by Joe Burns
Over the last three decades, the number of people that control the businesses that shape our lives has decreased dramatically. Distant stakeholders and unrelated shareholders seem to have a say in local housing projects, food supply, transport maintenance and many other necessary community projects. Big brands are becoming more successful at dictating markets and reaping the rewards.
In the recent past, Tesco executives were revealed to have been paid up to 900 times more than the average Tesco worker. Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco, was paid £4,600,000 in 2016. When explaining the reason why he received almost five million pounds in one year, Deanna Oppenheimer – who is the leader of Tesco’s remuneration committee – said he had achieved increased volumes, reduced costs, increased cash flow, and completed significant disposals and business restructuring to strengthen the balance sheet. For some, more money is what makes good business.Continue Reading
by Gunnar Eigener
“But if you’re gonna dine with them cannibals, sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten….”
GMO agriculture regularly grab the headlines, whether it’s talk of ‘frankenfoods’ or the ability to generate larger crop yields. This has taken the focus away from an issue that is becoming increasingly detrimental to global health: the entry of industrial waste into the food cycle and human consumption.
GMOs, while unpopular, have been genetically altered so as to maximise the success rate of production of crops. This will save lives, enabling crops to grow in conditions that would normally tend to push harvests towards failure. The changing of weather patterns have created new wet and dry points, affecting crop cycles and affecting the amount of food available for communities already living close to the edge. But water is becoming an issue. Only about 3% of the world’s water is freshwater and with companies like Nestle being allowed to extract vast quantities from aquifiers for minimal cost, alternatives are being sought be provide enough water for crop irrigation.Continue Reading
by Gunnar Eigener
“The time has come for all good men to rise above principle.” Huey Long
In September 1999, the government of Bolivia relinquished control of the water of the city of Cochabamba to a business venture, Aguas del Tunari. Part of the contract required the building of a dam (a long desired vanity project of the city’s mayor, Manfred Reyes Villa) so in order to raise the capital, the price of water was raised by an average of 35%. In blissful ignorance of the workings and realism of Bolivian income and earnings, it was stated that “if people didn’t pay their water bills their water would be turned off.” Massive demonstrations began in early 2000 as the water rates took their toll on families and businesses. The Bolivian government declared a ‘state of siege’ and the demonstrators were met with brute force, warrantless arrests, limited travel and, almost inevitably, the death of protesters and soldiers. It was perhaps the televised recording of the lethal shooting of student Victor Hugo Daze that heralded the end. The business executives were no longer safe and fled the country. The government terminated the contract and demonstrators were released. While hailed as a victory for the people, half of the citizens of Cochabamba remain without water.