Quite a few friends had tweeted about this video of Coca Cola seemingly aiming to unite the peoples of India and Pakistan, one person at a time, at least.
Personally I am extremely cynical of big money capitalism, of which Coca Cola is the most notable example. Numerous are the instances where Coca Cola has been found to be at the unethical end of the human spectrum. Where big money capitalism is rampant, rarely is there room for human virtues to take precedence in actions that otherwise are imperative, like the reasons in the Pakistan-India divide that Coca Cola now seeks to exploit.
Most of us take things at face value, seldom do we question things, and even more seldom when it is Coca Cola – probably the world’s best known soft drink. John Pilger, the world renowned documentary film maker and writer did a documentary on the soft drink giant, it’s powers and the economic stranglehold it has on poor third world economies. Like the scandals that have erupted of late of the unethical practices of large Multi National Corporations in the textile trade in Bangladesh, Coca Cola is not new to it’s experience in being one of the most unethical MNC’s in the world. Such is the power of Coca Cola that most Socialist or indeed Communist countries have managed to curb Capitalism in most cases, except in the case of Coca Cola.
That Capitalism at its core is a very unethical system that fundamentally operates on the basis of oppression in one form or the other to accrue profits is not contestable. Therefore, it is quite obvious with the most callous brevity that this seemingly ‘good’ project of Coca Cola should be seen not for what it looks like on the surface.
For mostly obvious reasons (at least for some of you), I remain extremely cynical, and with good reason that this supposedly good gesture of Coca Cola is underpinned by clandestine economic interests that far outweigh the human virtues it seemingly portrays to be abundant.
This is a quick end of work rant to release the suppression I have felt by being inundated through a whole plethora of tweets in support of this campaign, with time I will hopefully update this.
UPDATE: Response to Jack Point
Jack Point has written a response to the post above here. This is a very brief response.
I cited the case of Bangladesh, yes, but what I have cited is not about the building (Rana Plaza) that collapsed recently. Therefore Jack Point’s argument using Rana Plaza becomes that, another argument, and less of a response to my post.
Further, what I have written is a blog post and by my own admission is a rant, I will of course be more substantial should I be writing to a popular news site.
But the crux of my argument is this, frankly from the little that I have known of Jack Point over the years I would have expected this to have been understood, though I am culpable in that I should have been more diligent in my clarity. Anyway, I digress, my argument is this – it isn’t wrong to be cynical of a seemingly good gesture of anyone if there are serious questions that have to be asked of the credibility and past history of the doer. It is common knowledge that Coca Cola has been contaminated by very many unethical practices that have been highlighted on numerous occasions, John Pilger’s documentaries being one of them. Indeed Coca Cola has had a relatively easy ride from the masses who rarely question its record because not many want to shout out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.
About the crook that he asks of, it is common knowledge that when the neighbourhood crook who has been at the base of the most nefarious activities suddenly initiates a seemingly good neighbourhood project, the neighbourhood does wonder where this will all lead to.
And let’s look at this objectively. When something as big as Coca Cola does something, the impact is felt by hundreds of millions of people around the world. Therefore, whilst millions of people see something good in something done, it obscures the harm that millions of others suffer as a result. I have been very clear in what I have said; I am not saying that this is not a good initiative when you look at it in isolation. My argument has been that the expected economic return to Coca Cola surely would far outweigh the supposed human virtues at play. There is absolutely no other conceivable reason why an otherwise extremely profit driven organisation would endeavour to take this initiative.
Let’s be realistic here, numerous attempts have been made at the very highest echelons of politics, trade, economics and social initiatives to bridge the antagonistic divide between India and Pakistan and they have all failed, for various reasons. This initiative too is doomed to fail, I promise you now with whatever credibility I possess, that we are not going to be crediting Coke in the foreseeable future for the peoples of Pakistan and India uniting. What then would this little excursion by Coke be? Yes, a very quick money making venture, and make money they will. And all those who fall for this strategy would have been duped, and they will still not accept it.
Jester asks “That we expect the multinational to uphold standards that both the local Government and local businesses are incapable of upholding?”. Well when institutions such as nation states that are so heavily regulated and bound by statutory conventions still fail at their base, Corporates that aren’t as regulated as nation states have every reason structurally to fail and cause damage. The difference is that governments can be held to account in one way or the other; rarely can a people’s revolution take on a corporation that spans across continents.