Don’t you just love “company towns”? I live in one. It’s an education. Such things don’t exist in the UK. Try to get anything done here that is against the interests of the “Company”, and you may as well splatter your brains against the proverbial brick wall.
In my case the company is ADM. The Archer Daniel Midland Corporation.
They’re in corn, don’t ya know?
They own everyone in authority in this town; the police chief, the Mayor, the education committees – everyone. I’ve given up writing to the mayor on local issues. He doesn’t even bother to reply. He doesn’t have to. He’s not appointed by the townsfolk, he’s “voted” in by ADM.
ADM owns every farmer within two hundred miles, one way or another. Right now, ADM’s main concern is bio-fuel. Farmers around here are jumping for joy, wringing their hands with delight as ADM promises them profits like they’ve never known, just for growing the crop they’ve always grown for ADM – corn. To hell that the price is going through the roof. Who cares if the cost of every food commodity triples overnight due to shortages of corn on world markets? The farmers and ADM are making big bucks – and who gives a tinker’s cuss for anyone else?
Today, while driving home a bus-load of hyperactive kids, I’m stuck at a railroad crossing for fifteen minutes while a mile-long train full of chemicals for ADM shunts and grunts its way mind-bogglingly slowly across the main town thoroughfare and into ADM’s extensive railroad yard. The whole town grinds to a halt while ADM is serviced.
Does anyone complain? Not on your life! Whats the point? Who’ll listen? ADM? Do me a favor!
The stench from this bastion of company debasedness assails nostrils throughout the town. The fall-out from its ethylene products is reported to take the paint off cars. Is there any control? Yes, of course there is, by ADM, or others under – shall we say – their control?
Of course, the townspeople are up in arms, aren’t they? They live their lives under the stench and pollution from the “company” factories. Their cars are the ones ruined by the fall-out. Their lives are rendered poorer by the invasion of the “company”.
No, they don’t complain.
In the forward to Kurt Eichenwald’s book, “The Informant”, a true tale of the alleged double-dealings of ADM, is the folowing passage:
“……a pungent aroma hung in the air. Newcomers to town usually found the smell disagreeable. But for Decatur residents, the ever-present odor produced by drying corn feed and toasting soymeal at the powerful Archer Daniels Midland Company had become part of the landscape, no different than the trees or the sky. Locals often joked it was just the smell of money being made…..”
“Just the smell of money being made……..”
These days it’s more than drying corn feed and toasting soymeal. The residents still don’t complain. It’s almost as though they’re proud to be a small part of the fortune amassed by the Andreas family who, until recently, owned ADM. Never mind that it’s their lives that were made poorer by the demands of “the company”; never mind that the Andreas family grew mind-bogglingly wealthy by devastating the environment of its workers.
Hell, this is a “company town” – and we’re proud of it!
Filed under: God loves capitalism