As society has advanced throughout the years, so to have corporations. What starts out as a small shop or service that people want to purchase grows into big names we recognize today, with the right financial minds of course. What has resulted are thousands of companies surrounding us today, giving us whatever we may want at a convenient location near us. All we have to do is drive there.
But have you ever stopped to think how big corporations have gotten where they are today? The world of business is cutthroat, and there’s no doubt there would be some compromises and sacrifices made to get an edge in the market. Do you ever think how Wal-Mart has become one of the most successful retailers in history, or how Coca-Cola has been able to create such a popular drink? It all hones down to what lengths people are willing to go just to put some extra cash in their pockets.
Living in the world today, none of us are strangers to how money can corrupt an individual, and corporations are no different- in fact they are arguably worse. Over the years, companies have done heinous and terrible acts just to increase their overall sales. What I’ve found about some corporations I go to definitely shocked me, and it will probably do the same to you as well. Consider this your disclaimer.
Here are 15 evil acts committed by big corporations just to make an extra buck.
15. Bayer – HIV Contamination
This is another one of those horrible acts that resulted in thousands of deaths. If you don’t know, Bayer is the maker of Aspirin, a commonly used over-the-counter drug. But in 1984, they found out that their Aspirin was somehow infecting people with HIV, a very deadly disease. Immediately, they stopped selling them in the U.S., but not before shipping the rest of the drugs to other countries where more people were infected. What makes it even worse is that Bayer continued to make the HIV-infected drug to sell to other countries because it was cheaper to make than the safe drug.
14. Chiquita – Causing a Civil War
Chiquita bananas are everywhere. I dare you to go to a grocery store and try to not find one. Unfortunately for Guatemala, those bananas are a result of all Hell breaking loose. Chiquita practically owns the land in Guatemala to grow their fruit, but in 1954, the president at the time wanted to make some new working conditions for Chiquita that would have them fork over 40% of their land (they weren’t treating their employees very well). Instead of responding peacefully, Chiquita seized and overthrew the power of the government, plunging Guatemala into a brutal civil war that resulted in the deaths of 250,000.
13. IBM – The Death Calculator
IBM is known for its intelligence when it comes to the computing and calculating world. Everyone could see that they would definitely leave their mark in the many years to come. However, nobody expected how they would do that. IBM ended up creating a machine for the Nazis during World War II that kept track of concentration camps by tracking a person’s religion, location, and how they were executed. This machine was appropriately named “The Death Calculator”. Can you imagine that this Death Calculator was actually part of what inspired computers?
12. GM – Faulty Ignition Switches
Because I know people that drive cars from GM, this one hits a little close to home. Before 2014, there were many reports of people having issues with their GM cars which included the engine shutting off while driving. Eventually this led to the death of an otherwise upstanding driver. Further investigation from engineers determined that it was the result of the ignition switches being of poor quality from the date of purchase. As a result, in February of 2014, GM had to recall over 800,000 vehicles that all had that very same problem. Coincidence? I think not.
11. Peanut Corporation – Salmonella Outbreak
Between the years 2008 and 2009, 714 reported deaths occurred (half of them children) from what seemed to be an unknown cause. The CDC then revealed that it was part of food poisoning. After following many trails and seeing other people drop as well, it was discovered that the disease was Salmonella which came from peanut products distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America. Despite denying the claims against them, the Peanut Corporation had to undergo the largest food recall in United States history, as well as shutting down their production until it was deemed safe to eat their food again.
10. Nestle – Forcing Their Milk On Young Mothers
When we think of Nestle, we most often think of that cute little rabbit that sits on the box of the chocolate milk powder. I remember begging my mom every time I saw the commercials if she would ever get me any (like a good parent, she didn’t give in to my demands). Unfortunately, there were some mothers that weren’t given a choice with Nestle. They had nurses go overseas to Third World countries and distribute their infant milk to young mothers just long enough that their milk would dry up. Then the mother had no choice but to rely on Nestle’s milk, which was too expensive for most mothers to afford. What’s even worse is that chances of death for infants were 5-10 times higher if they drank the Nestle milk.
