Re: Re[2]: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Technotranscendence (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 00:46:21 MDT

RE: Re[2]: POL: Reaction to Microsoft RulingOn Tuesday, April 11, 2000 1:56
AM Jonathan Reeves wrote:
Billy Brown wrote:
>> If a company want to oppress me, the worst thing it can do is refuse to
>> me something I want. If a government wants to oppress me, the worst thing
>> can do is send men with guns to my house to murder me. That's a big
>> difference.
>In the USA perhaps, what about the oil company that torched a load of
>in Africa that were protesting against some development (cant remember the
>exact details),

I believe that was Chevron in Nigeria. WBAI did an expose on it.

>or the slash and burn farming cartels in south america ?

I'm unfamiliar with that example, though Pacific Fruit had a long history of
paramilitary operations in Latin America.

>examples of companies 'oppressing' people by sending men with guns to
>murder the opposition.

This does happen, to be sure, but the cases where it does happen are
peripheral and unlikely to happen in a developed nation especially if the
citizenry is well armed.

>Government/Business - only difference is the amount of power they can

True, though I would say that to the degree a business uses force, it is no
longer acting as a business on a free market, but is becoming the equivalent
of a government -- whether it be small time like a local mob or big time
like bankrolling a coup or a revolution.

But I think what Billy Brown was getting at was something like this.
Yesterday, I visited a friend of mine in Brooklyn. We went out to eat and
checked several restaurants before settling on a Thai place over on Park
Slope. We even went into two before settling on that one. At no time did
anyone chase us down the street or threaten our very lives. You just don't
have that kind of exit power with governments. (Yeah, sure, one can move to
Canada if one doesn't like the US, but it's just not the same.)

Also, government is defined basically by its ability to use force,
specifically in a given area. A government that does not use force is like
a tiger without teeth and claws. (This is ignoring, for the moment, when
and how a government should use force -- or whether there should be
governments at all.) When Chevron helped to attack villagers in Nigeria, it
was acting as a government would. It was able to do this because, for the
most part, the Nigerian government is too busy trying to consolidate its
power (parts of the country want to secede) and it's extremely corrupt. (If
Chervon had tried the same tactics in, say, Japan or Iran, in contradiction
to the governments there, what do you think would've happened? If Chevron
didn't get the help of another government, chances are it would lose and
lose face.)

Daniel Ust

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