If there is one thing that makes me cringe every time I see it, it is how the greedy try to feed lies to the poor so they can exploit them.
The below video ("CO2 is Green, Contact Your Senator Today") was made by an organisation set up by polluters for no other reason than to try to lie to people that carbon dioxide emissions are good for the planet.
Yes, you saw it right; big industry are seriously trying to convince the American that increasing CO2 emissions will be good for the planet. And they can do this quite effectively. Let's look in more depth into the problem.
The entire global financial system is built on the basis that money in the future is worth more than money now (that's where interest comes from). In other words, the rich will get richer even for doing nothing. On top of this, the big guy has all the bargaining power; it is nothing for a big employer to lose one employee, but it is a big thing for one employee to part ways from their employer - especially if other employers avoid the employee who was sacked for making a stand. It is nothing for big business to lose one customer, but consumers have far fewer options for suppliers than businesses do customers. For this reason, the bigger a business is, the more competitive it is (it can exploit everyone else to get its own way), and so it can kill off smaller competitors. This means that the bigger and richer you are, the bigger and richer you can become.
You occasionally hear about someone who got rich by being innovative, making a life for themselves. However, there are actually only a few people who got wealthy off their own bat. It is a bit like people who win lotto; you hear about them all the time, but that is only because the media focuses on them. The ones who did get rich often did it by 5% innovation and 95% ruthlessness and selfishness. What about the vast majority of innovators who get exploited and often bankrupted by big businesses? They are far more numerous, but you just don't hear about them. The reality is, most of our money goes to those who already have the most. Putting innovation into practice on a big enough scale to not get crushed by the big guys costs money - so ultimately, those with wealth decide what innovations float and which ones sink in the private sector.
So where does the video about CO2 emissions being 'green' come in to this? Well, it is quite simple. Big businesses have most of the money, and the people on their boards, and in the top executive roles, use this money to lie to us, so they can influence our politicians, and therefore exploit the general public more, and get even more money and hence resources for themselves. Everyone should have free speech, that is not the problem. The problem is that it costs money to get messages out to the people, and so therefore, only those with money can actually have their speech heard, and hence what the general public think, and who they vote for. On top of this, the rich also make large political donations - donations which make or break a political campaign. And future donations can be withdrawn at any time, if the politicians don't do what they want. For example, the roading lobby in New Zealand pays big donations to both the Labour and National parties in New Zealand, and surprise surprise, we get road user charges which subsidise diesel vehicles, reduced investment in rail (which is a more efficient way of moving freight than trucks), law changes supporting bigger and more dangerous trucks, and so on. This means that the richest few percent are not only controlling the private sector, but also the public sector. And so while we think we live in a democracy, in actual fact, those with the most money control many of the governments around the world, and the entire private sector.
In New Zealand, big companies and farmer lobby groups are using their disproprtionate influence to try to fight laws to protect us from global warming. So far, they are getting what they paid for from National, with a weak emissions target of only 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 (Britain is going for 10% by 2010). This is well below the 44% that is needed to save the pacific islands from destruction, as well as to prevent desertification. We are destroying our planet - dumping more waste than it can cope with, increasing CO2, raising temperatures (which melts ice, raises sea-level, causes extreme weather and changes the distribution of water on the land), destroying flora and fauna all over the world (often causing critical losses of biodiversity and extinctions), and depleting reserves of oil and rare minerals. If we carry on along this path, rather than moving to using local produce, minimising the amount of oil and minerals we use, minimising waste, and reducing the population, people will die. It is better to make a slow, gradual, controlled adjustment, than it is for our 'debts' in terms of consequences from environmental damage to catch up with us.
However, big business doesn't care about the future. They want to party at our expense until the corpes of the over-exploited poor are piling up in the streets, the sea is lapping at our doors, and the last drop of oil is gone. After all, that is what laissez-faire capitalism is all about. Let it be, let it be.