If Vancouver isn’t the anti-corporate capital of the world, it’s certainly in the running. Greenpeace and Adbusters both got started there. The city has repeatedly denied Wal-mart the right to build there, despite the company’s attempts to create an environmentally friendly building. There is a good reason to keep an eye on corporations. Nestle and Coca-cola‘s actions in the third world are two examples from a very long list of literal wars, famines, and plagues that corporations have been involved in for the past 400 years. Still, I hate how anti-corporatism has become so trendy. If I told people that the batteries in the Chevy Volt were made from ground puppy livers, I have the feeling I’d be met with approving grunts and a donation check rather than someone with a straight jacket or some other sane response.
The problem I have with agreeing with most gaffes against corporations is that it assumes Comcast, Rogers or Microsoft is burning calories to get YOU. Yes, that OEM software agreement means that Steve Ballmer will hide in your closet and eat your bones if you’re not asleep by 8:30. Please. All my run-ins with corporations, be it through working for them or being on hold for their tech support, can be explained by one thing: Apathy. Throughout the industrial revolution, corporations worked well by having rigid sets of simple, repeatable rules that can be carried out by the cheapest and least skilled workers possible. Basically, if it’s not your job, don’t think about it. Nestle’s marketing of formula to developing countries was not part of some insane eugenics conspiracy. They were just repeating actions that had worked in North America and Europe. So if it’s not profitable for corporations to consider the consequences of their actions, what can we do? Write more legislation? I don’t think so. The business model is already dead. Find out why in tomorrow’s post.