Money Makes the World Go Round, but Sometimes Zig-Zag and Every Other Messed up Direction We Can Imagine.
This list of the worst things people have done for money is the most cringe worthy. It’s an anger inducing guide to how to do dirty business. There is no end to how these companies dodge and dive the laws and environment all in the name of profit.
So, let’s delve into the sordid world of the 15 Worst Things People Have Done for Money.
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With that fixed, let’s look into the first scandal one of our favorite companies stirred for money.
Coca-Cola Stealing Water
Behind your favourite fizzy beverage is a sordid world of unequal pay, assassinations and stealing water.
But we’ll just stick to one of their major human rights violations for today. In Plachimada, Kerala in India, Coca-Cola extracted 1.5million litres of deep well water. This was bottled and sold as Dasani and BonAqua bottled water.
The groundwater was depleted, and thousands of local communities were affected. Not only was there a severe water shortage destroying local agriculture, but the remaining water became contaminated with chloride and bacteria and led to many health problems.
The Dirty Dozen of the Deforestation of the Amazon
It is not fair just to blame the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the destruction and fires ravaging the Amazon. Nor is it fair to put the blame squarely on commodity traders like Cargill, JBS and Mafrig who profit from trading this natural resource like a commodity. Nor are the banks and investment money behind them like BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Santander, BNP Paribas, HSBC solely responsible.
It isn’t only the large scale cattle farmers who we can take aim at. Nor all the retailers that stock products made from the Amazon’s natural resources like Leclerc, Stop Shop, Walmart and Costco. And you can’t blame the consumers who buy the products and make the business viable.
The truth is that the whole business system is broken, and people will stop at nothing to make money, no matter the cost to life and our planets future.
Testing on Animals
It is hard to pin the blame of animal testing on just one cosmetic and hygiene product company. But the practice continues in the race to find the “latest and greatest” anti-aging and plumping cosmetic product.
This awful practice of testing cosmetics on animals is banned in many countries, including Colombia, the European Union, United Kingdom, India, Israel, and Norway. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean that products tested on animals are not sold in these countries, it just means that the testing doesn’t take place on their shores.
The startling thing is that for a long time there have been alternatives to testing on animals. Artificial human skin offers scientists an alternative. Artificial skin can imitate the reaction actual human skin will have to a product and the chemicals it contains and can be altered to mimic different skin types and ages.
Other lab grown tissues and even synthetic organs can be used for tests instead of animals. And research companies can also use body parts and organs taken from animals slaughtered for the meat industry to perform tests on organs like the eyes which are otherwise a waste product.
There are plenty of other alternatives, but these cost money and time, and the pursuit of profits is far more alluring to many companies than the pursuit of ethics.
Bell Pottinger and Their Influence on South African Politics
Bell Pottinger was one of the largest PR firms in the world. They were hired by the Gupta family to boost their PR and aggravate racial tensions and promote former President Zuma. The campaign was a sustained “dirty campaign” and was uncovered by journalists in 2016. The campaign played on racial animosity in South Africa. They created fake news articles online all to benefit the Gupta owned Oakbay Investments.
Thankfully Bell Pottinger was served their just deserts and was publically disgraced and expelled from the PR professional body. However, in South Africa the damage was done, and is only now coming to light in a lengthy state capture tribunal.
Facebook Cambridge Analytica Data Sale
What happens when someone steals money from 50 million of their clients? Nothing really, they mostly just continue to like and share and make you advertising revenue.
When CEO Mark Zuckerberg sold data, he had gathered from 50million Facebook profiles without their consent, it seemed like something that would be enough to shut a business down. But despite admitting to the data sale to Cambridge Analytica, it was business as usual at the old book of face.
It has brought a lot of public awareness to digital theft, but when people weigh up sharing baby photos with everyone from their high school class over personal privacy, it seems that likes and shares wins hands down.
But all is not bleak, stick around until the end when we reveal how the little guy is beating Goliath as we speak.
VW Crooked the Environmental Books
In 2015 VW was ordered to pay a $4.3 billion fine for trickery. This wasn’t your usual April Fools prank. For years they had knowingly installed software into their diesel car engines to override the emissions data results. The Environmental Protection Agency sets standards of acceptability that determine that a car is not emitting more pollutants than what is acceptable.
The company’s leaders were taken to task and accused of fraud and false advertising.
Johnson and Johnson Talc Caused Cancer
In a landfall win a group of 22 women, and 6 who have passed, in the US state of Missouri were awarded $550m in compensation and $4.1bn in punitive damages against Johnson and Johnson.
And this was just the beginning. The producer of the most popular baby powder has a further 9,000 legal cases against them regarding their baby powder.
So what is the story?
Well the court found that Johnson & Johnson have been selling their talc powder since the 1970s knowing that it was contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is a highly dangerous substance that causes cancer, and in the case of the 28 women, ovarian cancer. Talc is a mineral mined from the ground and often found near asbestos deposits.
H& M and New Look Benefit From Child Labour
Thankfully child labour has been on the decrease, and since the year 2000 there has been a decline of 30% in child labour numbers. But it still means that in 2020 an estimated 100 million children are still trapped in child labour arrangements.
Two fast fashion brands that are still benefiting from the low-wages and lack of human rights of child labour are H&M and New Look.
Swedish retailer H&M takes advantage of Myanmar, Bangladesh and Cambodian child labourers. Paying them as less money as 13 pence an hour for their work. In an official statement H&M doesn’t seem to feel they are doing much wrong, as they pointed out that the legal working age in Myanmar is 14!
