go into Viet-Nam was that Viet-Nam is very high in natural resources and underdeveloped,
    it is the same in Afghanistan which, is on a belt of mountains that are untapped for most of thier ore and precious stone.
    the U.S went into Iraq and is the only War on record that is a total econmic failure
    even Donald Trump said it on Larry King live
    if the powers that be are so worried about human rights and WMD’s, how come no WMD’s were ever found, and they never posts how many innocent people have been killed by occupiers? seems strange no?
    the government has regulated CNN so that no story can reach the air without a government appointed “regulator” overseeing it? what ever happened to freedom of the press?
    why would they need someone to oversee the news?? isnt the news supposed to be unbiased and truthful?
    they used to tell us that margarine was better for you then butter, that turned out to be wrong…. they used to say that cigarettes had health benifits if you smoked them…. that also turned out to be wrong….. hmmmm i wonder what else they are not telling us…??????