Excerpt from Business As Unusual by Anita Roddick, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Business As Unusual

The Triumph of Anita Roddick

by Anita Roddick

Business As Unusual by Anita Roddick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2001, 287 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2002, 287 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt




Beggar My Neighbour

In a global market, where multinational corporations compete on price and cost cutting, the cheapest places on earth for natural resources or labour are precisely those nations which place no value on democracy, human rights or environmental protection.

Take Burma for example, ruled by one of the most repressive and barbaric regimes anywhere in the world - which have ignored free democratic elections and imprisoned the victor, the heroic Aung San Suu Kyi. Yet what is a human rights disaster for its citizens is regarded as an investment opportunity by the big energy corporations. The Unocal Corporation of California and the French oil company Total have formed a joint venture with the military dictators of Burma to extract gas from under the sea, some 40 miles off the coast. To make sure the pipeline keeps pumping revenue back into Burma for its cash-starved regime, the military has destroyed entire villages, seized property and attacked, raped and tortured innocent villagers, many of whom have been forced to labour as slaves on the pipeline. Of course that may not be what the oil companies want, but they need to understand the consequences of doing business with a dictatorship.



Unfree Trade

I isn't just oil, and it's not just Burma. The principle of 'free' trade applies to every other product or commodity, no matter how low wages are driven, how spoiled the environment, and how crushed the rights of workers. There is always some place in the world a little worse off, a little riper for exploitation.

The 'free market' conjures up fuzzy notions of free and equal individuals exchanging hand-made shoes for homegrown geese in a village square. This bucolic picture carries with it a notion that a job is just an individual contract between equals - but it hasn't been like that. Colin Hines from the International Forum on Globalisation reports that since NAFTA, around 2,000 factories have moved from the USA to operate in the border region in Mexico, virtually unhindered by lax environmental and labour regulations. NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement - or, as some campaigners put it, Not Another Fucking Trade Association - and it has relaxed regulations to a dangerous extent. The environmental repercussions of more than 300 companies opening up works on the Mexican border with Texas are appalling. As many as 400,000 people live there without sufficient housing, running water, sewerage, pavements or electricity. An open canal carries 55 million gallons of raw sewage for 17 miles, alongside the Rio Grande, polluting drinking water wells and the river itself.

Free trade is one of the greatest deceptions. Ask yourself whether the market is really free, and free for whom or for what. The truth is that free trade was originally about the freedom of communities to trade equally with each other. It was never intended to be what it is today - a licence for the big, the powerful and the rich to ride roughshod over people who have no choice about whether they trade or not.



Blind World Government

The problem is that we have a world trading system that is blind to this kind of injustice, presided over by the World Trade Organisation, the ubiquitous WTO. As the powers of governments shrink, this system acts as our new unelected, uncontrollable world government. The WTO, and the group of unelected trade officials who run it, is now effectively the world's highest court, with the right to overturn local laws or safety regulations wherever they say it interferes with free trade.

The world trading system is world government by default and it is also blind government. It looks at the bottom line, but can't see anything else. It can recognise profits and losses, but it deliberately turns its face away from human rights, child labour, or keeping the environment viable for future generations. It is government without a heart, and without a heart you find the creativity of the human spirit starts to dwindle too.

Copyright Anita Roddick 2000. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice


Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    No One Is Coming to Save Us
    by Stephanie Powell Watts

    One of Entertainment Weekly, Nylon and Elle's most anticipated books of 2017.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

When men are not regretting that life is so short, they are doing something to kill time.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -