Latest Developments, August 30

In the latest news and analysis…

No to war
The New York Times reports that a parliamentary vote has prompted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to say Britain will not take part in any military strikes on Syria:

“It was a stunning defeat for a government that had seemed days away from joining the United States and France in a short, punitive cruise-missile attack on the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad for reportedly using chemical weapons against civilians.
Thursday evening’s vote was nonbinding, but in a short statement to Parliament afterward, Mr. Cameron said that he respected the will of Parliament and that it was clear to him that the British people did not want to see military action over Syria. ‘I get it,’ he said.
The government motion was defeated 285 to 272.”

Problems of conscience
Although the US and France are still keen to attack Syria, Slate’s Matthew Yglesias argues there are better ways for Americans to reduce suffering in the world:

“Historically, military intervention on the side of rebel groups has increased the pace of civilian deaths, not decreased it. More to the point, if you put arbitrary framing issues aside, the United States stands by and does nothing in the face of human tragedy all the time. Millions of desperate people in Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, and elsewhere would love to escape dire poverty by moving to the United States to work, and we don’t let them. Nobody in Washington is doing anything about the ongoing civil war in Congo.

Another way of looking at it—the bleeding-heart, correct way—is that Americans ought to care more about the lives of people outside our borders. That we ought to be more open to foreign immigration and foreign trade to help bolster foreign economies. That when the Office of Management and Budget does cost-benefit analysis for regulatory measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions, it ought to consider the impact on foreigners.”

Black budget
The Washington Post has published bits and pieces of the US National Intelligence Program’s secret $52.6 billion budget, revealing among other things that the Obama administration has embraced “offensive cyber operations”:

“The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program details the successes, failures and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, which has 107,035 employees.

The Post is withholding some information after consultation with U.S. officials who expressed concerns about the risk to intelligence sources and methods. Sensitive details are so pervasive in the documents that The Post is publishing only summary tables and charts online.”

UN inaction
Amnesty International argues the UN “singularly failed” to investigate murders and abductions while it was in charge of Kosovo after NATO’s 1999 bombing campaign:

“ ‘[The UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)]’s failure to investigate what constituted a widespread, as well as a systematic, attack on a civilian population and, potentially, crimes against humanity, has contributed to the climate of impunity prevailing in Kosovo,’ said Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s expert on Kosovo.
‘There is no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. They must be investigated and the families of the abducted and murdered must receive redress. The UN should not be allowed to shirk its responsibility any longer.’ ”

Legal troubles
Buzzfeed reports that US financial giant JPMorgan Chase faces at least 43 “material” lawsuits:

“Of course, the so-called ‘London Whale’ case that resulted in $6 billion in losses for the bank is getting most of the attention, with news this week that the financial powerhouse may settle with U.S. and UK regulators for about $600 million. And there’s also last week’s headline grabbing story that there is an inquiry into potential bribery charges stemming from hiring practices in its Chinese offices.
But other allegations against the bank span from fraud to breaching both its contracts and its fiduciary duty, among many other charges. According to SEC documents, JPMorgan estimates its combined legal losses could be as much as $6.8 billion — possibly more if unforeseen damages are brought this year. What’s more, the firm’s annual legal costs over the last two years have been about $4.9 billion each year.”

Secular demands
The Globe and Mail reports on the controversy over Quebec’s yet-to-be-unveiled “charter of values”:

“The measures being considered reportedly include a prohition on state employees from wearing religious articles in schools, daycares, hospitals and other state workplaces.
On Wednesday, [Federal Liberal leader Justin] Trudeau paid tribute to Martin Luther King on the 50th anniversary of his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, saying that Dr. King ‘refused segregation … denied discrimination … refused to allow [people] to believe that they were second-class citizens.’
Continuing his speech before a crowd of about 1,500 supporters, Mr. Trudeau said, ‘We sadly see that even today, as we speak, for example of this idea of a Charter of Quebec Values, there are still those who believe that we have to choose between our religion and our Quebec identity, that there are people who are forced by the Quebec State to make irresponsible and inconceivable choices.’ ”

Cosmopolitan vision
Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech”, the Center for Global Development’s Owen Barder lays out his own global dream:

“I have a dream that we will one day take seriously the idea that we are all created equal, not just within countries but everywhere; and that we will recognize that it is as intolerable that a person’s future should be mainly determined by the place of his or her birth as it is intolerable that people’s future should be determined by the colour of his or her skin.”

