Beside the Evil Trinity of IMF-World Bank-WTO, the world is also ruled by the UnholyTrinity of Big Oil – Big Arms – Big Pharma!
These Multinational Corporations are ruling over developing and developed countries’ politics, while the voters of the democratic countries are not standing up in defense of their democracy. Corporations and the CEOs that run them use their money to sway voters to give those corporations and CEOs much more power over people’s wallets and their elections
The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing petroleum products. The fight over the control of petroleum reserves (Oil imperialism) has been a major driving force behind the international conflicts since WWI.
Rich oil resources obstruct democracy and equitable economic growth in developing countries because of a lack of transparency, and therefore accountability, in oil revenues paid by oil companies to governments. Academic studies, personal testimonies, and governmental data establish a clear correlation between a country’s reliance on oil exports and its high levels of poverty, child malnutritionand mortality, totalitarianism, corruption, and civil war. There are other ethical issues such as Big Oil spills and fatalities that are among the highest in all industries.
There is also human rights violation by the Big Oil, an example of which is the case of Royal Dutch Shell.
In the beginning of 1996, several human rights groups brought cases to hold Shell accountable for human rights violations in Nigeria, including summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhumane treatment and arbitrary arrest and detention. In particular, Shell stood accused of collaborating in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the Ogoni tribe of southern Nigeria, who were hanged in 1995 by Nigeria’s then military rulers.
The lawsuits were brought against Royal Dutch Shell and Brian Anderson, the head of its Nigerian operation. In 2009, Shell agreed to pay $15.5m in a legal settlement.
In 2009, Shell was the subject of an Amnesty International report into the deterioration of human rights as a consequence of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta. In particular, Amnesty criticized the continuation of gas flaring and Shell’s slow response to oil spills.
In 2010, a leaked cable revealed that Shell claims to have inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government and know “everything that was being done in those ministries”, according to Shells top executive in Nigeria. The same executive also boasted that the Nigerian government had forgotten about the extent of Shell’s infiltration.
The arms industry is a global industry and business which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology and equipment. The lack of arms controls allows this industry to profit from the misery of others. While international attention is focused on the need to control weapons of mass destruction, the trade in conventional weapons continues to operate in a legal and moral vacuum. It operates without regulation and suffers from widespread corruption and bribes. And it makes its profits on the back of machines designed to kill and maim human beings. The top five countries dominating the world trade in arms and profiting from the arms trade are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China.
Just ten developing nation recipients of arms sales accounted for 59% of the total developing nation’s arms market between 2002 and 2009. It does not matter to the Arms corporations who arms are sold to. In 2000, theU.S. controlled half of the developing world’s arms market. This dominance of the global arms market is not something in which the American public or policy makers should take pride in. The U.S. routinely sells weapons to undemocratic regimes and gross human rights abusers.
Contracts to supply a given country’s military are awarded by the government, making arms contracts of substantial political importance. The link between politics and the arms trade can result in the development of what US President Dwight Eisenhower described as military-industrial-congressional complex, where the armed forces, commerce, and politics become closely linked. The European defense procurement is more or less analogous to the U.S. military-industrial complex. Various corporations, some publicly held, others private, bid for these contracts, which are often worth many billions of dollars.
Arms exports pose an ethical challenge, as supplying the weapons for a conflict as morally akin to becoming involved within the conflict and oppose the support for non-democratic oppressing regimes. The arms industry is a means of profiting from war, repression and death when failure to supply arms could lead to an early disengagement.
“With 1.3 trillion dollars spent every year on the world’s militaries, countries enmeshed in conflict are often flooded by weapons which are then turned against helpless civilian populations; say human rights organisations pushing for an international treaty to closely regulate arms sales.”(2008)
Some key details from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)’s 2010 Year Book are as follows:
“World military expenditure in 2009 is estimated to have reached $1.531 trillion in current dollars. This represents a 6 per cent increase in real terms since 2008 and a 49 per cent increase since 2000. This corresponds to 2.7 per cent of world gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately $225 for each person in the world. The USA, with its massive spending budget, is the principal determinant of the current world trend, and its military expenditure now accounts for just under half of the world total, at 46.5% of the world total.”
Oscar Arias Sanchez President of Costa Rica (awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars across Central America has stated:
“When a country decides to invest in arms, rather than in education, housing, the environment, and health services for its people, it is depriving a whole generation of its right to prosperity and happiness. We have produced one firearm for every ten inhabitants of this planet, and yet we have not bothered to end hunger when such a feat is well within our reach. Our international regulations allow almost three-quarters of all global arms sales to pour into the developing world with no binding international guidelines whatsoever. Our regulations do not hold countries accountable for what is done with the weapons they sell, even when the probable use of such weapons is obvious.”
The pharmaceutical industry develops, produces, and markets drugs licensed for use as medications.For the first time ever, in 2006, global spending on prescription drugs topped $643 billion, even as growth slowed somewhat in Europe and North America. The United States accounts for almost half of the global pharmaceutical market, with $289 billion in annual sales followed by the EU and Japan. Emerging markets such as China, Russia, South Korea and Mexico outpaced that market, growing a huge 81 percent.
There has been increasing controversy surrounding pharmaceutical marketing and influence.
There have been accusations and findings of influence on doctors and other health professionals through drug reps, including the constant provision of marketing “gifts” and biased information to health professionals; highly prevalent advertising in journals and conferences; funding independent healthcare organizations and health promotion campaigns; lobbying physicians and politicians (more than any other industry in the US); sponsorship of medical schools or nurse training; sponsorship of continuing educational events, with influence on the curriculum; and hiring physicians as paid consultants on medical advisory boards.
To help ensure the status quo on U.S. drug regulation and pricing, the pharmaceutical industry has thousands of lobbyists in Washington, DC that lobby Congress and protect their interests. The pharmaceutical industry spent $855 million, more than any other industry, on lobbying activities from 1998 to 2006, according to the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity.
Many of the Big Pharma’s marketing tactics are unethical:inventing, sometimes exaggerating, and always profiting. They would give small problems disease status and thus cure-worthy. They would take existing disorders and water down the symptoms, convincing people who thought they were OK that they need medicine—and now! There also ads that put ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome and social phobia into our vocabulary, the ones that declare that there’s help for restless legs syndrome, erectile dysfunction for older men, etc. In other words, the pharmaceutical companies are positioned in the space once held by doctors as the supposed catalysts of medicalization, whichis the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical and problems. They make up diseases and shunt everyday problems into the domain of professional biomedicine.
Competition between pharmaceutical companies has resulted in “me-too” drugs, which are defined as chemically-similar compounds or compounds with the same mechanism of action as an existing, approved chemical entity.“Me-too” drugs are only brought to market because their development is cheaper and less risky.