By Ben Cohen
Robert Weissman of Multi National Monitor lists the 10 worst corporations of 2008 (in alphabetical order):
AIG: Money for Nothing
There’s surely no one party
responsible for the ongoing global financial crisis. But if you had to
pick a single responsible corporation, there’s a very strong case to
make for American International Group (AIG), which has already sucked
up more than $150 billion in taxpayer supports. Through “credit default
swaps,” AIG basically collected insurance premiums while making the
ridiculous assumption that it would never pay out on a failure — let
alone a collapse of the entire market it was insuring. When reality set
in, the roof caved in.
Cargill: Food Profiteers
When food prices spiked in late 2007
and through the beginning of 2008, countries and poor consumers found
themselves at the mercy of the global market and the giant trading
companies that dominate it. As hunger rose and food riots broke out
around the world, Cargill saw profits soar, tallying more than $1
billion in the second quarter of 2008 alone.In a competitive market, would a
grain-trading middleman make super-profits? Or would rising prices
crimp the middleman’s profit margin? Well, the global grain trade is
not competitive, and the legal rules of the global economy– devised at
the behest of Cargill and friends — ensure that poor countries will be
dependent on, and at the mercy of, the global grain traders.
I would imagine a top 50 might be necessary for 2009, as we’re only beginning to find out what some of the mega conglomerates have been up to.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.