CSR misunderstood
Mark Hodge of the Global Business Initiative for Human Rights warns against corporate social responsibility strategies that treat poor people “as recipients of charity and not as citizens with rights”:

“[India’s] Companies Bill also seems to convey the inexcusable message that companies can somehow offset negative impacts in one area of their work with corporate philanthropy in another. An example many in India point to is Vedanta’s ‘Creating Happiness’ campaign promoting the company’s philanthropic contributions, at the exact time it is embroiled in accusations of human rights and environmental abuses in India and internationally. The Indian ministry of environment withdrew permission for Vedanta to continue the project due to some of these concerns.”

Latest Developments, June 17

In the latest news and analysis…

War plans
The Telegraph reports on increasing American willingness to get involved in Syria’s civil war, while some US allies remain skeptical:

Reports from The Times on Friday night claimed that 300 US Marines have already been deployed to northern Jordan, along with a Patriot anti-aircraft missile, ahead of plans to arm the rebels.

Sweden opposed the US move to provide greater military support. Carl Bildt, the foreign minister, warned that the US decision could set off an arms race with Russia, which is already considering whether to supply its advanced S300 air defence systems. ‘I don’t think the way forward is to get an arms race going in Syria,’ he said, ‘There’s a risk that that would undermine the conditions for a political process.’

The option of enforcing a limited no-fly zone to protect rebel training bases in Jordan, is also being considered, according to US officials. However, the French government indicated that it would be almost impossible to secure the necessary international agreements.

Diplomatic spying
The Guardian reports that British intelligence agencies monitored the computer and phone communications of foreign officials during G20 summit meetings in London in 2009:

“The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by [Government Communications Headquarters] and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

The documents suggest that the operation was sanctioned in principle at a senior level in the government of the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, and that intelligence, including briefings for visiting delegates, was passed to British ministers.”

UK tax havens
Christian Aid and the IF campaign have released a new report underlining the importance of UK-controlled territories to a global financial system that “encourages crime, corruption and aggressive tax avoidance” in poor countries:

“The report reveals that the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos – all British Overseas Territories – together with the Crown Dependencies of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey are now the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment in developing countries.”

Making amends
The University of London’s Lutz Oette highlights the importance of the UK’s recent agreement to compensate Kenyan victims of colonial-era torture but calls on the government, which refused to apologize, to make “much more fundamental changes”:

“Given the historical context, this reparation is a small price to pay for a country that greatly benefited from colonialism. Rather than oppose or undermine such claims, the UK – both the government and the public at large – should welcome these developments. They provide an overdue opportunity to confront Britain’s past, to live up to the rule of law and notions of justice, and to show that it respects victims and their suffering. This includes addressing lingering colonial power imbalances.

The UK government should therefore take immediate steps to make publicly available all records about abuses committed in all former British territories and to cooperate with any interested parties, including survivors’ organisations. Where sufficient evidence is available, the UK should provide adequate reparation to the victims, which should also comprise a full apology.”

Presidential plea
Guinean President Alpha Condé calls on rich countries to do their bit in the global fight against corruption:

“What we need now is the support of developed countries in building a global business climate that permits those who play by the rules to prosper and locks out those who do not. Too many of the world’s finance centres enable the predators who rely on offshore corporate vehicles to mask their identities; loop their finances through offshore jurisdictions; and use prestigious law firms, accountants, financial advisers and public relations firms to give their destructive behaviour a false veneer of respectability.”

