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General News · 19th December 2012
Gabriel Dinim
A small island community in BC fights for proper management of it's forest by an American Asset Manager, a small community in Peru fights for proper management of it's watershed by a German investor, a small community in India fights for proper management of it's marshes by a European Agri-Concern...
Ever since shareholders started to earn an income from the discoveries of explorers,shareholders worked at insuring the legal protection of their right to economic protection. The shape of economic Colonialism has determined the type of legal protection it adopted.
Economic colonialism has been from the start a profoundly racist and elitist attitude that denied the humanities of local population in order to be sole beneficiaries of the wealth of those local populations. All along the wealth transfer chain from local extraction to fund deposit in shareholder accounts, the greatest protection has been offered to shareholders. The concept of the stakeholder as a human worthy of being an equal dialogue is still foreign to most. It is only recently that directors in a company have become liable for their actions; share holders will never be liable no matter how egregious the behavior of the company they have invested in. Most Stakeholders meeting with big money are lip service. Stakeholders rights have to be legislated because our culture and institutions barely registers the existence of the stakeholder.
We go with righteous anger to meetings with big money but still with our hat in hand.
Think of a world where stakeholders really had rights that could not be simply set aside by an injunction brought on by some big money from far away.
What is happening with IT/Brookfields Assets/China/.. is the perfect example of economic colonialism. We have but the right to hold the bag when our ecology is pillaged by people for whom we barely register and then only as an annoyance. It is stunning to be confronted by such willful ignorance when we mostly try to be honest and conscious with each other
I love David Shipway's article because for us that is really where it is happening, right around us.
To demand proper long term timber /forest ecology management on our island is a no brainer. Yet it is a painful and stressful fight each time because we are only stakeholders.
This is one more opportunity in the age old battle for the stakeholder to be recognized as a legitimate being equal in rights to the shareholder. Only then will we have the meaningful dialogue that will lead to sustainability.
And yes most of us, we are also shareholders.