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5 Years of Failure - Why UN Voluntary Measures Aren't Stopping Bad Business Behavior


5 Years of Failure - Why UN Voluntary Measures Aren't Stopping Bad Business Behavior

Anne van Schaik, Lucia Ortiz

Thursday, June 16th marks the 5th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Yet, violations of human and environmental rights continue, and access to justice remains as difficult as it ever was.


The writers assert:

"We need to have a UN treaty on business and human rights that takes precedent over special privileges given to corporations by trade deals.... without the regulations being captured or negotiated away by corporations. It is time for UN member states to rule over transnational corporations, and not be ruled by them."

Yes, that, exactly. Disempower corporations at the global level, through binding legal structures that forbid countries from negotiating away sovereignty, democracy, or humanity to these artificial creations.


General agreement. We need a massive grassroots movement, worldwide, to claim democracy and ecology as our birthright.


A number of years ago, during one of Bill Maher's earlier talk shows, his guest was Jello Biafra, formerly the lead singer of the hardest core ever punk rock band, The Dead Kennedys. During the conversation he used the term "wealth addiction" and it shocked and upset Maher and whoever the other guests were, and I don't think Biafra has been on television since and term hasn't been said in public since either.

Incidentally, speaking of being on TV, with both of the two "presumptive" Republican and Democrat candidates setting off the charts record unfavorability ratings and people are posting on sites like this saying this is a golden opportunity for someone like Green Party candidate Jill Stein to get enough votes to make a major difference. That won't happen unless . . . unless she can get some prime time TV exposure. The media are still prohibiting anyone other than Dems or Repubs from being heard and, foolish as this is, nobody who does not appear on TV will get significant quantity votes. One or two (or more) TV appearances by Stein or one of the other Left-progressive candidates could upset the duopoly's apple cart.

I wish there was a way that the networks could be somehow be forced to "let's let the people at least hear what she has to say." I wish I could figure out a way they could be pressured.

But getting back to Jello Biafra's "wealth addiction" meme, he's still saying it so I'll let him explain.

Q: On the new Guantanamo School of Medicine album White People and the Damage Done there’s a track, Werewolves Of Wall Street, that mentions a concept you call “wealth addiction”. Would you mind explaining what you mean by “wealth addiction”?

JB: Wealth addiction is like if you’re a crackhead or a methhead but it’s all about the money. It’s the most dangerous kind of addiction on earth for that reason because it’s done the most damage.

I mean, you make your first million dollars you’re doing pretty damn well, right? What’s the point of trying to make any more? You can live of that the rest of your life, very comfortably if you live smart. But no! People in that bracket, often by then they’re wealth addicts who are like, “I must have more. I must have more. Why have $1 million when I could have $2 million? Why have $2 million when I could have $200 million? I love playing this game! It’s like a video game I can’t stop playing! Only, in order for me to win, real human beings must lose!” I mean, they just can’t stop themselves.

When somebody has so much money they can’t figure out how to spend it all it should be taken away from them – it’s that simple.

Q: By that definition “wealth addiction” would effect most of us in a capitalist culture. In that regard, does Occupy go far enough or should we look at alternative forms of society that aren’t based on a monetary system?

JB: I’m not sure. I mean, bartering for every last little thing you require in order to feed yourself and survive, it seems to me that would be tremendously time-consuming. I mean I’m not against capitalism, per se, I’m against capitalism when it’s abused and when it becomes taken over by crackhead mentality wealth addiction, instead of just trying to make a little money and pay your bills.

I'd like to see the phrase "wealth addiction" brought into this year's election rhetoric fest.