Cosmetic CSR
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that an Edo state government official has said that so-called corporate social responsibility projects by oil companies often do little or no good:

“[Orobosa Omo-Ojo, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Oil and Gas] said such actions by oil firms amounted to insulting the sensibilities of their host communities.
‘Most of the CSR projects by oil companies have not amounted to anything tangible to the host communities.
‘Apart from digging one bore-hole here, a three-classroom block there and a cottage hospital somewhere, the host communities have never benefited enough from oil companies.
‘Yet, they extract crude oil from the host communities for over 15 to 20 years and when the oil wells dry up, they move on leaving the community more impoverished than they met them.’ ”

What would Hippocrates do?
The Overseas Development Institute’s Yurendra Basnett calls on G8 countries to prioritize the duty to do no harm when drawing up international trade agreements:

“In the murky and complex areas of standards and technical requirements, there is a thin line between expanding and restricting trade. Most developing countries lacking capacities are likely to find themselves facing costs not benefits. The World Trade Organization ministerial conference follows the G8 later this year and needs to consider updating the rules that govern such agreements. Perhaps the notion that some benefit – but that others are not left worse-off – needs to be established as a minimum when advanced economies enter into such agreements, with the burden of proof placed on members of the exclusive arrangement. At the very least we need to keep an eye on how this plays out for developing economies that are not a part of these agreements.”

First UN war
The Economist wonders whether the United Nations really knows what it is getting itself into with its first ever combat mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

“This is the first time that the UN will send its own troops into battle. In the past the Security Council has authorised the use of ‘all necessary force’ but has delegated the fighting to posses from willing nations. In the Korean war the Americans were in command. In Afghanistan and Libya NATO took charge. In Congo, however, the UN itself will be responsible for artillery fire, helicopter gunships—and the inevitable casualties. Should the UN really be doing this?”

Latest Developments, November 6

In the latest news and analysis…

Multinational taxes
Reuters reports that the British and German governments are pushing fellow G20 members to ensure multinational corporations pay their “fair share” of taxes:

“[British Finance Minister George Osborne and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble] said international tax standards have struggled to keep up with changes in global business practices and that some companies have been able to shift taxation of their profits away from where they are generated.

Opportunities abound for corporations to cut tax costs, usually in legal ways, through careful management of cross-border flows of goods, services and capital among subsidiaries in different countries. International standards urge multinationals to price such dealings at near market levels.
But by under-charging or over-charging one unit in a transaction with another unit, for instance, profits can be shifted from a high-tax jurisdiction to a low-tax one. This is especially true for companies with valuable intellectual capital that can easily be moved between jurisdictions.”

African unit
Defense News reports that a unit of the US Army, the first of its regionally aligned forces brigades, is scheduled to participate in 96 “activities” in 34 African countries over a six-month period next year:

“[Col. Kevin] Marcus said the program isn’t about how long a unit is in Africa, ‘it’s about the regularity of contact and then the ability to link events together over time, so that we’ve got that sustained engagement.’
He declined to go into specifics when asked about hot spots along the Mediterranean, the Sahel region, and places such as Mali.
‘It’s not about one country or region,’ Marcus said. ‘It’s about doing what we can do to protect U.S. interests in building the capacity for African militaries to protect their own interests, and in turn cooperate with ours. It’s not a function of geography, it’s a function of interests.’ ”

Business impacts
The UN News Centre reports that a body of experts has called on governments and corporations to do more to tackle the “adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activities”:

“The affected groups and communities referred to by the [UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises] include children, older persons, indigenous women and men, workers with precarious employment conditions, migrant workers, journalists, human rights defenders, community activists and leaders who protest against or raise allegations concerning the impact of business activities, and marginalized rural and urban communities, as well as minorities that are subject to discrimination and marginalization.”

