Forbes' 2009 list of the top 10 multinationals includes 7 energy (oil) companies. That helps explain why alternative energy has had such a rough time gaining a foothold in the market and more and more people think climate change is a hoax. (That would be you, Senator Imhofe).
According to Lindsey Renick Mayer from the Center for Responsive Politics, President George W. Bush's infamous energy task force led by Dick Cheney conducted its meetings in secret to gather recommendations from "Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, BP America and Chevron." This "would position oil and gas companies well ahead of other energy interests with billions of dollars in subsidies and tax cuts—payback for an industry with strong ties to the administration and plenty of money to contribute to congressional and presidential campaigns."
During the Bush administration the oil and gas industry spent $393.2 million on lobbying the federal government. This places the industry among the top nine in lobbying expenditures.
Beyond the energy/climate change debate a broader issue is why global business is considered efficient and useful and global government is scary. Actually, both should probably be considered scary. (Read anything by Naomi Klein - she can explain much better than I).
What you don't hear of a lot in discussions of changing the status quo is commensurate global governance to regulate the excesses of global companies. I know we have the paranoid specter of black helicopters full of men in blue helmets coming to take us away to the secret detention centers. That might actually be a real concern given that the "tranparent" Obama administration seems to be hanging onto its "rights" to detain people for no good reason.
We all know the bureaucratic horror stories emanating from the United Nations, although you can find many admiral programs coming out of there and they shine a light on many real horrors of the world (rape as government policy, AIDS, genital mutilation, etc, etc).
We are left looking to the governments of the countries that provide homes to these global businesses like the energy firms mentioned above. Who has the power, the fortitude, the knowledge, and the access to keep these huge companies at bay and stop them when they obviously do wrong ? Who can stop the sweatshops, the deforestation, the oil spills? Who can stop global news organizations like Mr. Murdoch's from creating fake news on their fake media and then blowing it out of proportion by having their stable of "analysts" repeat their canned and branded messages in lockstep (think Teabaggers) until the silent majority actually believe its news ?
Our federal government seems to be in a constant state of paralysis. Witness the latest silliness on health care reform. After screaming for "transparency" and input into the debate, the Republicans were called to a televised discussion about their concerns by President Obama. Mr. Boehner and his frightened colleagues brand it "a trap" , and I'm sure that's how Fox News will frame it too. In the psychedelic land of DC, it;s a trap to have to tell us what their ideas are in public.
I don't have any good anwers to fixing the messes created by globalization. Sometimes businesses themselves are able to bring about change if it serves their vested interests. Some CEO's seem to grasp the climate change issues better than the government, and are willing to trade environmental improvements for stability, but self-policing is not going to work in every industry.
The feebleness on display in the Copenhagen summit and Washington in terms of making substantive changes is disheartening. Problems seem too big for politics to solve. Information is available wherever you turn but the truth is buried in the mountains of conflicting data. All sides of the arguments tailor their messages to create emotional responses, or they generate so much obfuscation people throw up their hands in despair and give up on real change. All sides are guilty of untruths. Gridlock again. At least we get a feeble chance to throw out the idiots in Washington. Unfortunately, we don't get the opportunity vote out the idiots in the board room unless we can afford a whole lot of stock. But we can try.
ExxonMobil's profits in 2009 slid to 19 billion from 44 billion the year before. Sounds like they need a new boss. Call them and vote for me as new CEO. It's all part of the 2010 Bob Mullany stimulus package. I've been unemployed for 9 months but I have 20+ years of management experience.. I promise to focus more on alternative energy ! Their address and phone number :
Exxon Mobil Corporation
5959 Las Colinas Blvd.
Irving, TX 75039