An alliance of public rivals?

IMRAN JAN
Published 30.07.2019 00:48

Pro-business, or rather pro large corporation, propaganda says climate change is a myth. U.S. President Donald Trump calls it a hoax. I prefer labeling it as propaganda rather than a mindset because climate change denial, on the part of the powers that be, is a deliberate ploy used for the purpose of maximizing profits.

Acknowledging climate change as a real threat to our survival and especially to the survival of our grandchildren would be a huge contradiction to their line of work. It is very much like many Muslim immigrants living in the West to indulge in haram business but then only go to halal stores to buy their groceries and only frequent halal restaurants. They also don't want to talk about this issue because deep down they know it is a contradiction.

Oil corporations such as Exxon, Chevron, Shell and so forth continue to drill for more fuel to extract and sell. Any system in the world designed to bring ease to the work of human beings always comes at a cost.

Drilling senselessly and endlessly is one of those things. It gives us the fuel we need to run our cars and other machinery designed to ease our lives and work; however, there is a cost, not necessarily monetary for now, but the kind that makes living a healthy life difficult.

So, the choice really is between ease and, well, life itself because that is what climate change means; if left unchecked and uncontested, our grandchildren may not have enough clean air to breathe, not to mention the endless diseases as well as financial costs that will come with it.

The other side of the coin

There is an interesting angle to this. While not acknowledging that climate change benefits certain corporations, it certainly harms the profit prospects of another line of business: insurance companies.

With climate change worsening, there would be more floods and snow – put simply, extreme weather would become the norm resulting in natural disasters, which would in turn damage properties like houses and cars. Insurance companies would have to pay heavily to cover people's increasing losses. Something would have to change.

There is a possibility that a clash of these titans, insurance and oil, could occur in the future as climate change worsens.

Usually in the United States, in a conflict between people's free speech and corporations' free speech – who are legally recognized as people by the U.S. Supreme Court in a mind boggling interpretation of the 13th amendment of the Constitution – the people lose to the U.S. corporate entities. But in the conflict between two, U.S. people with deep pockets and politicians in those pockets, one wonders who will actually emerge victorious – the ones providing fuel for our cars or the ones providing us insurance should anything happen to that car?

The financial industry is very strong. It gained its strength after the fall of the Bretton Woods system and the deregulation of the capital in the early 1970s. It has come up with creative ways ever since, resulting in maximizing profits, lowering wages, the undermining of the labor unions and so forth. All for the creation of a rich class and a poor class, and pretty much nothing in between. The dwindling classes are the result of crony capitalism.

In my humble opinion, an alliance could emerge between the insurance industry and oil corporations where climate change would be recognized as a threat. This language would be sweeter to the climate change advocates.

However, under the surface this alliance would pave the way for support of politicians who would enable legislation where climate change related disasters causing damage to property wouldn't need to be covered by insurance companies, and the oil industry would be able to continue drilling without being pecked by climate change advocates. Basically, the two partners would scratch each other's backs.

Strategy of win-win crimes

Statements including the word "threat" would be used to the advantage of these corporations in that the language would, on the surface, cater to climate change advocates while in the fine print help insurance companies deny all claims of damage caused by related disasters, such as tsunamis wiping out towns, tornadoes, unusual snow, devastating floods, and so forth, simply because they would be listed as "threats."

The quid pro quo for oil companies would help divorce oil drilling from climate change. Since it is a threat, insurance companies cannot be held responsible for the damage caused by it, but it is not a threat that should stop oil drilling. That would be a win-win for U.S. corporations considered "people" and lose-lose for the people with real flesh and blood. Grass will get hurt not because of the elephants fighting but rather by their alliance.

The merger of corporations is checked and countered in the United States through antitrust laws; however, the merger of interests of corporations belonging to different industries would not register on the radar of the legislation.

Unfortunately, people may not be able to rely on courts to protect their rights in this situation. The moral of the story is going to be as follows: Don't do anything about climate change and don't cover people for the disasters resulting from climate change.

* Pakistan-based political analyst

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