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Old 06-26-2015, 03:18 PM   #91
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First of all, I’m not going to reveal exactly who I work for, but let’s say I work in portfolio operations and marketing in the institutional asset management wing of one of the big 5 banks.

Are banks often dishonest? Sure. Frequently unethical? Undoubtedly.

Pure evil? That’s a bit of a fucking stretch, no?
Banks didn't deliberately cause the collapse, but they deliberately engaged in behaviour that led to the collapse, and they knew that they were risking people's lives by committing fraud. Given how widespread unethical behaviour is (sub-prime loans, libor manipulation, HSBC laundering money for cartels), I think it's fair to say that the industry itself is corrupt. Meaning, the people who make the decisions are corrupt. Lloyd Blankfein is vile beyond words, but is everyone at Goldman Sachs evil? Of course not. Monstanto and Starbucks are cunts for suing Vermont because they passed a law demanding GMO food be labelled, but is the barista who made my latte awful? No, she's just doing a job. It's not her fault that her company wants to overturn a law passed in a democracy. It is my fault for giving Starbucks money to use to sue states, though, and that makes me a bit of a cunt.

People in "unprofitable divisions" get laid off because the bank has found another way to made that division more profitable. Which is just business, right? Yes, but that doesn't mean it's immune from moral judgement. The banks goal is to reduce its workforce as much as possible while increasing profits as much as possible, regardless of the human cost. But you're right in saying that it's not a problem unique to banks. I guess they get the most flack for that because their profits are always reported on the news, and because the big five are among the top six most profitable companies in Canada. They don't need to treat their workforce with such disregard.

I used the term "fired" deliberately because "laid off" is an insulting euphemism. I remember when "laid off" meant that the worker lost their job for a bit but eventually got it back, like seasonal workers. Now it means "sorry, your job has gone to China."

The TFW program is sickening, and you're right that RBC got killed in the press when people found out what they were doing (despite the best efforts of Amanda Lang). And yeah, I don't think I've seen a white person who speaks English as a first language work at Tim Horton's in 10 years. The problem is with the program, but companies don't have to behave unethically. Yet they do, given the chance, because growth is the sole reason they exist.

Perhaps it was wrong to say that banks are evil, but I didn't mean it literally. They're not on the same level as the oil and gas industry, for example. But the banking industry is unquestionable exploitative and unethical. That doesn't mean that you are - but the industry you work in is. As are most industries. It also provides a necessary function. I apologize for offending you - I didn't mean anything personal. I go to the bank almost every day and the tellers are pretty nice - I don't think they're evil. The people who constantly decide to raise fees? Fuck them. They're evil.
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:23 PM   #92
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Where is the neoliberal members' rulebook? Is that not like saying that a strict Christian wouldn't believe in evolution? Human beings are pragmatic and there is no simple black and white, I believe. Is Donald Trump not a strict Republican (and therefore cannot be called a Republican) when he is offending other Republican candidates? Do some strict vegetarians wear leather shoes (but never eat an animal product) while others are more strict and do neither? Who is to say that the one who is less strict is not a vegetarian? So why is it odd to link Jeffrey Sachs with neoliberalism?

It's not just about profiting from aid, but my main point is how aid is seen in terms of development alongside the market. I don't believe that seeing a need for aid (of which there can be many possible needs to agree with or disagree with) is an indication of whether or not someone is a neoliberal.

