2010s >> 2018 >> no-1362-february-2018

Rear View

Is it Nestlé that is the enemy?

Listverse.com (3 January) detail ’10 Outrageous Nestlé Scandals’. Before the list even starts, Nestlé’s use of child labour is mentioned along with a plea not to turn a blind eye and ‘continue poking for Nestlé to be better’. Anyone reading about Nestlé’s nefarious activities for the first time will likely be shocked, but socialists not so much. We have long known breast is best, but for Nestlé, like any other company, profit comes first. ‘During a campaign that has stretched over several decades’ it is alleged that the world’s largest food company bribed medical practitioners to provide mothers in hospitals with formula milk which, with their natural lactation declining as a result, left them reliant on Nestlé’s products.

Water, water, everywhere

In many areas of the world, from America to Zimbabwe, our class lack access to safe water,  something which can be fatal, particularly for infants being nursed with reconstituted formula milk. And that safe water is quite possibly owned by Nestlé. At the World Water Forum in 2000, the then Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe was quoted as saying, ‘access to water should not be a public right.’ There was some consequent clarification about this remark, but not the ethical progress reformist groups are always clamouring for.

Nestlé Newspeak

In October 2008 Nestlé stated ‘bottled water is the most environmentally responsible consumer product in the world’ That very month Taiwan banned the importation of milk products, including Nestlé’s, from China as a result of them being contaminated. Was this an industrial accident or deliberate? ‘Melamine can easily be mistaken for protein. Thus, Chinese dairy manufacturers illegally claimed higher levels of protein in their products through the use of cheaper melamine. In baby formulas, where protein amounts are so important, this led to severe deficiencies.’

Modern day slavery

Nestlé’s tentacles reach out for our babies and cats. Yes, feeding Tibbles Purina ‘may have also helped to support Nestlé’s use of slave labor in Thailand… Usually, the workers are immigrants, brought in from Thailand’s even poorer neighbors Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. For the privilege of a Thai job, they are charged an illegal fee and trapped into working within the fishing industry to pay off heavy debt. A Burmese worker describes their working conditions: “Sometimes, the net is too heavy and workers get pulled into the water and just disappear. When someone dies, he gets thrown into the water.” ‘

The sickly sweet smell of profit

Nestlé also profits from our class labouring in the chocolate industry —  ‘an ugly affair, littered with allegations of malfeasance.’ We are told that the deforestation crisis in Ghana and the Ivory Coast continues and that cocoa beans are grown illegally in protected forests. Numbers of chimpanzees and elephants have also decreased dramatically. Both countries plan to stop all new deforestation after theguardian.com report (8 November, 2017) found that the cocoa industry was responsible.

A world without Nestlé

Reformists cannot see the wood for the trees. Nestlé ignoring European Union and American sanctions against Zimbabwe by buying milk from an expropriated farm given to Grace Mugabe, mislabelling the source of bottled water as Poland Spring, apparently being part of the price fixing of chocolate, and chasing the Ethiopian regime for losses of around $6 million during one of the region’s unnecessary famines, all these are of great interest to reformists who champion all sorts of quack cures, temporary measures and moral crusades for such issues yet only serve to delay meaningful change. Anti-slavery traders ignore wage slavery, fair trade & free trade advocates fail to envision a world without trade, and arms controllers want peace in a capitalist world where war is endemic. The list goes on and on.

A practical wants list

A socialist world of production for use and allocation according to self-defined need will end, reduce or eliminate many of today’s ‘problems’ . Agriculture feeds everyone with far less environmental impact than seen today. War ends in a world without states competing over areas of domination, resources and trade routes. Slums and homelessness are eliminated when housing is built to meet need. Many diseases have cures but not all sufferers constitute a market – only a world of free access ends this ‘problem’. Education for life replaces schooling. Work and play are likely to be indistinguishable with monotony and unnecessary risk reduced. Crime and punishment, economics, harmful cultural practices, lack of access to clean water, religion and even the Socialist Party are subjects of historical curiosity.

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