The force that countervails 147 companies that control the world

Why is it so important for consumers to be aware of their power?  Because it is the only countervailing force that exists in the face of the powerful but destructive network of multinationals, that has the whole world in their clutches.

A complex study on the network of control, of direct and indirect ownership in our global economy was published in 2011, revealing 147 top holder TNC’s (Transnational Corporations) at its core.

The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the economy. Superconnected companies are red, very connected companies are yellow. The size of the dot represents revenue –PLoS One
Read the full analysis here or download it here.

These corporations have only one goal:  increase profits at all cost.  They are willing to destroy the environment, poison its inhabitants with toxic chemicals, lay-off employees and relocate production for cheaper labour, etc.  We could cite dozens of examples that prove the voracity of neoliberalism in multiple industries:  sales of bottled water contaminated with harmful chemicals, sales of hormone-treated meat, full of antibiotics and soaked in bleach at the end of the chain, the use of carcinogenic irritants or endocrine disruptors in most industrial cosmetics, and the list goes on.  All of these activities are approved by advisory committees where conflicts of interests are present when members hold their own financial interests on the matters they are advising on.

multinationale controle map

Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, we cannot trust these transnational corporations, or the official authorities who approve of products to be sold in supermarkets, regardless of their known dangers.  However, informed consumers can make all the difference that it takes to ensure that the products made available to us are safe and were made in fair conditions, conducive to a richer real economy which benefits the majority.  If only a small percentage of us start consuming wisely, and stop feeding the network of TNC’s that control the world, their power would quickly deplete as their shareholders would start breaking away from their web of force, leaving them vulnerable at the core.  It only takes 25% of consumers to start an economic revolution!

What’s in your drinking water that’s causing sexual perturbations… ?

Another very important reason to choose organic over produce from intensive farming is to avoid the very dangerous Atrazine, among other threatening chemical pesticides, being widely used to ‘treat’ the fruits and vegetables that you eat.  Pesticide residues seep into lakes and rivers, terribly affecting the eco-system, as well as our drinking water.  Tyrone Hayes, a biologist and professor at the University of California has been warning people of these toxins that disrupt the endocrine system and are thus responsible for the catastrophy happening with frogs, where “many of the genetic males now are turning into females”.  Furthermore, Professor Hayes found that “the level of Atrazine that it took to make this male turn into a female is three times less than what’s allowed in drinking water” (the professor was referring to a male frog that started producing eggs and was mating with another male frog).  For humans, Atrazine is correlated to increased risk of low sperm count, low fertility, neuro-cognitive developmental problems in infants, breast cancer, prostate cancer and genital deformations.

atrazine-frogsimage source:  pbs.org

“Atrazine causes sexual abnormalities in frogs and could cause the same problems for humans” -Professor Hayes


Atrazine has been banned in Europe since 2003, but it is today, the second most widely used pesticide in North America.  Professor Hayes was once hired by Syngenta to study the effects of their product (Atrazine).  He was strategically asked to approve it, but after learning its grave effects, he instead found himself fighting against this multinational key player in the agro-chemical industry.

atrazine-drinking waterimage source:  globalnews.ca

It is imperative to stop Atrazine from causing more damage than it has already caused, but the multinational Syngenta keep lobbying their way into being approved by our governments!  However, if we, the consumers, start buying more and more organic produce, the demand for intensively cultivated products would dwindle, along with the production of chemical pesticides, such as Atrazine that are ruining our health and our environment.  The goal is to give them no choice but to stop production, all the while choosing healthier fruits and vegetables for our families.

There are also petitions you can sign to demand our governments to ban the use of this poison.  Click on the image links before to make your signature count.

atrazine-banning petition-canada

 

atrazine-banning petition-united states

French law designed to increase multinational power

Here is an article that shows well how the laws are not voted in order to serve the majority but by the will of the minority, for a minority.  The El Khomri law is being pushed by the union that represents the multinationals, MEDEF (Movement of Enterprises of France) and is likely to be adopted soon, thanks to their intense lobbying, exclusively to their advantage.

In fact this law makes the problem worse. It neglects small businesses and artisans in favor of the stock market.  If this law passes, the multinationals will be able to retrieve the last of the social benefits, which specifically still protects French workers against big businesses.

Here is an example of a SME owner who is against the law.

Introduction by Olivier Fersancourt

Article by ARNAUD LELACHE, published on 20/04/2016 on www.alterecoplus.fr :

SME’s do not need the El Khomri law (a boss says so)

The El Khomri law is at its best, useless and at worst, harmful to a Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) like mine.  I run a small business with 80 employees.  We develop software under free licenses and offer services to local authorities to implement these programs.  My company has existed since 1981 and has seen good times and difficult times.  Our main asset is our employees who have acquired the culture of the enterprise, who have mastered our technologies and know the needs of our clients.