I believe that the market can play a role in development, yes. But we need to be honest about needs, motivations, and outcomes. If we pretend that the market is going to help Africa become "developed" like us, then we have to acknowledge that our societies are tremendously unequal and often lack social justice. But this is inconvenient to millionaires who move their money around internationally to avoid paying tax, who claim that there is a consensus of opinion throughout Africa and who fail to acknowledge social structures of inequality within African countries that can be perpetuated and exacerbated by the market and by economic development. No wonder Bono the political activist was sleeping when the Occupy movement was in full swing and has never commented on the bail out of the banks. If we, like Bono and Sachs, say things to the American public such as "Africans can become future consumers of the USA" or "It make sense to give aid because then there will be fewer terrorists", then we are clearly seeing (selling) development in Africa as a business opportunity while at the same time not addressing important questions with regards to terrorism. The link between capitalism and colonialism is clear. Then there is the whole debate about the development industry as a continuation of colonialism. Etc. So, yes, I believe the market can play a role – and that this can lead to positive as well as negative outcomes. But what I object to is there simplification of "markets" and "aid" and so on, in the discussion of development. I object to the depoliticisation of development issues. I object to elites speaking on behalf of others who do not have an opportunity to speak. I object to Bono's "everything is going to be alright" attitude [addition: an argument that "the market is good", when of course it can be good but, Bono, you must admit it can also be bad!] when it never has been ["alright"] and unfortunately it probably never will be. I don't object to trying to make things better, but I believe that's only really possible when we cut the crap and address all the issues and stop the simplified sales talk.

All I'm saying is that by the strict definition of neoliberalism, Sachs would not fall into that category, and that is often one of his criticisms.

Never once have I ever heard or gathered from Bono's activism that he believed "everything is going to be alright". And you have to simplify the sales talk, that's the role of the celebrity activist. To be a salesperson and bring awareness.

John Lennon, Eddie Vedder, Strummer; none of these folks came up with the solutions or did anything, they just gave the sales pitch and brought awareness. In fact I think Bono has gone above and beyond, crossed aisles and got more done than most rockstar activists.


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Old 06-26-2015, 04:51 PM   #93
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Isn't Monsanto a midfielder on the Brazilian team?
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:41 AM   #94
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Hi BVS,

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All I'm saying is that by the strict definition of neoliberalism, Sachs would not fall into that category, and that is often one of his criticisms.
What is the strict definition of neoliberalism? This is the subject of much academic debate. China has been included, but some fiercely contest that. But whether or not Jeffrey Sachs has been in the neoliberal camp in terms of structural adjustment, privatisation, etc., is clear as daylight. Please can you explain why you think otherwise, why he would not fall into that category?

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Never once have I ever heard or gathered from Bono's activism that he believed "everything is going to be alright". And you have to simplify the sales talk, that's the role of the celebrity activist. To be a salesperson and bring awareness.
I disagree. Yes, campaigns have to simplify, etc. But to say thinks like "We can end poverty by 2015...2030..." etc. (typical kind of Bono-speak) is like saying "everything is going to be alright if we do X,Y, Z". But there are multiple layers of problems here. Firstly, how to define poverty? Secondly, reducing poverty to a depoliticised technical problem that can be solved by intervention and micro problem-solving at a macro level, without addressing overarching structural forces, and more localised power issues, etc. etc. Unrealistic.

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John Lennon, Eddie Vedder, Strummer; none of these folks came up with the solutions or did anything, they just gave the sales pitch and brought awareness. In fact I think Bono has gone above and beyond, crossed aisles and got more done than most rockstar activists.
But maybe Lennon, Vedder and Strummer did enough. Bono might have "got more done", but as I have ranted on before, a lot of it is according to a particular agenda and vision of development; then the issues of knowledge, hegemonic power, consent, and so on, which I also ranted on about. Bono might have "got more done", but in whose interests? On whose behalf is he really speaking? Which voices are excluded when he homogenises all Africans and claims to be speaking on behalf of "Africans"?

EDIT: Addition: In other words – who is this "salesman" working for? Remember in business, there is always competition and conflict of interests. To assume Bono's "product" is benign and impartial is problematic.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:17 AM   #95
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Hi BVS,



What is the strict definition of neoliberalism? This is the subject of much academic debate. China has been included, but some fiercely contest that. But whether or not Jeffrey Sachs has been in the neoliberal camp in terms of structural adjustment, privatisation, etc., is clear as daylight. Please can you explain why you think otherwise, why he would not fall into that category?