Foxconn surge
Reuters reports that a controversial Apple supplier’s fortunes are looking up despite allegations of workers’ rights abuses:

“Shares of Foxconn International Holdings Ltd (FIH), the world’s biggest contract maker of cellphones, surged as much as 35 percent after Citigroup upgraded the stock to a ‘buy’ and said it expected the firm to start assembling iPhones this year.

‘Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Xiaomi, Baidu, Tencent are all trying to launch smartphones and none has in-house manufacturing,’ Citigroup said, raising its target price on FIH to HK$5.80 and its earnings estimate for 2013 by 134 percent.
Shares of FIH, which assembles handsets for the likes of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, jumped as high as HK$3.69 in their biggest one-day gain ever.”

Imperial development
The University of London’s Simon Reid-Henry explores the “post-development thinking” of Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar:

“It was a critique of the whole rotten edifice of western ideas that supported development, which Escobar regarded as a contradiction in terms and a sham. For Escobar, development amounted to little more than the west’s convenient ‘discovery’ of poverty in the third world for the purposes of reasserting its moral and cultural superiority in supposedly post-colonial times.
Escobar felt development was, unavoidably, both an ideological export (something Walt Rostow would willingly have admitted) and a simultaneous act of cultural imperialism. With its highly technocratic language and forthright deployment of norms and value judgements, it was also a form of cultural imperialism that poor countries had little means of declining politely.

Through Foucault, Escobar came to the conclusion that development planning was not only a problem to the extent that it failed; it was a problem even when it succeeded, because it so strongly set the terms for how people in poor countries could live. Told how to behave, poor people were made subjects of development as much as they were subjects of their own government.”

British invasions
The Telegraph reports on a new book that claims Britain has, at one time or another, invaded all but 22 of the world’s countries:

“Only a comparatively small proportion of the total in [Stuart] Laycock’s list of invaded states actually formed an official part of the empire.
The remainder have been included because the British were found to have achieved some sort of military presence in the territory – however transitory – either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment.
Incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers have also been included, provided they were operating with the approval of their government.”

Nuclear arms
The Toledo International Center for Peace’s Shlomo Ben-Ami argues that the precise number of nuclear weapons in the world is perhaps less significant than their distribution for global peace efforts:

“Although Russia and the US possess roughly 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads, their nuclear capabilities are less of a threat than is the danger of proliferation. It is this fear of a fast-growing number of nuclear-armed states, not the fine balancing of the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, that the case for Global Zero must address. Indeed, addressing the underlying security concerns that fuel nuclear competition in regional trouble spots is more important to the credibility of Global Zero’s goal of “a world without nuclear weapons” than is encouraging exemplary behavior by the two major nuclear powers.
After all, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Israel might not be particularly impressed by a reduction in the US and Russian nuclear-weapons stockpiles from gross overkill to merely mild overkill.”

Blogging for change
Global Voices reports on a campaign by Mauritanian bloggers against foreign mining companies “accused of looting Mauritania’s mineral wealth”:

“The participating posts in the campaign focused on the detection of the foreign companies’ violations of environmental laws, and destruction of the surrounding areas.
Moreover, they unveiled the low percentage of profit given by these companies to Mauritania, that reach at the best 4 per cent of the price of mined gold and copper. They also highlighted the discrimination policies pursued by the foreign companies against their Mauritanian employees.”

Latest Developments, June 6

In the latest news and analysis…

Asymmetric agreement
Inter Press Service reports that not everyone thinks Central America has done well for itself in the recently negotiated free trade agreement with the European Union:

“ ‘Central America obtained meagre access quotas for agricultural products such as sugar, textiles, beef and rice,’ whereas the EU ‘gained full opening of Central American markets for a wide range of key agricultural and industrial goods, such as dairy products, vehicles, medicines and machinery,’ [the Mesoamerican Initiative on Trade, Integration and Sustainable Development (CID)] says in a communiqué.
Moreover, on intellectual property, CID questions the major concessions granted to the EU in terms of protected geographical designations, patents and copyright: in the area of services, the bloc was granted complete access in the fields of finance, transport and energy, among others.
Meanwhile, ‘Central America has yielded ground in terms of workers’ rights and environmental protection compared with other treaties,’ since ‘the agreement with the EU does not provide for penalties for those who infringe these rights for the sake of commercial interests,’ says CID.”

