The GDP & Dodging Pernicious Poverty

Bobby-Kennedy_400‘Too much and for too long we have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. GDP counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, ambulances and clearing our highways of carnage. It counts special locks on our doors and the prisons for the people who broke them. It counts the destruction of the Redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl.

It counts Napalm and counts nucleur warheads and armoured cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. Yet the GDP does not account for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit or our courage, neither wisdom or our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile’.

– Bobby Kennedy

RA01_30051001331351_UCoca-Cola seems to get everywhere in developing countries, yet essential medicines don’t. Why? Maybe it’s because the companies who make these medicines and could export them cost free to where they’re needed don’t have a consciense. In fact maybe these multi-national corporations have less of a consciense than the Coca-Cola Company has. Coca-Cola, listed as a partner of the R.E.D campaign whose mission’s goal is to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child by 2015.


Coca-Cola, the company who in a gracious display of multi-culturalism launched a campaign for the Indian holiday Diwali in 2011. The campaign included commercials, a song and an integration with Shah Rukh Khan’s film Ra.One. Coca-Cola, the company whose mining of groundwater in India leaving behind heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, has created water drought around the villages of Kerala. In the words of one Keralan Activist,’When they drink Coke, they drink the blood of my people’.

Vivek-Vanilla_CokeIn fact next to Monsanto, Coca-Cola does a terrific job of fuelling ‘Gross Domestic Product’ in all of the countries that are ‘graced’ with its presence, it’s a sparkling addition to India’s burgeoning economy a ‘jewel in its crown’. So let’s forget the fact that lawsuits were filed against it by the United Steelworkers of America, on behalf of Colombian trade union Sinaltrainal. And lets forget why, the false imprisonment and in some cases murder of trade union officials, whose demands for better wages and working conditions were getting in the way of Coca-Cola’s contribution to Colombia’s flourishing GDP. Those who have had dealings with the company claim them to be virulently anti-union, but does that matter? After all they’re doing such a grand job of contributing to the global GDP.

28_casualty(There are some who might ask what this has to do with the resurgent growth of the British economy and there are some who really don’t need to ask why. For the same companies have set up shop in the UK and with an increasingly flexible workforce, rising employment and falling wages, like Coca-Cola they too are having fun helping the UK increase its GDP. Don’t you just love it? The flawless ability of these companies (with the generous support of our government) to generate economic growth whilst simultaneously creating poverty?







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