I disagree. Yes, campaigns have to simplify, etc. But to say thinks like "We can end poverty by 2015...2030..." etc. (typical kind of Bono-speak) is like saying "everything is going to be alright if we do X,Y, Z". But there are multiple layers of problems here. Firstly, how to define poverty? Secondly, reducing poverty to a depoliticised technical problem that can be solved by intervention and micro problem-solving at a macro level, without addressing overarching structural forces, and more localised power issues, etc. etc. Unrealistic.



But maybe Lennon, Vedder and Strummer did enough. Bono might have "got more done", but as I have ranted on before, a lot of it is according to a particular agenda and vision of development; then the issues of knowledge, hegemonic power, consent, and so on, which I also ranted on about. Bono might have "got more done", but in whose interests? On whose behalf is he really speaking? Which voices are excluded when he homogenises all Africans and claims to be speaking on behalf of "Africans"?

EDIT: Addition: In other words – who is this "salesman" working for? Remember in business, there is always competition and conflict of interests. To assume Bono's "product" is benign and impartial is problematic.

Who was Lennon speaking for, who is Vedder speaking for, who are you speaking for? You don't seem to apply the same questioning to yourself or anyone else.

You have to be able to sell the end solution, otherwise there isn't hope. Do you really think that when Lennon was talking about peace he was saying "everything's going to be alright"? Do you really think Lennon had a solution or believed peace was feasible?


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Old 07-05-2015, 04:43 PM   #96
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Who was Lennon speaking for, who is Vedder speaking for, who are you speaking for? You don't seem to apply the same questioning to yourself or anyone else.

You have to be able to sell the end solution, otherwise there isn't hope. Do you really think that when Lennon was talking about peace he was saying "everything's going to be alright"?
My reference to Lennon, Marley and Strummer was just a minor postscript/footnote regarding how Bono has at different times aligned himself with certain individuals (in these cases, deceased) but they might actually not have liked to have been associated with Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, neoliberalism, etc. Following that discussion too far is just speculation and a distraction from the main topic. I referred to them again, because you did, BVS. Sometimes it’s enough for artists to raise questions and make thought-provoking music. But, take Lennon for example – he was very much reacting to the war in Vietnam and expressing his personal opinion. He was not claiming to be speaking on behalf of Vietnamese civilians. Anyway, as I said, following that discussion too far is just speculation and a distraction from the main topic! But I will respond to your questions:


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Do you really think Lennon had a solution or believed peace was feasible
Regarding Vietnam – Yes. His solution to the problem of war was that the US should not be in Vietnam. Yes, I believe that fewer lives would have been lost in Vietnam if the US military had not been there. That is a significant step towards peace.

But I didn't come here to debate Lennon, Marley, Strummer, Vedder or Neil Young. BVS, you say I have “tidbits, some half-truths” and that I have not “laid out a compelling argument”. You answer my questions with questions, and throw in statements about Jeffrey Sach's “nuances” and the so-called “strict definition” of neoliberalism to indicate that I am wrong, but these seem to amount to your own “tidbits”, “half-truths” etc. I keep answering your questions, BVS, but when I ask you to elaborate on your statements, you do not respond and have not made any compelling argument yourself.

My questions to you are:
  • What do you believe to be the strict definition of neoliberalism?
  • Is it true that you believe that aid and the markets are two different things, incompatible? If so, why?
  • Am I correct in understanding that you believe that aid is not neoliberal? If so, why?
  • Why do you believe that Jeffrey Sachs is not a neoliberal?
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:49 PM   #97
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Isn't Monsanto a midfielder on the Brazilian team?
According to Google Translate, the above question in real English means, "I am stupid and ignorant and I don't care about anything or anyone except myself".
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:51 PM   #98
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Sorry for my outburst, but, really. We're having a serious conversation like adults and suddenly there is a child in the room making random statements.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:29 PM   #99
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My reference to Lennon, Marley and Strummer was just a minor postscript/footnote regarding how Bono has at different times aligned himself with certain individuals (in these cases, deceased) but they might actually not have liked to have been associated with Bono, Jeffrey Sachs, neoliberalism, etc. Following that discussion too far is just speculation and a distraction from the main topic. I referred to them again, because you did, BVS. Sometimes it’s enough for artists to raise questions and make thought-provoking music. But, take Lennon for example – he was very much reacting to the war in Vietnam and expressing his personal opinion. He was not claiming to be speaking on behalf of Vietnamese civilians. Anyway, as I said, following that discussion too far is just speculation and a distraction from the main topic! But I will respond to your questions:









