Companies win Olympic gold in ‘ethical downhill backflip’
By Jim Hightower
By far, the team’s best performance at this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing was the jaw-dropping double-twisting ethical backflips of Corporate America.
This is a group of big brands that have so touted their code of ethics, pledging to oppose repressive regimes that violate human rights. But here comes the Olympics in China, putting their first test, and it wasn’t really difficult. They were not asked to do anything, just NOT to do anything – in particular, not to give ethical legitimacy to the brutally repressive Chinese regime by sponsoring their propagandistic use of the Olympics.
Human rights advocates around the world have called on global giants to use their economic influence to send a powerful message of disapproval to the Chinese dictatorship which regularly commits acts of genocide and political repression against Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kong citizens and any other dissidents under their control. to reign. Corporate leaders wouldn’t have to demonstrate, picket or otherwise spoil their big-ticket suits – just don’t pay shareholders millions of dollars to tie guns and reputations to rank repression.
Well, if you’ve watched any of the Olympic broadcasts, you’ve witnessed the corporate choice: a collective rollback from the high ethical bar of human rights into the pits of crass commercialism and without principles. Look, there’s the Coca-Cola flag, and Visa, and Pizza Hut, AirBnb, Intel, Procter & Gamble… and a who’s who of American corporate stars. They paid more than a billion dollars to be proud sponsors of the regime’s Olympic spectacle, choosing access to Chinese leaders and markets over soft goals like ethics.
Well, one sponsor sniffed, raising petulant political questions “wouldn’t further the cause of sport in which our commitment rests.” Really, how sporting is genocide? Another barked that “nobody, nobody cares what happens to Uyghurs, okay?” No, that’s not OK, and that’s not true either. Yet another distraught business leader cavalierly dismissed ethics, declaring, “Skiing and sports have nothing to do with politics… It’s common sense.
No, it’s cowardice, stupidity and not Olympic.
The CEOs of American companies are mostly well-heeled people who would hardly be considered athletic. Yet every once in a while a few of these soft elites come out as championship players in an old game called Duck & Dodge.
It is a sport of political finesse played when social conditions reach a boiling point, threatening problems for the corporate order. At such times, a few prominent leaders suddenly present themselves as social activists to side with the aggrieved. Dodging and dodging their own responsibility for grievances, these players pretend they will fix the system. When public attention drifts, however, so do the repairers, who go back to business as usual.
You may remember, for example, the breathless leaders a year ago, when our very democracy was besieged, not only by seditious far-right groups storming the US Capitol, but also by a A clique of pusillanimous right-wing congressmen the creatures who joined in the coup attempt to overthrow the democratic vote of the people. “Scandalous!” shouted some 700 major corporations in unison, promising they would save our democracy. How? ‘Or’ What? By cutting off the huge campaign donations they had given to those 147 Republican lawmakers who voted to void the election.
Let’s stop here to check out the hypocrisy: Aren’t these born-again champions of democracy the same corporations that have used their unlimited special interest money to wholesale legislators and steal political power from the people? Yes… but now they want us to believe that they are our saviors.
But they soon came to their senses. Weeks after he reprimanded members of Congress so harshly”https://www.eldoradonews.com/news/2022/feb/20/corporations-win-olympic-gold-in-downhill-ethical/”sedition caucus”, the corporate donor class – shhh – has quietly returned to lavishing bribes on them. $4 million in donations last year to members of Congress whom they had publicly condemned as un-American.
It would make more sense to trust a coyote to guard your last lamb chop than to think that corporations value anything but their own profit.
Populist author, speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes “The Hightower Lowdown,” a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing struggles of American citizens against the power of plutocratic elites. Register at HightowerLowdown.org.