I think I’ll try Firestone…

Caught someone going off about the Firestone corporation today, and asked what they were talking about.

Stop Firestone

So apparently Firestone gets all of the latex for its tires from Liberia.  They pay a pittance to lease the land, and compensate the workers – who toil for long hours under horrible conditions just so we greedy Americans can let the rubber meet the road.

I say – who cares?  Liberia is a 3rd world country, and the statistics that the site rattles off – like a life expectancy of 50 years for the workers – is probably true for those people whether or not they’re helping to procure the raw materials for tires that I generally never had any interest in.

Every time I see some new group come out attacking another American corporation for abusing some 3rd world nation – I see it as the height of American arrogance!  What is America now but a gaggle of laws and unions which operate in such a screwed up manner that these corporations can’t afford to work here in the first place.

In most cases, it’s reactionary istiots (“ist” + “idiots” for those of you in Warwick) who create the precise negative environments that they later decry!

Are the conditions in Liberia bad?  Sure.  Is it Firestone’s fault?  Doubtful.  Will conditions be improved by taking away jobs and money to satisfy some bleeding heart jackass in a climate controlled office, ranting against corporate policy from behind a computer screen?  Again, doubtful.

Maybe Firestone could pay more, maybe they could improve conditions, and maybe they just don’t care… but after all the negative press they received from the Ford Explorer/Exploding Tire debacle, I can’t blame them for wanting to save money at every turn.

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One Response to I think I’ll try Firestone…

  1. If you want better information on the history behind this sort of abuse, a book called “King Leopold’s Ghost” is really scary reading. It’s not just “low-wage-high-labor” jobs, but there’s a culture of abuse that forms around the corporate domination of the local peoples.

    I’m not accusing Firestone of the sorts of things Leopold did during the rise of the rubber industry, but — as you point out — it’s a third world country, how do we know what the full story is? And given the rampant abuses of the past ….

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