TNC’s and Society: Destroying our people and planet
By Ruby Mander
Have you recently noticed increasing climate change and more disparity within wealth? This is most likely down to the offender known as TNCs (transnational corporations) who continue to intoxicate our surroundings and shower in profits from the very same people who they are killing.
Let me elaborate on this idea….
TNCs such as Apple, Nike and Shell who are all household names within a postmodern society have hugely negative impacts on the global stage daily yet seem to be inundated with praise from media and the capitalist system which allows their behaviour to function.
If I told you that Nike factories in Indonesia paid the staff 0.3% of the final selling of the product. Would you still buy from them?
If I told you that Apple, make their workers work 50+ hours a week while getting paid no more than
£20. Would you still buy from them?
If I told you that Shell emitted 1,377 million tonnes of CO2 into our atmosphere in 2020. Would you still buy from them?
Apple provides an interesting example here to explore the impact on individuals and wider society. They employ 1.7 million people in Europe alone and contribute to almost 10% of the GDP in the USA. These all seem extremely beneficial, and one may question if these positives outweigh the harm they cause. However, this is completely invalid. Individually their Foxconn Factory, China contributed to 14 suicides in two months with some reports of 20 more workers being ‘talked out’ of committing. This is appalling and highlights the little respect or care that these TNCs have for their workers, let alone customers who they also exploit financially.
Not only do they harm people’s mental health, but Apple also hugely destroys the physical health of the environment and its inhabitants. In 2018, they sent around 18,000 tonnes of waste to landfills which has rapidly increased in the last few years. This furthermore releases CO2 as the decomposition of these metal technological products is almost impossible which may explain why they are one of the biggest contributors to one the world’s largest e-waste hubs.
TNCs are killing our people and habitat, and nothing is being done about it.
Leading social scientist and writer of The Corporation, Joel Bakan, highlights how organizations will always perpetrate abuses and exploit the ecosystem because that’s just the nature of capitalism. Contributing to this is also the fact of Leaders who govern the world are part of a similar global- political elite circle as the CEOs who run TNCs. So, their interests are to solely protect these organisations instead of holding them accountable.
This corruption runs deeper than just making a profit. Large TNCs also encourage inequality through their placement and employment strategies across the world which allow to keep the rich rich. They rarely place any head offices in the global east or low-income countries and instead keep these rich social circles within the West for example Shell’s headquarters being in London. They never invest in socio-economic deprived countries yet blame these very places on the environmental crisis which they have caused. This again shows the deception within how TNCs operate and how their individualistic attitudes affect those at the very bottom of the social ladder.
You may wonder if this deceit can get any worse, but Shell could be argued to have committed one of the worst human rights abuses by any account. They were alleged to have murdered Ken Saro- Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists in Nigeria the country where they make all their profit and continue to exploit the people. https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals- network/2015/jan/09/nigeria-shell-oil-case-warning-multinational-companies The general fact if this is true is appalling and the following cover up also may highlight the clarity behind by this claim.
Repeatedly this indicates the corruption and institutionalised racism in the way these institutions’function.
This shows the extreme severity of these crimes which TNCs are committing and how even though they may seem distant from the everyday individual how they hugely influence our lives especially those living in poverty. They pick on those who are the weakest and take everything they have. As quoted by Marx in his work Capital, they are ‘vampire-like’ they ‘live only by sucking living labour, and live the more, the more labour it sucks,”
The corporation has morphed into our civilisation’s fundamental fabric, irrevocably transforming us with little solution to these deep-rooted problems which continually get worse.
Change is needed.