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Controversial Ethics: Chiquita Brand Security and Other Grey Areas

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Aristophanes Posted: Sun, May 5 2013 2:03 PM

So, apparently Chiquita is still under investigation for paying "guerilla groups" about 120 million dollars for "extortion" and "security."

They are being accused of paying terrorists for farm security in Colombia although there is some confusion (on my part or theirs; i can't tell) as to whether they were being extorted.  Both the US and Colombian governments appear to be trying to prosecute them (The US gave up already).

is it okay for a private corporation to pay guerillas, who may also be drug smugglers, for security if the government says that they are terrorists?  Seems to me that if the guerillas were protecting the farms from bandits that it should be okay, but it does mean that they were funding drug traffickers.

 

 

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If I pay the neighbor to paint my house and then the neighbor uses the money that I paid him to go buy a gun which he then uses to murder someone, am I funding a murderer?

 

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
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I mean, if you know that he is already killing people, then yes...

The documents seem to indicate that the management knew that they were giving them money and knew that they needed to keep it on the DL.

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Yes, but I think the more important matter is what people should do about you. The standard libertarian response would be that you are not legally culpable for your neighbor's actions, though depending on the circumstances, there could be a case against you as an accomplice.

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But they're not giving the money to the guerillas for the purpose of terrorism. They're giving it to them in exchange for the proctection. So, it's incorrect or, at least, misleading to say that they are funding terrorism.

 

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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No, it isn't.  That is like saying, "when you buy things at Best buy you are giving them money for a CD not to pay their electric bills..."

Why do libertarians throw themselves at the feet of MNCs?  I'm just wonering, as per the OP, if a state-dissenting paramilitary or PMC can function as a security service.  It would be like GE paying the KKK for security.  And, in another scenario, if a MNC can deal with groups that state's deem to be terrorists, legally?

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What's the problem with drug smuggling first of all?

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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All of the killing and extortion that goes on to make it happen?

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Aristophanes:
That is like saying, "when you buy things at Best buy you are giving them money for a CD not to pay their electric bills..."

Exactly.

Why do libertarians throw themselves at the feet of MNCs?

Idk. Who did that?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Aristophanes:
That is like saying, "when you buy things at Best buy you are giving them money for a CD not to pay their electric bills..."

Exactly.

You're not getting what I am saying...

Why do libertarians throw themselves at the feet of MNCs?

Idk. Who did that?

Lots of libertarians.  'it's the free market, bro."

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Does the argument extend to, for example, someone buying a banana from Chiquita. Is that person funding terrorism by buying the banana?

What about someone who buys butter from a grocery store that buys bananas from Chiquita?

 

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Does the argument extend to, for example, someone buying a banana from Chiquita. Is that person funding terrorism by buying the banana?

Does Chiquita use the money from the sale of the banana to pay off guerilla drug cartel members?

This is why it is crucial that people know what MNCs and governments are up to.  Do people fund wars when they pay their taxes?  Of course.  It is not really different from the US government funding drug cartels inadvertently during Iran Contra (or in the 50s,60s, and 70s).

Also, this is where "intentions" come into play.  the buyer of the banana might not know or intend to fund terrorists, but they, in fact, are.  Chiquita is intentionally spending money on it, on the other hand.

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Aristophanes:

Does the argument extend to, for example, someone buying a banana from Chiquita. Is that person funding terrorism by buying the banana?

Does Chiquita use the money from the sale of the banana to pay off guerilla drug cartel members?

Do the guerillas use the money that it receives from Chiquita to pay for drug cartel operations?

Do people fund wars when they pay their taxes?

Then all taxpayers are guilty of murdering children Afghanistan. Likewise, when person gives up his wallet so to not be killed by a thief is funding the theif's future robberies. Now what?

Also, this is where "intentions" come into play.  the buyer of the banana might not know or intend to fund terrorists, but they, in fact, are. 
The assumption in my question was that they did know.

This is why it is crucial that people know what MNCs and governments are up to.

Ok, so does your argument to everyone or only MNCs and governments?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
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Do the guerillas use the money that it receives from Chiquita to pay for drug cartel operations?