Genetically modified lawsuit
Agence France-Presse reports on the suit brought by 5 million Brazilian farmers against US agribusiness giant Monsanto over crop royalties:

“ ‘Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,’ said lawyer Jane Berwanger.
In April, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Giovanni Conti, ruled in favor of the producers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion.
Monsanto appealed and a federal court is to rule on the case by 2014.
In the meantime, the US company said it was still being paid crop royalties.”

Democracy, Walmart-style
The Associated Press reports that despite allegations of bribery in Mexico and “unprecedented dissent against key executives,” all of Walmart’s board members were re-elected:

“With descendants of Walmart’s founder owning about 50 percent of Walmart’s shares, activist shareholders had little chance of voting out the board members. But the numbers, particularly when excluding the Walton family and other insiders, show a more staggering loss of confidence.

The vote came after a story by The New York Times published in April said the world’s largest retailer allegedly failed to notify law enforcement after finding evidence that officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in Mexico to get speedier building permits and other favors. [CEO Mike] Duke was head of Walmart’s international business at the time of the probe in 2005, and [Lee] Scott was CEO. It’s not clear what board members like Walton knew.”

Drone warning
The Guardian reports that a former top CIA official has warned that America’s  indiscriminate drone policy is dangerous to the US as well as innocent bystanders:

“ ‘We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan,’ [Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006] said.

‘I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen,’ Grenier said.”

War on Mexicans
SF Weekly’s Michael Lacey writes about the potential consequences of the US Supreme Court’s expected ruling in favour of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070, which “forces all police officers to ascertain immigration status whenever a cop interacts with a brown person”:

“Like the pre-Civil War era of free and slave states, America is about to divide along color lines.
Six states already have a version of Arizona’s bill and are awaiting the ruling for implementation. In all, 16 states filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to support S.B. 1070.
Where once we depended upon the federal government to protect minorities from firehoses and segregated schoolhouses named Booker T. Washington or George Washington Carver, this month the Supreme Court is poised to tell us how far local cops can go to detain brown people.”

Transparent motives
Swiss National Councillor Isabelle Chevalley asks why Australian mining companies go to Africa when their continent still has large uranium reserves:

“The director of Australian mining company Paladin Energy answered, saying: ‘Australians and Canadians have become too aware of uranium mining’s problems. Now we have to go to Africa.’ At least the answer is clear.
Let’s open our eyes and demand transparency on the origin of the uranium we use in our power plants!” (Translated from the French.)

A little respect
Kwani? founding editor Binyavanga Wainaina takes issue with the West’s continued condescension towards Africa:

“If your spouse has arrived in Kenya and does not have a job, soon he or she will be fully networked and earning lots of pounds/euros/dollars, making sure the babies of Africa are safe, making sure the animals of Africa are kept safely away from Africans, making sure the African woman is kept well-shielded from the African man, making sure the genitals of Africa are swabbed, rubbered and raised into a place called awareness. Because you are a good person, who believes in multiculturalism, and that politicians are evil.”

CSR substance and spin
Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan writes on the difficulty of separating fact from fiction when virtually every large company claims to treat corporate social responsibility as a “core” concern:

“Frustrated that I can’t get beyond the online PR spin, I’ve taken to asking them questions like ‘when push-comes-to-shove, and it’s costly to be responsible, who wins the fight, your buying manager or your corporate responsibility team?’ The answer, unfortunately, is almost always ‘buying’.

The side of the business that is concerned with product quality is usually the first side to buy into the business case to act responsibly. This is because long-term supplier relationships are good for quality and usually good for development. But the performance of the buyers, who hold real sway in these companies, is measured on profit margin, so they need to get the lowest price and usually drive who the company does business with.”

