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Big Greed


Fast forward.  The Chinese labor model has come to the United States.  Workers toil in dire conditions.  Each must sign a pledge that he or she will not commit suicide.  Still, suicide nets adorn factory facades.

Is this a possibility?  Think about it.

When someone asks what I do, I say, “Writer and peace activist.”  Recently, I’ve written two articles about the plight of Bradley Manning and another on ocean health.  My list of concerns is broad.

But, really, there is only one issue—Big Greed.

I am keyboarding, now, on an Apple MacBook Pro.  My iPhone is nearby.  Yes, I’m a hypocrite.  Because I know the conditions imposed on Chinese laborers at Apple factories, including the no-suicide oath and the nets to catch those who break their promise. Workers receive $8.00 for assembling an iPad that costs $500.00.  This is the standard that’s at our threshold.

Are you a hypocrite, too? Do you shop at Walmart, the metastatic mega-retailer that’s choked small stores? The Waltons, owners of this “growth,” refuse to pay employees a living wage, yet they are wealthier than the bottom 30% of the entire American population.  If you shop at Walmart, you could end up working there.  It might be the only job in town.

Big Greed is British Petroleum’s Gulf of Mexico oil-athon and use of Corexit. This crime provided an opportunity for the positioning of large corporate control after independent fisheries and other small businesses were eliminated.

Big Greed is deadly, life changing to most of our population.  It encompasses corporate lawlessness, corporate malfeasance, and corporate rule.

Wars are waged because multinational corporations require raw materials and oil.

Universal healthcare is not at the table because huge corporations are profiting from illness.

Small farmers are folding their acres because Monsanto wants to control our food supply, including the copyrighting of seeds.

Public schools are not educating because corporations require uninformed slaves.

Big Greed is manipulative.

Big Greed is clever.

Big Greed is especially ingenious in splintering those who slog for social and political causes, separating us as we advocate this or that, oppose this or that, protest, march, rally, rail, and rant.

The powerful want us to be fractured. They depend on it.  Each time articles are published about the health of the ocean and the air we breathe, the confinement of a hero whistleblower who exposes war crimes, or any cause that detracts from their insatiable avarice, the uber-wealthy fill their Champagne flutes and make merry.

We really don’t have time to say, “I work for peace.” Or, “I am devoted to civil rights.”  There is one issue, only.  It is Big Greed.

And we must unite to halt it.

The Occupy Movement mustn’t be suppressed or coopted.  It’s all we’ve got.  To construct a new system, a force whose strength incapacitates Big Greed, we need creative strategy.  And we must be brave.  If we can accomplish this, there will be no need to write articles on behalf of Bradley Manning. There will be no war.  No war crimes to expose.  It will be unnecessary to work for a healthy environment, peace, income equality, or civil rights.

Remember THE issue:  Big Greed.  If we fail to stop it, the Chinese labor model will be our future, enslaving our children in its tentacles.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  Reach her at

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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