Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Corporate Gluttony: An Evil

Hurts Cuba and the World
       Jason Day is a 27-year-old golfer from Australia. On August 16, 2015, he received a $1.8 million check for winning the PGA Championship in Michigan. Such prize money is pocket-change for professional athletes. The endless billions of dollars showered on athletes, stadiums, universities, and other entities via corporate marketing is nothing short of a capitalist evil gone amok. It is an unchecked enterprise that harms the vast majority of the world's 7.3 billion people, merely to sate the greed and gluttony of an elite few. Multi-billion-dollar corporations get tax breaks for showering multi-millionaire and multi-billionaire athletes with millions and billions of dollars in often frivolous endorsements...in a world in which one of every five children in the U. S., the world's richest nation, have severe hunger problems, with billions of other children worldwide even hungrier or already starved to death. The sheer greed and gluttony of corporate executives, as they bask in their ivory towers, are responsible for much of that misery.
          Yes...Jason Day, the 27-year-old Aussie, got a paycheck of $1.8 million last Sunday for winning the PGA championship in Michigan; 22-year-old Jordan Spieth's check was $1,080,000 for finishing second. But such winnings are almost meaningless and surely unappreciated because they pale in comparison to the money corporate sponsors shower on athletes for such things as just adding their corporate names on hats, T-shirts, etc., that the athletes wear, making golfers like Jason Day look like Nascar clowns. Much of that greed and gluttony insults the parents of hungry children around the world. For example, gluttonous ads "CONGRATULATING" athletes for victories should be prohibited by law out of respect for hungry and ill-clad children. Right after Jason Day's PGA victory, my USA Today featured full-page color ads merely sending "congratulations" to Jason Day from two of his many corporate sponsors -- Concur and Zurich. Such ads cost about $300,000. The executives at Concur and Zurich could have congratulated Jason Day via an email or a phone call and contributed the $600,000 spent on just two CONGRATULATORY ads to feeding hungry children. Let's see now...$600,000...would feed...how many children...for how many days? 
        The billions of dollars gluttonous corporations shower each day on obscenely wealthy athletes could, if properly directed, save the lives of many innocent children. "Congratulatory" ads are particularly insulting to children like the little girl depicted above. Just two dollars of the $600,000 Concur and Zurich spent on their USA Today congratulatory ads to Jason Day could have purchased a good meal for this little girl -- maybe a sandwich, an apple, and a glass of milk. But corporations like Concur and Zurich believe Jason Day deserves those two dollars more than this little girl. I think they are wrong...criminally wrong!!
        In the 1950s during the U.S.-backed Batista-Mafia dictatorship, Cuban children like these had hunger, clothing, shelter, and sanitation problems. Providing these children necessities such as food and clothes was not even an afterthought. Considering the ill-gotten wealth accruing to the Batistianos, the Mafiosi, and the businessmen in Cuba during that period, I believe the fate of these Cuban children, and all oppressed children in a world in which the gluttonously rich rule, was and is wrong...criminally wrong!!
         The "CONGRATULATORY" ads directed at Jason Day this week, and other such corporate examples of gluttony, always remind me of this photo. It was taken in Batista's Cuba in the 1950s by the great photographer Alberto Korda. He would always say it was the greatest and the most haunting photograph he ever took. This little Cuban girl was not starving, Korda said. She was well-dressed, and well groomed. But the day Korda took her photograph, the little girl lovingly clutched her most prized possession -- a block of wood that she pretended was a doll. Korda learned that her parents loved her dearly, but they couldn't afford a real doll. That's why the photograph of the precious little girl haunted Korda the rest of his life. And that's why, in a world in which 40,000 children starve to death each day, I am angered by the sheer greed and gluttony of corporations who shower extremely rich athletes with extreme amounts of easy endorsement money, not to mention the expensive "CONGRATULATORY' ads that insult not only hungry and deprived little girls but also the decent adults who care about them. Societies should be judged by how children are cared for. Children deserve food, clothes, shelter, health care, educations, etc. Korda's little girl deserved a real doll. Gluttonous corporate executives deserve only scorn for insulting the lives of non-rich children while they over-indulge their own children and other rich associates, like athletes.
       This image...a hungry little girl sitting all alone on cement steps...is courtesy of ABC-TV News. She was featured in that network's documentary on childhood hunger in the U. S., the richest nation in the history of the world by far. The network began the segment featuring this little girl with these words: "One child out of every five in the U. S. suffers from hunger." ABC-News was reporting on a U. S. in which billion-dollar corporations shower millionaire and billionaire athletes with endorsements worth additional millions and billions that they don't need, not even the most gluttonous among them. And neither does this little girl. But gotdamnit!! She doesn't deserve to be sitting on those cement steps all alone...AND HUNGRY. We who care about her are as much to blame as those gluttonous corporations and those gluttonous athletes, because we allow them to get away with it and to project the image that Jason Day or a Tiger Woods doesn't have enough money and this little girl has too much to eat. Billionaire executives and athletes abound in a nation in which one little girl in five is hungry. Is there something wrong with the USA Today picture of Jason Day being "CONGRATULATED" via a $300,000 full-page ad? Is there something wrong with the ABC-TV picture of this little girl sitting all alone on cement steps suffering from hunger in gluttonous AmericaDid Korda's little girl deserve a real doll in gluttonous Cuba during the Batista dictatorship? Silly questions, huh? But photographs are worth a thousand words. And so are hungry, deprived little girls.
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