Latest Developments, May 14

In the latest news and analysis…

Arming Bahrain
Reuters reports that the US has decided to resume “some military sales” to Bahrain, despite heavy criticism of the Gulf state’s human rights record.
“The State Department did not give a total value for the items being released but emphasized that the equipment being approved was “not used for crowd control” as the majority Shi’ite community continues to protest against the Sunni royal family following a crackdown last year.
U.S. officials said among the sales now allowed to go forward would be harbor security vessels and upgrades to turbo-fan engines used in F-16 fighter aircraft as well as legislation which could pave the way for a future sale of a naval frigate.
Items still on hold, besides the missiles and the Humvees, include teargas, teargas launchers and stun grenades.”

Trayvon targets
Gawker reports that someone selling gun range targets designed to look like murdered Florida teen Trayvon Martin said the market response was “overwhelming” and the item sold out in two days.
“The Orlando-based [Local 6] news station says it spotted an ad for the targets — since removed — on a ‘popular firearms auction website.’ They feature a black hoodie similar to the one worn by Martin on the night he was shot by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, along with a drawing of a Skittles bag and a can of iced tea.”

Hurting one’s cause
Reuters reports that JPMorgan Chase’s $2 billion in losses have given new impetus to the push for greater regulation of the US banking sector.
“Analysts said it is not yet clear if the trades would have violated the forthcoming Volcker rule reform.
[CEO Jamie] Dimon has been critical of the Volcker rule, a provision in Dodd-Frank that will ban banks from proprietary trading, or trades that are made solely for their own profit.

On Friday, Democratic senators Carl Levin and Jeff Merkley, who wrote the legislative language on the Volcker rule, said the outstanding proposal is flawed because it would give banks the latitude to hedge against portfolio risk as opposed to individual positions.
‘That’s a big enough loophole that a Mack truck could drive right through it,’ Levin said during a conference call.”

Worse than useless
The Overseas Development Institute’s Jonathan Glennie gives his take on what “all the talk of corporate social responsibility” is really worth when it comes to large-scale mining operations.
“The era of voluntary guidelines has not only been ineffective, it has been worse than useless. Although they may have led to incremental improvements in some areas, their real purpose has been to undermine attempts to develop effective legal sanction, both national and international, which is the only thing that will ultimately keep the destructive instincts of mega-wealthy companies at bay.”

New France?
Senegalese singer Baaba Maal assesses the significance of François Hollande’s election as new French president.
“I’m Senegalese and France is very connected to my country. France needs to open its eyes to the potential of its former colonies and to realise that these relationships have changed. People want to collaborate but with mutual respect. Whether that’s a respect for our culture, for our governments or for our business potential. It’s about sitting around the same table and talking together as equals. Of course our relationship hasn’t always been easy but we are in it together.”

Taliban poetry
The New York Times’ C.J. Chivers reviews a new collection of poetry written by Afghan insurgents.
“The Afghan war, of course, is a far broader phenomenon than its cemeteries, rifle skirmishes, house searches, airstrikes and bombs. The anthology covers wider themes, too, giving voice to many common Afghan complaints, including that the influx of Western cash has been corrupting to those who have received it and alienating to most everyone else.
I am astonished at this time of the dollars;
In poverty, I lost friendship.

Capitalist values
Essayist William Deresiewicz writes on the fundamental nature of capitalism and the policy implications of popular sentiment toward the wealthy.
“There are ethical corporations, yes, and ethical businesspeople, but ethics in capitalism is purely optional, purely extrinsic. To expect morality in the market is to commit a category error. Capitalist values are antithetical to Christian ones. (How the loudest Christians in our public life can also be the most bellicose proponents of an unbridled free market is a matter for their own consciences.) Capitalist values are also antithetical to democratic ones. Like Christian ethics, the principles of republican government require us to consider the interests of others. Capitalism, which entails the single-minded pursuit of profit, would have us believe that it’s every man for himself.”