Coca-Cola is bad AF.
Not only are they a giant sugar monopoly that has devoured over 400 of their competitors, but they’re partly responsible for hundreds of millions of cases of diabetes around the globe in their 135-year history.
When I visited North Korea, I only saw two Western brands — BMW, and Coca-Cola.
Last week, the Senate passed a bill called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
(That’s a gigantic deal in America.)
For those unaware of the situation, Ch!na has been genociding a people group in a western province called Xinjiang. While several million Uyghurs have already been sent to concentration camps or placed under Orwellian surveillance, we have no idea how bad things could ultimately get. Looking back fifty years from now, it may very well be our generation’s Rwanda or even a Holocaust-level ethnocide.
We need to have a conversation about corporations.
The reason that Coke, Apple, Nike, and others oppose the bill is that they all source products from the area. They say the protections are “too broad” and might slow or halt their ability to turn a profit off the backs of cheap overseas labor. (Okay, they didn’t say that last bit out loud, but we all know that’s exactly why they make shoes in Asia and not Connecticut.)
Nike, of course, denies that they use Uyghur slave labor, but this is a rotten company that’s been saying this for four decades while regularly getting busted for using sweatshops, child labor, inhumane conditions, extremely underpaid workers, environmental poisoning, abusing women, and other human rights abuses. (TLDR: Don’t buy Nike products, ever.)
If Nike isn’t involved in any abusive behaviors, it really makes you wonder why “A factory in eastern Ch!na that manufactures shoes for U.S. company Nike is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences, and police guard boxes.”
And this is just one company at the tip of the iceberg.
Abuse for everyone
At least 82 companies have been implicated in using Uyghur slave labor, including Apple, Google, BMW, GM, Mercedes, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, HP, Land Rover, Nintendo, Oculus, Victoria’s Secret, and Volkswagen.
After being busted for using Uyghur labor, Nike posted a statement on their website swearing they no longer rent slaves, but a follow-up investigation by the Washington Post showed it simply wasn’t true.
This is problem #1 for multinational corporations:
They cannot be trusted.
Every corporation’s sole legal reason for existing is to extract wealth from the planet, workers, and consumers, in order to return profits to private shareholders. How could we possibly trust their word when they say they’re doing no harm?
Worse still, even the “best” and most “ethical” multinationals have supply chains that are so complex that they often don’t even know they have abusive practices in their supply chain… and their incentive is to keep it that way.
Just look how easy it is to look the other way and profit from the abuse of human beings:
Do you know who doesn’t have any slave-related sourcing worries?
The local organic farmer’s market where I buy my vegetables. I can literally see the field behind the cash register.
When businesses are local, you don’t need to trust them — you can just verify with your own eyes.
Guilty until proven innocent
People are innocent until proven guilty.
But if your legal fiduciary reason for existing is to create private profits for private shareholders, then the public has the right to declare corporations guilty until proven innocent.
We don’t want to trust corporations.
We want to verify them.
How? Make them monitor every step of the production process with real-time video feeds, from soil to sale counter.
Too expensive or unwieldy? Then maybe it’s time to shut it down and let local producers create products without widespread abuse.
No company should be able to turn a cent of profit until they fulfill humanity’s fiduciary obligation:
To do no harm.
Better safe than suffering
It doesn’t matter that three-trillion-dollar companies like Apple think the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is “too broad” for their liking.
Their private profits don’t matter more than human lives.
Ch!na is a nation rife with human rights abuses and Xinjiang province is specifically known for its widespread exploitation of our precious brothers and sisters.
If temporarily black-balling an entire foreign province is what it takes to wake up American corporations (and the CCP) to the fact that we’re done with slavery, so be it.
Plus, it’s better to be safe than allow suffering. (No one needs Nikes anyway.)
Imagine if your son or daughter or brother or sister or spouse was trapped in that region. Would you say, “Well hey, we can’t possibly risk corporate shareholders losing a dime per shoe by moving production to a verified facility in, say, France or Kentucky. Better keep things humming in Xinjiang and hope for the best.”
You’d want your government to make a strong statement that American citizens refuse to enjoy products made in any place where the slightest possibility of slavery exists.
People are worth any amount of sacrifice.
Corporations on notice
Please stop buying slave-made goods, and please stop voting for corporate-captured parties and their corporate-captured politicians. Buy local, buy verified, start new parties, support new candidates.
This is our country.
This is our world.
Corporations: you are temporary guests that play by our rules and live and die by our will.
Enough is enough.
We’re done with slavery.
And if your company is not, then we’re done with you.
There’s the old saying, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?”
That’s the biggest problem with corporations.
They aren’t humans.
And they certainly don’t care about our souls.
*This article was written on a seven-year-old Macbook Air that was purposefully purchased used so as not to create first-order demand for slave-made products. The author also does not own a cell phone of any kind and does not buy Nike products. He does own a used Volkswagen, but does not own products from any of the other brands listed, including using DuckDuckGo instead of Google.