UK based New Look has a slightly more ethical and moralistic approach to the situation, and have pledged to ‘work with suppliers and partners in Myanmar to address the findings’ of a study finding the use of underage workers in their factories. They have promised to make right by removing underage workers from their factories, and make sure that they are returned to school and reimbursed with a similar wage.
This isn’t the only controversial stunt H&M pulled, check out how “Google Is Helping H&M to Create a Custom Dress Based on Your Personal Data”.
Microsoft and Apple – Child Labour
Two companies form the tech industry benefiting from nimble children’s hands are Microsoft and Apple. Apple has even admitted that the popular iPhone X was made by schoolchildren. In 2013 a Chinese tech factory producing the X-handset employed 74 minors to do the work. In 2018, again they were caught in the act when it was discovered that children under 18 were manufacturing Apple watches. But this time they had wisened up and the work was done under the disguise of a “internship.” Sadly, this same factory also produces products for Dell, Amazon and Siemens.
But that’s not the worst of it, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, an Amnesty International investigation claimed that children as young as 7 years old were mining for the precious metal cobalt for Microsoft. The gruelling conditions involve exposure to toxic chemicals and a hostile work environment of 12 hour days for the children. Microsoft did commit to eradicate the practice, and there has been some change on the ground in the DRC, but there is still a long way to go to meet international labour standards.
Caterpillar Is a Home Wrecker
For years the Caterpillar Company has been selling their bulldozers to the Israeli military for the sole use of destroying Palestinian homes. They supply specially modified D9 and D10 bulldozers than can do the job of flattening a home with the most efficiency.
The international community has criticised them but Caterpillar refuse to end their corporate participation in this war torn country. Many believe they are complicit in the human rights violations of the situation.
In a letter to Caterpillar CEO James Owens, The Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights said: “allowing the delivery of your … bulldozers to the Israeli army … in the certain knowledge that they are being used for such action, might involve complicity or acceptance on the part of your company to actual and potential violations of human rights…”
In 2003 peace activist Rachel Corrie was killed by a Caterpillar D-9, military bulldozer. She was trying to block the destruction a family’s home in Gaza and was run over. Her family filed a suit against Caterpillar charging them for knowingly selling machines used to violate human rights.
International Deforestation in the Name of Palm Oil
Wilmar International is the world’s largest palm oil trader. They spend all the money to buy their palm oil from 18 of the 25 major palm oil producers that are responsible for 130,000 hectares of rainforest destruction just since 2015.
The 12 brands sourcing the palm oil also important to note are Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, L’Oreal, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, according to the World Wildlife Fund, 300 football fields of rainforest are cleared every hour for palm oil production. In just a decade the deforestation has tripled. The human want for palm oil is only growing.
40% of this deforestation is happening in Papua, Indonesia. This deforestation is pushing many species to extinction, it is draining wet peat lands, making them vulnerable to forest fires. The disruption releases mass amounts of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. And the fires make Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
Pfizer Driving up Drug Prices
Pfizer is your legal drug dealer, but it’s questionable whether their practices SHOULD be legal.
Their human right violations are numerous, but today we will hone in on their dealings around ARV’s or Anti-retroviral medicine used by people with HIV/Aids.
Pfizer produces the drug fluconazole. It is an antifungal used by HIV/ AIDS patients under the shelf name Diflucan. For years they have used their monopoly on the market to drive the prices up to unaffordable prices. They refuse to sell a generic licence of fluconazole to governments in countries like Brazil, South Africa, or Dominican Republic, where the weak exchange rate means that a weekly pill costs as much as $20.
They also have a terrible track record of safety standard violations rushing untested products to market.
Ford Motor Company
Ford isn’t known for fuel economy, but did you know that since 1999, Ford cars, trucks and SUVs have ranked as having the worst overall fuel economy of any American automaker!
What’s worse, that despite their advertising claiming they are greener than ever, their cars have actually become less fuel efficient and release more CO2 emissions than before.
Ford has also lobbied against lawmakers trying to increase fuel economy standards!
Basically, they are the epitome of gas guzzlers, and they aren’t really ashamed of it. They wish everybody would just join the party and make it easier for them!
NBA and the USA CHINA Relationship
Between China and the NBA, it’s hard to know who needs who more. But like any love affair, there are some hiccups. And after a few late night tweets by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey last October in support of Hong Kong protesters, the relationship got a little rocky.
The Chinese business partner’s exit is rumoured to mean a $400 million loss to the NBA. The bigger money loss would be the estimated $4 billion in revenue the countries fans generate for the NBA annually. That’s a lot of clout.
And while the NBA publicly supported Morey’s right to free speech in America, the tweet was hastily deleted and Morey and the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did apologize multiple times. But the financial impact remains a worry for the NBA.
So another slam dunk for China, proving that even the NBA has to do some fancy footwork to keep them happy.
Suez Privatizes Water for a Living
Suez by any other name is just as immoral. You might know them as Ondeo, SITA or a number of names they hide behind to dodge the limelight and take vulnerable countries by surprise.
According to themselves they “supply clean drinking water to 92 million people across 70 countries and 5 continents.” But the truth is this is done at the expense of poor people living in countries without water, and they rake in billions of dollars in profits while rising the water price by 400 to 700 percent in some areas.
What’s worse, is that the MEGA expensive water they supplied to poor communities in Manila, Philippines was poorly processed and led to an outbreak of cholera killing 6 people and making 725 severely sick.
The IMF and World Bank are backing privatization, by forcing the hand of nations who need access to loans. In order to get a loan countries, have to give up access to their water supply for private companies to sell.
What do you think the worst thing is that big business has done for money? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!