Regarding Vietnam – Yes. His solution to the problem of war was that the US should not be in Vietnam. Yes, I believe that fewer lives would have been lost in Vietnam if the US military had not been there. That is a significant step towards peace.



But I didn't come here to debate Lennon, Marley, Strummer, Vedder or Neil Young. BVS, you say I have “tidbits, some half-truths” and that I have not “laid out a compelling argument”. You answer my questions with questions, and throw in statements about Jeffrey Sach's “nuances” and the so-called “strict definition” of neoliberalism to indicate that I am wrong, but these seem to amount to your own “tidbits”, “half-truths” etc. I keep answering your questions, BVS, but when I ask you to elaborate on your statements, you do not respond and have not made any compelling argument yourself.



My questions to you are:


  • What do you believe to be the strict definition of neoliberalism?
  • Is it true that you believe that aid and the markets are two different things, incompatible? If so, why?
  • Am I correct in understanding that you believe that aid is not neoliberal? If so, why?
  • Why do you believe that Jeffrey Sachs is not a neoliberal?

Neoliberalism calls for privatization, limiting government, deregulation, and free trade. By definition government aid would be off the table, and it's obvious that's not part of Bono's vision.


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Old 07-05-2015, 09:57 PM   #100
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Hello wideawake2015, I lurk on this board much more than I interact and it allows me to get a good idea of the differing opinions from various countries.

First off, congratulations on receiving a master's degree in international development. That is an impressive achievement in which I hope you are applying within your career.
Second, I am not a fan of politics (political banter bores me horribly) but as a U2 fan it is nearly impossible to avoid.

After reading this entire thread I would like to confess: as a fan of the music, the various messages conveyed within U2's music and concerts including the effort to introduce concert goers to various charitable organizations impress me. Petitions do make a difference.

To be completely honest when Bono starts talking politics my eyes glaze over and I hear a lot of blah, blah blah... that is if I'm not entirely avoiding those political speeches. (No offense to Bono)
End of confession.

I gathered you are targeting Bono in this thread because of his outspoken concern over poverty, illnesses, hunger, war, etc.
It is my assumption that you have had "enough" due to the fact of your education and your unease of reading articles that mention how Bono is rubbing elbows with a specific corporation/s?

I do not bank at Bank of America and I do not know if this corporation is funding assistance to Africa. The practices of Monsanto do not impress me, but that does not affect how I hear the music or the messages given during concerts.

To find any corporation with a sincere, moral consciousness would be a very rare find. In reality you just might have to shake hands with the devil to reach the goal of assisting humans in need.

This is my thought regarding evil:
"We do not fight or wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness."

With all of the above said, my question to you is: What steps would you take to assist an entire nation of starving and sick people you have personally visited and met?

Apologies if I missed your suggestions/ideas that would allow corrective measures regarding the issues of Bono's political actions?

I am curious about the mistakes Bono is making and how you would handle these issues if you were in a very successful rock & roll outfit?
Thanks
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:15 AM   #101
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Neoliberalism calls for privatization, limiting government, deregulation, and free trade. By definition government aid would be off the table, and it's obvious that's not part of Bono's vision.
Hi, thanks. But can we leave Bono out of it for a moment. My question was with regards to your comments specifically about Jeffrey Sachs, whom you said was more nuanced than neoliberal.

Your definition is quite standard. Nothing wrong with it on the surface. But we have to acknowledge that human beings – and especially politicians – do not fit these moulds so rigidly. We are contradictory, opportunists, not fixed. Thatcher was as Tory (and neoliberal) as Cameron. No doubt about it. Who cares for strict definitions?! Thatcher said there is no such thing as society. Cameron, seeing an opportunity, argued for a big society. Differing rhetoric to encourage the same kinds of aims.

