24 April 2009

Capitalists Pay Scientists to Shut Up

Okay, the New York Times puts it this way: Industry Ignored its Scientists on Climate.

Fine, call me a socialist. My grandfather, back in the 1930s, was a union-organizing communist. (Long story.) Unregulated capitalism, as we're seeing over and over and over again in recent months, is bad news.

It's brought us to the brink of financial collapse, it brought us asbestos, it brought us corporate claims that cigarettes didn't cause cancer. It brought us high-fructose corn syrup (now linked to heart disease) as well as Splenda, Aspartame, and Saccharine. It brought us fast food. It brought us factory farming and genetically engineered food.

Some capitalists are motivated by making a product that will improve human lives. But too many are motivated only by making money, more of it, regardless of the human and planetary costs. Humans are by nature imperfect beings, and human organizations need checks and balances, regulations and oversight.

Okay. Rant over.