“Corporate social responsibility” doctrine says companies must act ethically and further the well-being of society – not merely seek to improve market shares and bottom lines.
But this raises an often overlooked question that all CSR advocates should ask:
Shouldn’t society demand that every corporation chartered under its aegis (for-profit and not-for-profit alike) will promote societal well-being? Shouldn’t charities, government agencies, legislatures and activist groups be held to the same CSR standards as profit-based industries?
By any rational standard, preventing dangerous diseases promotes societal well-being – and actions that perpetuate disease contravene basic CSR principles.
A century ago, Dr. William Gorgas eradicated yellow fever and dramatically reduced malaria in Panama. He eliminated or poured kerosene on standing water, to prevent malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes from laying eggs and larvae from developing; fumigated areas infested with adult mosquitoes; and used nets to isolate infected patients and prevent them from being bitten and spreading the disease.
But today malaria still infects 500 million people a year, leaving them unable to work for weeks, rendering many permanently brain-damaged, and killing over a million parents and children.
And yet, politicians, foundations, activists and bureaucrats continue to promote false solutions. If accepted CSR standards were applied to them, many would be bankrupt, ostracized or imprisoned.
The United Nations, Al Gore, Senator Barbara Boxer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and others claim malaria is spreading due to global warming. The UN even pays African officials to host conferences that promote this party line.
The assertion boosts their anti-hydrocarbon agendas. It also shifts the blame and limited resources away from real solutions to pricey, politically correct schemes that actually perpetuate disease and death.
Malaria was prevalent in Virginia, Ohio, California the Netherlands and beyond, until DDT helped eradicate it. The disease killed 600,000 people in Siberia during the 1920s and 1930s. Obviously malaria's presence and geographical distribution is not defined by temperature alone.
Be the first to read Paul Driessen's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.