We Puppets on a String?
“Puppets we are” is how Yoda of
“Star Wars" would say it.
Sunday morning, during a commercial break in “This Week with George
Stephanopoulos”, an oil company was running an advertisement, ostensibly
interviewing people on the street. An interviewee said that oil companies
had to diversify.
out. Oil companies had to diversify? Does this worry you?
you heard anybody say, “We need to break the bonds with which the oil
companies have tied us?” Oil companies controlled a large part of our
energy market in the second half of the twentieth century. They control a
large part now. They make very large profit. And now they want to
control—correction, they have begun to control—other parts of our energy
is wrong with this? Certainly, for them to control as much as they can is
in their and their shareholders’ interest. But their control is
in the public interest,
in the planet’s interest.
“bottom line” for oil companies and other traditional companies is profit.
There is something relatively new called the “triple bottom line”.
Community-oriented businesspeople define the triple bottom line as “people,
planet, and profit”, in descending order of priority. One might argue that
oil companies have a triple bottom line these days, but the order would be
different: profit first, nothing in second place, and people and planet
tied for third.
For us to accept that oil companies must diversify, as was said in the
advertisement last Sunday, is for us to resign ourselves to their control of
a larger share of the energy market. And with profit being the primary
consideration of oil companies, have we considered that their timetable for
alternative energy might be different from ours? That they might delay the
introduction of alternative energy until they took all the profit which they
could from oil, restrained only by a possible public revolt?
public should have a battle cry: “Energy independence!” And that
beyond the U.S. ending our dependence on foreign oil. Energy independence
means that each of us would do everything possible to break free of the
thrall in which the oil companies now hold us.
If you answer the multiple-choice questions
below and e-mail to
email@example.com with “Lesson answers” in the subject
field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in
community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization.
1. A statement that oil companies have to
(a) should be heeded by those companies.
(b) is subtle propaganda to keep us from
thinking about energy independence.
2. Energy independence can best be achieved
(a) by driving fuel-efficient vehicles.
(b) by supporting U.S. policy for energy independence.
(c) by personally reducing energy
(d) by implementing community programs
independent of involvement or funding by oil companies.
(e) by urgently requesting that managers of
pension funds invested in oil companies put people and planet before profit.
May 24, 2007