Obviously.  The guerillas are an arm of the drug cartels from what it looks.

hen all taxpayers are guilty of murdering children Afghanistan.

yup.

EDIT:  Don't try and tell me that tax payments are duress either.  The law doesn't define taxes that way.

Likewise, when person gives up his wallet so to not be killed by a thief is funding the theif's future robberies. Now what?

This is an example of duress and/or coercion so it need not be counted.

Ok, so does your argument to everyone or only MNCs and governments?

It applies to everyone.  But, not with the mischaracterization that you are offering as a "counterexample."

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Aristophanes:

Do the guerillas use the money that it receives from Chiquita to pay for drug cartel operations?

Obviously.  The guerillas are an arm of the drug cartels from what it looks.

hen all taxpayers are guilty of murdering children Afghanistan.

yup.

Then pretty much anyone who has engaged in voluntary trade is guilty of funding everything.

Likewise, when person gives up his wallet so to not be killed by a thief is funding the theif's future robberies. Now what?

This is an example of duress and/or coercion so it need not be counted.

And so is paying taxes; so, it need not be counted as well.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Aristophanes:
EDIT:  Don't try and tell me that tax payments are duress either.
Too late :P

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Aristophanes:

Do the guerillas use the money that it receives from Chiquita to pay for drug cartel operations?

Obviously.  The guerillas are an arm of the drug cartels from what it looks.

hen all taxpayers are guilty of murdering children Afghanistan.

yup.

Then pretty much anyone who has engaged in voluntary trade is guilty of funding everything.

yeah...that is how economics works...

I thought my original question was more nuanced than this.

May private industry transact with known terrorist groups or unrecognized paramilitary forces for legitimate purposes?

Taxes aren't duress.  That is why they are called  "taxes" and not "theft."  (we need not discuss this here; most of us are familiar with that principle from Rothbard et al)

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Aristophanes:

Aristophanes:

Do the guerillas use the money that it receives from Chiquita to pay for drug cartel operations?

Obviously.  The guerillas are an arm of the drug cartels from what it looks.

hen all taxpayers are guilty of murdering children Afghanistan.

yup.

Then pretty much anyone who has engaged in voluntary trade is guilty of funding everything.

yeah...that is how economics works...

Huh? Anyway, I'm simply looking at the implications of your argument.

I thought my original question was more nuanced than this.

It's not; it's unclear. That's why I said, "But they're not giving the money to the guerillas for the purpose of terrorism. They're giving it to them in exchange for the proctection. So, it's incorrect or, at least, misleading to say that they are funding terrorism."

May private industry transact with known terrorist groups or unrecognized paramilitary forces for legitimate purposes?
Not according to the law.

Taxes aren't duress.  That is why they are called  "taxes" and not "theft."  (we need not discuss this here; most of us are familiar with that principle from Rothbard et al)
You can call anything by any name, but won't doesn't change its nature.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Maybe there can be a meaningful distinction between directly funding something versus indirectly funding something?

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"But they're not giving the money to the guerillas for the purpose of terrorism. They're giving it to them in exchange for the proctection. So, it's incorrect or, at least, misleading to say that they are funding terrorism."

It is not misleading.  I'm trying to find the fold.  If a MNC pays a guerilla network for protection and the guerillas use the money to traffick drugs, then the corporation is funding drugs, inadvertently.  but, is this wrong? is this something that can be washed away as "an accident?"; especially if the MNC knows what the guerillas do with the money.

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gotlucky:

Maybe there can be a meaningful distinction between directly funding something versus indirectly funding something?

 

I think so and it's what I've been trying to get at. However, Aristo makes no distinction and this leads to the implications such as the one in which us taxpayers are murderers of children in Afghanistan.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Aristophanes:
If a MNC pays a guerilla network for protection and the guerillas use the money to traffick drugs, then the corporation is funding drugs, inadvertently.

Yes, inadvertnetly, indirectly, etc.

but, is this wrong? is this something that can be washed away as "an accident?"; especially if the MNC knows what the guerillas do with the money.
Wait, what's wrong with drug trafficking?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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what's wrong with drug trafficking?

oh my god.  didn't I already mention the violence that it causes?

