Is Coca-Cola Propping Up a Dictator?
After the drink company left South Africa during apartheid, it set up shop in neighboring Swaziland. But now its tax payments support the country's notorious dictator, Mswati III.
What's the Latest Development?
The Coca-Cola company is drawing criticism from human rights groups for its ties to Mswati III, the notorious dictator of Swaziland, a small landlocked country representing Africa's last absolute monarch. "The king has travelled to Coca-Cola's headquarters in Atlanta in the US, much to the disgust of Swazi political activists who blame him for human rights abuses and looting the nation's wealth." The co-ordinator of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign has called for Coca-Cola to pull out of the country immediately.
What's the Big Idea?
After leaving South Africa during apartheid, Coca-Cola established a factory in neighboring Swaziland but the drink company insists Mswati III does not own any part of its operations. But tax revenue received from the company is being siphoned by the monarch to consolidate power and quash political challengers. Some estimate that Coca-Cola accounts for 40 percent of Swaziland's gross domestic product. The company says it does not know how its tax payments are spent—perhaps it would prefer not to know.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.
- Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
- Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.