It is my understanding that Jeffrey Sachs has called for privatization, deregulation and free trade. As for small government, it takes a large government to organise society in a way that it can appear that there is a small government. What usually happens is that the government may appear small when it is actually working in the interests of certain groups. It took a very strong Thatcher government ("The Iron Lady" !!) to create a relatively "small government". Neoliberalism in so-called third world countries was earlier defined by structural adjustment policies. It takes a large government to make such adjustments. A large government in the donor country (the country offering aid on the condition of neoliberal structural adjustment policies in the recipient country) and a large government in the country where the government is required to step aside to allow for privatisation and free trade. Privatisation and free trade do not occur in a political vacuum. Hence, there are many myths and contradictions. Neoliberalism is more flexible, contradictory and elusive than "strict definitions".

If you are judging neoliberalism according to aid, then you are actually saying that not only is Jeffrey Sachs not a neoliberal, but that there has been nothing neoliberal about British and US governments in the past three decades. We know this is not true.

You're right – the perfect neoliberal daydream may exclude all aid. But neoliberalism isn't a science and politics and international development do not occur in a test tube.

So I still don't understand which "nuances" make Jeffrey Sachs NOT a neoliberal.
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:24 AM   #102
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Hello wideawake2015,
Thanks for your comments etc. I will write a reply later over the weekend. In a rush for time right now but meanwhile I didn't want to appear like I totally ignored your comments.
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Old 07-11-2015, 11:38 AM   #103
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Hi, thanks. But can we leave Bono out of it for a moment. My question was with regards to your comments specifically about Jeffrey Sachs, whom you said was more nuanced than neoliberal.



Your definition is quite standard. Nothing wrong with it on the surface. But we have to acknowledge that human beings – and especially politicians – do not fit these moulds so rigidly. We are contradictory, opportunists, not fixed. Thatcher was as Tory (and neoliberal) as Cameron. No doubt about it. Who cares for strict definitions?! Thatcher said there is no such thing as society. Cameron, seeing an opportunity, argued for a big society. Differing rhetoric to encourage the same kinds of aims.



It is my understanding that Jeffrey Sachs has called for privatization, deregulation and free trade. As for small government, it takes a large government to organise society in a way that it can appear that there is a small government. What usually happens is that the government may appear small when it is actually working in the interests of certain groups. It took a very strong Thatcher government ("The Iron Lady" !!) to create a relatively "small government". Neoliberalism in so-called third world countries was earlier defined by structural adjustment policies. It takes a large government to make such adjustments. A large government in the donor country (the country offering aid on the condition of neoliberal structural adjustment policies in the recipient country) and a large government in the country where the government is required to step aside to allow for privatisation and free trade. Privatisation and free trade do not occur in a political vacuum. Hence, there are many myths and contradictions. Neoliberalism is more flexible, contradictory and elusive than "strict definitions".



If you are judging neoliberalism according to aid, then you are actually saying that not only is Jeffrey Sachs not a neoliberal, but that there has been nothing neoliberal about British and US governments in the past three decades. We know this is not true.



You're right – the perfect neoliberal daydream may exclude all aid. But neoliberalism isn't a science and politics and international development do not occur in a test tube.



So I still don't understand which "nuances" make Jeffrey Sachs NOT a neoliberal.

:facepalm: holy hell!!!

Forget about Bono for a second?! This thread(that you started) is about Bono! Your whole point was that Bono's knowledge has to be questioned because of who he's hanging out with. My whole point, which you keep getting distracted on tangents and missing, is that Bono's desire for a solution is far from a neoliberal's pipedream.


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Old 07-11-2015, 07:03 PM   #104
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Old 07-12-2015, 05:32 PM   #105
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Thanks for your comments etc. I will write a reply later over the weekend. In a rush for time right now but meanwhile I didn't want to appear like I totally ignored your comments.
Oh hey... no worries, take your time.
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