In our world we are fed with suggestions about reality on a daily basis, by news, adds, thinkers. This blogpost itself is an attempt to change your view about reality, to make it more nuanced perhaps. Everyone with an interest, be it man, woman or a business, has a message that it thinks is usefull to it. Some of these messages ask you to do something, others are anounced actions, others are warning you of factors in your environment you may not yet have identified.
When advocating for a greener, heathier future there is one option, which is to simply advocate a greener healthier future. Talk about trees, the importance of life in our oceans, of alternatives to fossil fuels for instance. This however is only half of the picture. There is a side to our society that fights to protect fossil fuels, and it does so in many ways. There is a side in our society that wants to protect industrial farming, the prodction of harmfull pesticides. The approach to fighting for their interests may move beyond what we are used to in every day law abiding life.
The further we go from the regions with a high standard of consumption like France or Germany, the wilder it gets. A clear and undeniable and stark example is the killing of deforrestation protesters in South America, Africa and Asia. They are shot to dead, more than 40 in recent years. You can be very tree conscious in London, but you can’t stop a luberjack in Colombia from paying 200 USD to a bunch of junkies to go kill an effective protester trying to stop you from making money. The factors above are not real, but you can google it and find a whole bunch of examples. This is just to illustrate things go on in our name ourside the limits of what we would even dream off in our controlled environment.
Is it a conspiracy theory to say that importers of tropical wood not only lobby for weak standards but also kill protesters on the third world end of their trade? It is hard to prove. Many people won’t want to recoginze this as really intended, but there definitely is a causal link between the sale of wood and the death of people protesting the harvesting of wood. The best way to explain it is to say : Follow the money.
Whoever sells a product is responsible for everything that happened to make the sale possible
But what about more elaborate schemes. What about Monsanto creating a Zika-microcephly panic while it is their own larvicide that causes microcephaly. Its a new ‘conspiracy theory’ but it also makes perfect business sense. Monsanto will sell more larvicide the more scared we are of Zika related microcephaly in our babies. The ‘conspiracy’ theory is may simply be an evil marketing strategy. Most people in comfortable lives do not wish to believe companies engage in evil marketing strategies. Yet dishonesty is the main characteristic of marketing, and isn’t it evil to be dishonest? To create an opportunity by liying to the gullible seems to be allowed these days. Caveat Emptor, buyer beware as the slogan of London finance has been. The buyer is responsible for their end of checking if the deal they make is fair.
Putting the resposibility for a fair sale on the buyer opens up opportunities to conspire and exploit
So if one wants to expose for instance Shell, the company that spend 40 mln Euro lobbying the Eurpean Union to weaken climate targets. It spend a tiny grain from it’s profits to ensure future profits. Did it really persuade the politicians of the EU, or did it have to pay them off? Did the politicians have get their job because it was known they could be bought, or should we say swayed. Is it corruption if a politician chooses for the option that enables him to afford other activities. Is it corruption if the politician finds he can hold speeches for companies related to the ones he helped during his/her time in office even though the added value for the audience is really not very significant (take for example Tony Blair). It’s pay later corruption as Herman Scheer called it.
Do we need to see companies as separate? For instance banks. They may compete all they like, they hold the same unfair right to create our money and provide us with credit. We should be doing that. How easy is it to create a villain bank and a good bank and build a narrative around that we are trying to fight the villain banks and should support the good bank while all the time both are cooperating to create the image, always tuning actions so that we never get tired of trying. Trying is so much better than failing and so much more profitable for others than succeeding.
We need to face reality, we all have to earn income and the higher up we are in companies, the more seriously we look at the bottom line. Our fossil scarcity driven economy is about money, and not about human lives. In order to understand it we need to assume organizations that have no name, that are in the ‘network’ and that are driven by mutual financia gain, either directly or in the future. We need to assume sometimes invisible control in order to break systems and mechanisms that are harmfull to us. Crime is very easy, especially where there is superior force and a lot of loot to pay off any help (this is why oil is such a strong industry).
If we don’t want to be responsible for crimes we need to look further than we are allowed by the sales and marketing team. We need to gian total oversight of all the dependent factors in a system before we can conclude whether it is benign and acceptable or intrinsically criminal. It is untrue that we can’t live in a world without such criminal aspects. We can not live in a fossil fuel driven world without them, that is sure because fossil fuels are scarce and fought over. It is impossible to make a world crime free, but we can sure do better than what we have today. The way to improve things is to take conspiracy theories as assuptions of unmentioned cooperation, follow the money (or power) and if it pans out, deal with it justly. Dismissing it as conspiracy should not be the end without investigation because people conspire.
Did Shell buy up all solar cell patents and production factories to delay solar energy? Yes.
Did the Koch brothers fund ‘grassroots’ movements to keep renewables back? Yes
Dit oil companies infiltrate protest groups to trigger criminal acts that would put them in bad light? Yes
Was there a concerted approach to dismiss scientific evidence that smoking was bad for you? Yes