by Benn Ray
"Hey, we have to put up with behavior that is dangerous and/or unhealthy (economically or otherwise) from ____ [fill in the name of any corporation] because hey, it creates jobs."
When out-of-state developers wanted to drop a Wal-Mart in the heart Remington, the argument they and the politicians they had in their collective pocket made was, "We need the jobs." Never mind the overwhelming body of evidence that shows that Wal-Marts don't create jobs, they simply displace existing jobs with lower-paying jobs that also has the added benefit of increasing stress on social safety net programs while driving down area wages.
Never mind that a Wal-Mart is, by every measure, bad for the community it metastasizes in. WE NEED JOBS!
Almost every controversial development uses the excuse, "We need the jobs!"
When corporate polluters want to increase their capacity to externalize the expense of their waste by arguing for increased environmental deregulation, the go-to argument is, "It will help create much-needed jobs."
Never mind that the purpose of a corporation is not to create jobs, it's to create profit for its owners. Jobs are a simple by-product of corporate ventures - and corporate owners see jobs as an expense, something to minimize.
But the most egregious example, of late, of a corporation using the "it creates job" defense for extremely dangerous behavior, comes from Canadian oil company Kinder Morgan who is seeking federal approval to triple its pipeline capacity from 300,000 barrel-a-day limit to 890,000 barrel-a-day limit, even though the company has a history of its pipeline spilling.
In their 15,000 page plea for expansion, you will find this gem:
"Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers."
So did we all get that? A benefit from increasing oil capacity is that should there be a spill, this means jobs!
This should come as sweet relief to those of us who live along the Chesapeake Bay after earlier this week an oil spill in the Saint James River (a Bay tributary) from a CSX train derailment almost destroyed the town of Lynchburg, VA. Sure, Lynchburg was almost wiped off the map. Sure they have to find a new source for drinking water. Sure this spill will most likely affect the Bay. But hey, you, know, cleanup will create jobs!
Following that logic, should small towns suffering through economic downturns and also have oil pipelines passing through them go out and spike holes in those pipelines? Hey, it creates jobs.
And hey, why don't we just get rid of the FDA. After all, toxins in our food would also create healthcare jobs.
Why don't we just arm the criminally insane, because that will mean more public safety jobs (oddly, this is an argument I wouldn't be surprised for the NRA to make).
There needs to be a name for this inhuman, jobs-based rationalization for corporate exploitation at the expense of public health and safety - so let's call this Suicide Capitalism.
After all, a society that accepts this argument as valid is, essentially, committing suicide.