I read the feature "1000 Seek Harvard Boycott of Nestle's" in the Nov. 24 issue of The Harvard Crimson with some degree of amazement: a greater degree of sophistication in judgment would have been expected from a feature appearing in a Harvard publication.
Before anyone acts on this "propaganda," THINK--you should ask yourself the following questions: 1) a. How great a fraction of funds and support donated to the organizations that want you to boycott the corporation (in this case Nestle) actually goes to alleviate the alleged problems? b. How great a fraction to pay the organizers' salaries and to defray costs of printed material and the like? The answers are a. 0%, b. 100%.
2) What happens if a vacuum is created (be it in air or on a market place)? Might it not tend to fill up with new products where others were pulled off the market? This is happening today in some developing countries, e.g., Sudan, where Japanese companies are having a field day in markets vacated by Nestle and the American formula companies. Incidentally, according to local information from throughout the developing world Nestle as well as the large U.S. formula companies have ceased all promotion, their infant products in many countires are no longer available in grocery stores, Nestle et al. are complying with it, so why continue the boycott of Nestle? If you must boycott somebody, then in all fairness boycott the administration responsible for the vote! (Don't misunderstand me, I am not advocating anarchy, only urging people to think before they act. Besides, whereas all other countries in the world based their votes on an ethical basis, the U.S. vote was based on a legalistic basis; since U.S. Law is based on Common Law a vote violating anti-trust laws could set a dangerous precedent.)
3) Who suffers most in a boycott, the corporation (which is big and powerful enough to take its business elsewhere) or the local corporation employees? In other words, how many American children would go deprived because their parents lost their job were the boycott to be 100% successful?
4) Anyway, who are we Americans to tell other peoples what they may or may not have? Wouldn't you just love for e.g. an Indian, or an Albanian, to tell Americans they can't have Coca-Cola and cigarettes, because they cannot use them safely?
These are only a few points to ponder in a very complicated case. I am sure you can think of more questions to ask. Question not only authority, but whether those who claim to be authorities are truly and genuinely informed, or if they are just well-meaning people taken in by propaganda one way or the other. Jane Kjems
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