THE CORPORATE PLANET: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization by Joshua Karliner

THE CORPORATE PLANET: Ecology and Politics in the Age of Globalization

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An overly shrill indictment of transnational corporations' leading role in environmental havoc--but an indictment that nonetheless finds its mark. Eco-activist Karliner sounds themes current since the 1970s: Big Capitalism pledges loyalty only to itself and not to any particular nation or region; the First World's large corporations view the rest of the planet as a source of raw materials and labor; the likes of Coca-Cola and Ford think only of the present bottom line, and not the long-term effects of their rush for profit. ""Increasingly flagless and stateless,"" Karliner charges, the transnational corporations ""weave global webs of production, commerce, culture and finance virtually unopposed."" In making his case that such unrestricted power is a bad thing, Karliner relies too heavily on rhetoric and abstraction; he writes purplishly, for instance, of ""our Blue Planet--home to untold cultural and biological diversity, to clear, raging rivers and majestic, ancient forests, to a plethora of civilizations, nations, tribes, and idiosyncratic communities."" More statistics and less gush would be welcome in such instances. When he gets down to cases, Karliner is much better. He examines, for example, the Chevron Corporation's quest for control over world oil supplies, a quest that involves the support of brutally oppressive regimes in places like Nigeria and Indonesia and the environmental degradation of huge districts around the world. Karliner is especially fuzzy when it comes to recommending what the average First World citizen can do to help in ""reclaiming the Blue Planet from the clutches of corporate globalization,"" a matter in which his book is singularly unhelpful. This is all too bad, because a glance at the headlines suggests that Karliner is probably right in broad outline. An argument better framed would have done his cause much greater service.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Sierra Club