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On Multinational Corporations, Wealth, Laws and Politicians

Updated on December 3, 2010

     When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I loved to speed (while driving) … I still do actually but back then, the problem was chronic. I would get speeding tickets at least four or five times a year. They were quite bad ones too: doing 90km in a 40km zone or 110km in a 60km zone; a nasty ticket I can remember was for doing 187km in a 100km zone … the police officer was red in the face and foaming at the mouth when I pulled over. Those were fun days, I never cared for much. I really mean this: I cared for almost nothing at all, much less for the little yellow pieces of paper (the traffic tickets) which the police officers would give me.

     Any traffic ticket I received went straight to my traffic lawyers. They were great: I never had to show up in court because I was sick or something like that and they always got me out of the trouble I got myself in. As long as I kept giving them money, I kept my driving license. It seemed like a good deal and I had it going for years on end. I did stop that lawless trend when one day I began wandering about how much money I had spend on traffic lawyers over the time span of several years. It must have been in the tens of thousands of dollars and by the end it was actually having a negative effect on my financial situation.

     Would have I stopped driving like a maniac if I could have afford it? Maybe, maybe not … This is why laws are useless to a certain extent: you can break laws if you can pay for lawyers to come save the day for you. In the case your lawyer cannot beat the charge(s) in full they can usually still get your penalty reduced; that’s the least they can do.

     Thus, for those who are truly wealthy, some laws do not matter so much. If one is extremely wealthy, let’s say Bill Gates (for lack of another name at the moment), who cares about an eight hundred dollar speeding ticket? Then, we have stories as the one about Puff Daddy several years back when he allegedly shot some guy in a club and then gave his gun to one of his body guards who took the charges in the end. Money tends to bend laws for some people.

     BP (British Petroleum) is a good example how if you make billions of dollars in profit each year, you might not care about much (except your profits). People’s lives have been drastically changed by the oil spill (it even cost some people their lives) but BP (a multinational corporation) will pay for the damages, the CEO resigned already and the story is over for the corporation. It is that simple. BP will go on to make more billions of dollars or if this scandal really brings it down, it will be bought-out by Shell or Exxon and with the bad reputation gone from the BP brand name all could be continued as before. So from two corporations we might get one (the one with the better, cleaner name). Control over oil drilling would be even more centralized this way, getting closer to a monopoly in the oil industry.

     What about the people affected by this oil spill? Sure they will get some money but their story will not end for years to come. Will money flow for them for years to come too? The story of the Gulf of Oil will not have an end for a very long time. Will the birds and fish be compensated? Who’s their lawyer?

     Politicians will take a part of the blame in this environmental disaster too but from what I see the blame is concentrated on the part about cleaning the oil out of the water. Of course that is important, the most important thing right now but we should not forget that politicians are lobbied by the oil corporations and if the laws are weak and penalties not stiff enough it is because of the millions of dollars flooding into Washington from the oil wells all over the world.

     Wealth clears the way for multinational corporations to do as they wish with very little detrimental consequences for them. They make the profits and the majority of people have to deal with the negative outcome. It is the same with the fast food industry or the corporations that control the meat market for example. They feed us garbage and we end-up with statistics such as: `116 billion` dollars spent in 2007 in the United States on medical costs (direct and indirect) as a result of diabetes spreading to more and more people. All this while the Insurance Corporations fatten their pockets as well since everyone has health issues. It is as if we just get used by corporations to work for them and then, give them back the money we earned. It might just be a bad dream and eventually I will wake up.

I feel nauseous even writing about this. We have a social system where corporations can pay to control the political system (through lobbying) and cash keeps one out of jail like we`re playing Monopoly … what laws? Who cares about laws or anything for that matter as long as you have money?!


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    • GNelson profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      I like to think that we can change this with our votes. Let's elect some people who will represent us the tax payers. Corporate control of politicians is the biggest problem.

    • SaMcNutt profile image


      10 years ago from Englewood, CO

      Have you seen the Documentary about Ralph Nader "An Unreasonable Man"? If not, I think you might like it. I really learned a lot about Nader, but more importantly it talks about many of the things you mentioned in your Hub. Cheers!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such useful information.


    • amillar profile image


      10 years ago from Scotland, UK

      To cap it all, (the irony - not the well, yet) they're going to dip into our pension pots to pay for the clean up, and the compensation. (If anything's left from their trip to 'The Casino').

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 

      10 years ago from Los Angeles

      The BP gas station, around the corner from my house had a big logo – “tomorrow’s answer for clean energy” – how ironic… Since the Golf disaster the logo is gone and the station changed its name from BP to ARCO.

      As we know, Arco is part of BP, so in effect nothing has changed and money is pouring into the same pocket. In 2009 alone they made $14 Billions in profits, but now, that they have to pay for the Golf mess, guess who is crying poverty? My last worry is that they will go bankrupt and, since they do have the smart lawyers you mentioned at the beginning of your story, they will come out smelling like roses, while the shrimps and oysters will smell like oil

    • lmmartin profile image


      10 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I'm afraid most people aren't yet aware of what is happening down here on the Gulf with that oil spill -- the toxins are evaporating into the atmosphere at a horrific rate and air quality indexes are through the roof. Those exposed the worst and longest are developing respiratory diseases and skin conditions, and God alone knows what else in an illness already dubbed Gulf Syndrome.

      One third of the Gulf is a dead zone.

      The cavern under the ruptured well, about the size of Mr. Everest that created the pressure that ruptured the well is filling with methane, and geologists are concerned it may blow, may even cause a volcanic eruption, setting off a tsunami.

      There are already plans to evacuate much of the area if the situation gets worse. This is fact. Look it up.

      So Mr. American Romance -- sorry, but for those of us sitting here on the Gulf, your simple minded prognosis and disregard for our situation sucks. Truly sucks.

    • Captain Jimmy profile image

      Captain Jimmy 

      10 years ago from WV

      What a sad mess! Look up, God is still in control!

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      10 years ago from America

      We bailed out GM, after the damage they caused the economy but we will not bail out BP who created more jobs than GM ever thought of! The Mexican oil spill that lasted 9 months and covered over 39 miles of Texas shoreline is forgotten and gone! So will the BP oil spill in a matter of a few short years! Sadly the people who work in the oil field may not be able to support their families or survive. Of course a few shrimpers will be ok, yippeeeee!

    • Ann Lee profile image

      Ann Lee 

      10 years ago

      This is true, but what is there to be done about it, when both the Dems and the Pubs play ball with corporations? My thoughts on this are to reduce everything back down to the local level. But, even there you have corruption, where those in power use criminal citizen activists to oust those from the community that don't think the same as they do. For instance, suppose you report a local nursing home for negligence, and the community gets a lot of tax money from that home. Do you think they want to get the negligence stopped or just shut up the person talking about it? Maybe, the answer is to start new communities with like-minded people, insted of trying to change the communities you are in. So, everyone who lived in your community would have to believe in alternative energy, etc.


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