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Stephanie McMillan’s “The Corporate Shill: The Buying And Selling of Jared Diamond”

Stephanie McMillan’s “The Corporate Shill: The Buying And Selling of Jared Diamond”

December 9, 2009

Here’s Stephanie McMillan — fantastic cartoonist and co-author of As The World Burns with Derrick Jensen — with an article for the blog Marxist Update on Jared Diamond’s December 5 New York Times op-ed: “Will Big Business Save The Earth?”

[Diamond's] title asks, “Will Big Business Save the Earth?” That’s not a difficult question to answer: No. No, big business will not save the Earth. Instead of being honest, though, Diamond answers the question in the affirmative and subjects us to a poorly-argued, mind-warping, illogical and denial-drenched apology for some of the most destructive corporations that curse our planet with their existence.

… His actual agenda is revealed in the last paragraph, which is partly a plea for the government to give corporations incentives like tax breaks and money for research to facilitate these changes. But if they’re already modifying production practices to help the environment because that is good for profits, then why do they require incentives? I don’t get it.

… The motivations for these companies to reign in their destruction of the world are, without exception, self-serving and purely concerned with the bottom line. It costs too much to clean up oil spills, retrofit factories, and crush angry natives. Diamond’s sympathies are 100% in line with this, and his only desire seems to be to assist these corporations in their accumulation of profit. “We should reward companies that work to keep the planet healthy,” he urges. He doesn’t express the slightest concern for the well-being of the natural world itself or for the living beings who comprise it.

He talks about the challenges that Coca-Cola faces in finding acceptable sources of water, and tries to convince us that “Hence Coca-Cola’s survival compels it to be deeply concerned with problems of water scarcity, energy, climate change and agriculture.” But the obvious point remains unsaid: Coke is not a necessity. It is in fact harmful to those who drink it. We don’t NEED to solve the problem of how Coca-Cola obtains water, or provide incentives for them to do it less destructively, because they could just fucking stop making it. Now there’s a simple solution.

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