El Khomri law is based on two axes: facilitate dismissals in case of temporary difficulties and reverse the hierarchy of norms (1).  A SME going through a difficult period, would not need assistance to issue layoffs, but help to keep its staff and to maintain its cash flow afloat.

Keeping talents

During difficult times is when it’s most important for a company to maintain the skills and competence of its employees and limit the impact of temporary cash flow problems on their motivation, if we want to bounce back as quickly as possible. For an SME, recruitment is a long and expensive process.  Our turnover is low, which means that there is no significant flow of employees who leave and come every year.  Therefore, the integration of each new person is a long process. If during a period of crisis, we are forced to lay off, we would need several years to rebound from that, because having to deprive the company of competent staff is an aggravating factor.

Parties like Nouvelle Donne (2) offer solutions that seem most appropriate to me.  They are inspired by the German Kurzarbeit or the Canadian Work-Sharing agreement. These mechanisms allow companies in difficulty to temporarily reduce the working time of teams in order to avoid layoffs. Time not worked is supported by unemployment insurance, which helps maintain the purchasing power of employees.  As soon as activity recovers, the company can give teams back their normal working time. Everyone wins, the company retains the skills, employees retain their income and their work, and the community does not have to deal with new cases unemployment.

The reversal of the hierarchy of norms also seems dangerous to me. In a period of high unemployment and pressure to lower production costs in all sectors, it will introduce a new form of competition between firms. Those who have high power over their employees will practice social dumping, which will give them a lasting competitive advantage over their competitors.

The “genius” of this law is to bring in to the sectors that are not yet exposed to international competition, the “social” advantage which those exposed to competing with developing countries or Eastern Europe, have already suffered. I think these are large companies that have substantial legal services, and will use that to their advantage, but at the expense of SME’s.

Liquidity facilities and payment delays

To reinforce the financial strength of SMEs, l’Urssaf (Organizations for the payment of social security and family benefit contributions) should first of all, grant liquidity facilities without formalities, if necessary. It would also force governments and corporations to honor their loans for SMEs. Local authorities and the state should in theory pay interest automatically in the event of late payment. In practice, they almost never do. As for the late payment of large companies toward SMEs, they total 16 billion euros. A labor law that cares for SMEs should address these priority issues.

Business executives will invest and create jobs if they think their products and services will find creditworthy customers. This implies that the purchasing power of consumers is safeguarded and that investment and operating budgets of public purchasers are sustainable. The signals sent forth by this government and previous governments does not make me particularly optimistic.

Lelache Arnaud, CEO of the French Agency Informatique (AFI)

Translated by Jillian Fersancourt
Footnotes:
  1. Hierarchy of norms supposes, in a downward logic, that the law imposes on the industry agreement and the company agreement. A company agreement may derogate from a branch agreement or common law if it is more favorable, under the principle of favor. The reversal of the hierarchy of norms allows a company agreement to waive a sector agreement – as it may depart from the code of work – even if its content is lowest bidder.
  2. Including the author of this forum is a member.

 

The Multinationals that Put our Children at Risk

The following article is translated from its original publication in French, found here

Cash Investigation.  Chemical Products:  Our Children in Danger

Syngenta , Monsanto, Bayer and Dow– Perhaps, you didn’t know about them, but these are the multinationals in the agrochemical industry who manufacture pesticides used in agriculture. Their products are found in food, in tap water and even in the air we breathe.  Some are carcinogenic and neurotoxic, while others are endocrine disruptors, particularly dangerous for children.  “Cash Investigation” had access to a confidential database on pesticide sales in France, product by product, department by department, between 2008 and 2013. On average, there are nearly 65 000 tonnes of pure pesticides that are applied on our territory every year. Today, the Hexagon is the largest consumer of pesticides in Europe.

Dangerous molecules

Since 1980, childhood cancer has been increasing by 1% per year in France, with approximately 2,500 additional cases each year. This is the second cause of death in children.  Is there a link between these diseases and exposure to pesticides?  For scientists around the world, there is hardly any doubt.

Folpet produced by Bayer, atrazine by Syngenta or chlorpyrifos-ethyl from Dow Chemical; Behind these names unknown to the general public, are hidden molecules with proven health risks; Molecules that bring in billions of euros to multinationals.  After a year of investigation in France, Germany, Switzerland and the United States, “Cash investigation” reveals how certain products put our children in danger.

Democracy polluted by pesticides

The last part of the investigation led the team of “Cash Investigation” to Hawaii. The climate of this heavenly archipelago allows four harvests per year. This is why multinationals test their products here.  In what is probably the greatest open lab for GMO experimentation in the world, they make heavy use of pesticides. Here, there is ten times more birth defects than average in the United States. The mobilization of citizens pushed the local government to pass a law to limit the damages. Manufacturers immediately responded by attacking this law in court, and they won.  In Hawaii, in the great game of democracy, it is chemistry that prevails.