9. Listerine – Selling Cigarettes and Mouthwash
Halitosis is the word used to describe bad breath, and it’s been going on since the beginning of time, but it wasn’t until Listerine began treating it like a terrible tragedy that it got the attention of the public. Conveniently, Listerine also wanted to sell a cure for Halitosis in their mouthwash, which isn’t that bad in hindsight. However, the kicker is that Listerine was also selling cigarettes which just so happens to be one of the leading causes of bad breath. That would be like working out at a McDonald’s restaurant. All they want is your money and nothing else.
8. Starbucks – Forcing Poverty
Starbucks has some of the best coffee you’ll ever taste, but it’s not without a cost (and I’m not talking their expensive prices either). Much of their coffee comes from farmers in Ethiopia, where it sells for about $26 per pound. Unfortunately, for every pound that is sold, only one dollar of it goes to the actual farmers. In 2006 the government of Ethiopia tried to fight back for farmers’ rights by trademarking regional coffees. However Starbucks, with the help of the National Coffee Association, blocked the trademark, forcing Ethiopian farmers to continuously work for very little compensation.
7. Google – Blacklisting CNET Reporters
One of the great things about Google is that on top of searching anything you want, you will be presented with the facts as they are- well almost. A reporter for CNET, Elinor Mills, was conducting a story on Google’s CEO. She did all of her research and successfully published the article. However, moments later, a message from Google appeared stating that the article was a security threat. Then, all of CNET’s reporters were being blacklisted for an entire year. Seems like even web browsers have stuff they don’t want you to find.
6. IKEA – Furniture Built By Slaves
They make some great furniture which can really bring to life the aesthetic state of your home. Heck, I’ve even got a snazzy backpack from them that I use when the occasion calls for it. However, just four years ago, the company issued an apology for something they committed in the 70s. Apparently, slave labor was responsible for their products. So if you’ve got anything from IKEA that came from the 70s, now you know how it was made.
5. Coca-Cola – Water Shortage
Coke is easily one of the best tasting drinks in existence, but do you know what it takes to make their soda. Well in order to make one liter of soda, you first need three liters of water. Because of this, the soda company has been directly linked to water shortages in countries where there aren’t many resources. It has even gotten so bad that farmers in Rajasthan are unable to properly irrigate their crops because there isn’t enough water; Coca-Cola is using it all for their drinks.
4. Kids Wish Network – Lying About Their Cause
The motto for the Kids Wish Network is “where dreams really do come true!” Yeah maybe for the people in charge of the company and not the kids you claim to be helping. The company has made approximately $127 million, all by charity mind you. How much do you think actually goes to the children in need? Well let’s do some math. $109.8 million goes to the telemarketers, $18.1 million goes to the workers, leaving a small $3.2 million for the ill and dying children. That’s just a minimal 2.5% of their money that they actually used for their supposed cause.
3. Disney – Forcing Paintings To Be Washed
Daycare centers are some of the most bright, colorful, and seemingly happy places you’ll ever step foot into. Cute paintings grace the walls, and many times, you would expect some of Disney’s characters to be on them, right? Apparently, Disney didn’t. In 1989 the Big Mouse forced three daycare centers to wash away paintings they had of Mickey and the gang. Universal Studios then came out and told the daycares they could use their own characters, but not because they cared. They only wanted to get some publicity against Disney.
2. Smithfield Foods – Animal Cruelty and Pollution
If PETA reads this article, I think I’ll get an award. Smithfield Foods sells food (duh), and they seem to be pretty good at it. They run a pig slaughter house which is fine on its own because the meat has to come from somewhere. Well because they have thousands of pigs at a time, here’s where the problem occurs. Not only are they injected with a concoction of multiple chemicals and hormones, but the waste the pigs produce is deposited in a holding pond that is so toxic that reportedly, if you fall in, you’re dead before anybody can save you. In order to get rid of some of the waste, they spray into the air to become another person’s problem. This has resulted in breathing problems for people living in the vicinity.
1. Volkswagen – Slave Labor, Making Bombs, and Supplying the Nazis
We’ve got a three for one here. I personally, will never look at a Bug the same way again. Volkswagen was founded around the time Germany began World War II. Volkswagen had its hand in the war by supplying the Nazi forces with the Kubelwagen and Schwimmwagen. On top of that, they were the ones who made the V-1 bomb used in air combat. And the icing on the cake is that of all the workers who made these products for the Nazis, 80% of them were slaves from concentration camps. But before you start hating on the Nazis for sending people to be slaves, the slaves were actually sent at the request of Volkswagen.