And I specified in an earlier post that Chiquita knew knew knew knew
knew
knewknewknewknew
knewknewknewknewknew

that they were giving money to a violent drug cartel when they hired their guns.

So, it was inadvertent., but not unintentional.

I ma not making "no distinction," my distinction is on intentions.  As I mentioned earlier...

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Aristophanes:

what's wrong with drug trafficking?

[...] the violence that it causes?

Woah woah woah, who's to blame for that? Chiquita buying protection services or the government that outlaw illicit drugs?

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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It doesn't matter for this line of inquiry.

Maybe I should have said: 'the violence that it is inherent in illegal market operations'.  Besides, Chiquita is only one example (drugs).  Think of Dyncorp helping mafias sell women in Kosovo or Afghanistan (or is the government to blame for outlawing slavery?).

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Aristophanes:
 (or is the government to blame for outlawing slavery?).
Is the government to blame for outlawing rape? **rolls eyes**

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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**rolls eyes**

Yeah, because you realize that your trying to change the subject backfired.

EDIT: Is it okay for Dyncorp to contract mafias in Afghanistan for security purposes if they know the mafias are also selling women and children?  Or is the motivation for violence in those markets (slavery and forced child labor) due to the government outlawing those practices?

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I'm replying to stuff that you wrote.

 

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Aristophanes:
EDIT: Is it okay for Dyncorp to contract mafias in Afghanistan for security purposes if they know the mafias are also selling women and children? 

Are you asking me to answer from an ancap POV or a from POV based on my personal values?

Or is the motivation for violence in those markets (slavery and forced child labor) due to the government outlawing those practices?

Slavery, forced child labor, and rape violate other peoples rights per se. Making, distributing, and selling drugs do not. However, if the making, distribution, and selling of drugs occured on someone's property and on which those actions were not allowed, then, those would not be ok from neither an ancap POV nor a from POV based on my personal values.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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I don't necessarily care what perspectives they come from.  I was just wondering if people care that seemingly innocuous MNCs knowingly participate in things like that.

Dyncorp, Bechtel, halliburton, JP Morgan, or Chiquita...is it okay for them to transact with illigitimate enterprises for legitimate purposes?

Also, getting people addicted to drugs (by giving it to them for free initially for instance) is a form of corecion.  This is why my focus was meant to be on intentions.  If people interact with terror groups (secessionists; IRA), mafias (in Eastern Europe), or drug cartels (Chiquita) and know that they participate in illegal things on top of their legal doings, is it wrong?

Would it be wrong, for instance, if the Los Zetas started a shipping or construction company to contract with them even though they use the legitimate business as a front for their money laundering or drug smuggling and the contractor knows it?

Further, is it wrong for the M-N-Banks to accept large cash deposits of money that was made from forced labor or drug smuggling?  Obviously, it is against the law, but ... new thought ... do libertarians care?  it seems to me that to say "yes, they can without violating any moral principles" would be to stand up for the MNCs that profit from these things (Wells Fargo comes to mind).  to say "no, they cannot" is to side with the state.

I'm familiar with ancap principles (I started there five or six years ago; I've just grown up a little) so is the MNC in violation and consequently the state in the right?  Are both wrong?  Are both right (somehow)?

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Who can show damage as a result of the Chiquita corp. hiring guerillas for whatever service? And to whom would the grievance be made?

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huh?  anyone that the guerillas have wronged?

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http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2011/05/30/chiquita-sued-allegedly-funding-colombian-paramilitary-groups/

Hypotheticals aside, in this particular case, it looks like Chiquita did more than conduct business but provided weapons and munitions to a group, even after said group killed numerous of their employees.

As for the vague fairy tale of 'they just hired them for security' well, it at least appears that isn't what happened. Especially if this is also true:

http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/06/01/chiquita-the-guns-and-drugs-and-union-killing-cnn-didnt-mention/

Or you can get into how asinine this collectivizing is. Someone paid these guys. Someone else pulled triggers. Someone else took the money. Someone else helped smuggle the drugs. No government is willing to go after them, so, they just start shotgunning the issue until it goes away. Throw blankets and see if you can't trap something big enough to take the fall.

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All of the killing and extortion that goes on to make it happen?

Why not just say that then? 
 

Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...

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