Fighting fire with...Coke?
November 28, 2004 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Max Keiser wants to take down Coca-Cola. He's the founder of KarmaBanQue,a boycott portal that has information for activists, and the occasional scary Photoshop job.
posted by greatgefilte (20 comments total)
There's a poll on the right:
If you were stranded on a desert island & could bring only 1 World Leader with you, who would it be?

If we all vote for Bush, and he wins...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:56 PM on November 28, 2004

Good luck with that. Coca-Cola could stab Max Keiser in the neck on the 50 yard line during the Superbowl and not be prosecuted for it.

If this makes even a ripple (and he can't possibly have enough money to do it), he's going to have a "tragic accident" and no amount of suspicious activity will make major news outlets or the general population question it. He knows this is ridiculous. He just wants the press to garner support for something less fantastic, and manipulation is supposed to be the tool of the bad guys.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:08 PM on November 28, 2004

If you were stranded on a desert island & could bring only 1 World Leader with you, who would it be?

I voted for Castro, just because it's a desert island, so he'd probably know what to do.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:09 PM on November 28, 2004

"Coca-Cola could stab Max Keiser in the neck on the 50 yard line during the Superbowl and not be prosecuted for it."

Coca-Cola is sugar water. I fail to see how sugar water can stab anyone in the neck.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:17 PM on November 28, 2004

The pediatrician in Atlanta used to prescribe Coca-Cola for me and my brother sometimes. "Jes give'm a lil Co-Coler and put him to bed" he'd say, for minor ailments. Can you imagine prescribing Coke to the toddler of a millennium Mom in this day and age? She would have your license.
posted by crunchburger at 4:25 PM on November 28, 2004

Soda companies are under assault in the US. Coke represents America and American image overseas is at all time lows. It might pay to short Coke.
posted by stbalbach at 4:33 PM on November 28, 2004

At my campus (NYU), people just recently got Coke products banned, outraged over Columbian atrocities. Pretty stupid, in my opinion - try as I might, I'm unable to care too much about drinking or not drinking Coke, or using any other product whose production involves low pay, injury, death, whatever. I know this will get me terribly called out (if anyone cares to do it), but I simply don't care. I can't summon the liberal vitriol required to do it. Furthermore, I'm selfconscious enough without having to turn every dollar spent into a quest for moral ascendency, or moral contentment, or whatever.

Now let's all settle down and do some lines of this perfectly good Columbia shit I got. It's Fair Trade, I promise.
posted by NoamChomskyStoleMyFace at 4:59 PM on November 28, 2004

It seems that fighting an unfeeling international corporation with repackaged anti-imperialist rhetoric and somewhat dubious market behavior may not be the right way to go about this.

Isn't responsible consumption a better way to go about this? You don't need the hateful anti-Americanism and don't need to engage in hedge fund trading. Just buy things from people you disagree with.

Mayor C: stabbing him in the neck? Admittedly, third world franchises don't play very nice, but it's a lot easier than that to wreck a hedge fund. All Coke would have to do is dump a day's earnings into their stock, and everyone who shorted has to pay up. All a corporation has to do is make a credible threat, and it makes systematic betting against a company very risky.

China did that to a hedge fund a while back, as I recall.
posted by allan at 5:42 PM on November 28, 2004

Uhh, I'm guessing that would be *Colombian* atrocities you're speaking of there, unless you do perhaps mean the state capital of South Carolina. Perhaps Mr Chomsky stole your atlas too?

That said ... I too feel unable to muster sufficient liberal vitriol to care too too much about most of the "bad companies" listed on KaRmabAnQuE (tired of cutesy capitalizations) - see, for example, this "heinous sin" committed by Starbucks - IANAL, but SBUX's response is totally in line with my (admittedly limited) understanding of how trademark protection works. If you don't vigorously protect your trademark against any and all infringements, no matter how minor, you lose your trademark status. I mean, come on, Starbucks seems to go out of its way to promote fair trade in coffee, they buy from small independent growers, etc. And, dammit, they serve, for the most part, an excellent and extremely consistent product, no matter where you go. I know it's become fashionable to denigrate Starbucks and to talk up "small, independent" coffee houses but in all honesty I have been disappointed by the coffee served in private establishments too many times.

posted by kcds at 5:46 PM on November 28, 2004

Mr Chomsky steals all kinds of things, including a spell check that can read my intentions accurately. One of you mefi people get to work on that.
posted by NoamChomskyStoleMyFace at 7:14 PM on November 28, 2004

crunchburger, my mom used to give us a bit of cola syrup (not coke) when we had an upset stomach. It used to be a fairly common home remedy.

Flat ginger ale and saltines were also common remedies in my house growing up. We rarely went to doctors and almost never took any prescribed drugs. Course that was the olden days ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 7:47 PM on November 28, 2004

This is a great idea. Liberal activism has traditionally (and quite accurately) been portrayed as a bunch of potheads waving signs around--a whole lot of bluster and maybe even "direct action," but practically no results. As Keiser's interview notes, shorting companies you don't like is a way to directly affect a company AND make money in the process.

posted by LimePi at 7:51 PM on November 28, 2004

So.... OK first post, then?
posted by greatgefilte at 7:56 PM on November 28, 2004

I've seen worse.
posted by mojohand at 8:29 PM on November 28, 2004

Meanwhile in the Middle East...
posted by Jimbob at 9:13 PM on November 28, 2004

The interview that LimePi links two shows that they are trying to conflate two seperate issues.

First, the coordination consumer boycotts. Sounds like a great idea to me, but rather than targetting the activist core, it seems like a clearinghouse of corporate citizenship info would have a better chance of moving things mainstream. (I.e. "I want to buy jeans at the mall, which major label is the least bad with respect to these issues"). But I like the idea of sustainability they build in.

Then they throw in this hedge fund stuff:
When a company gets listed for a boycott at Karmabanque, the object is to turn it into what Stacy calls "Hedge Fund bait." Hedge Funds will "sell short" a stock if they believe its share price may be heading south.

... If a hedge fund has reliable information that a boycott is going to hurt a company's sales, and knows that the stock value of the company is vulnerable to retail loss, it will take that bet...

If enough funds are betting that a stock is going down in value, shareholders and investment analysts begin to bail out of their long positions on the stock.
Why focus on hedge funds? If *any* investor believes that a boycott *might* hurt a company, this will hurt the stock because it changes the risk profile. That's a major tool in any boycott--you don't need people to sell short, you just need them to sell.

Using stock price as a metric is a good idea, but asking your average investor to short a huge corporation based on the beginnings of boycott is dangerous. If the day's news breaks wrong (good for the company) then my short contract will cost me a lot of money.

He seems to think that hedge funds will pick up on this scheme, which will work because people will shift their karmabanque investments, which they will because the market will punish the targets of boycotts, which it will because the hedge funds will bet with the boycotters. Seems a little circular.
posted by allan at 9:50 PM on November 28, 2004

Both the goals and the intended means of achieving them are dubious, but let's not focus on them to the exclusion of more important issues, such as why the "Q" is capitalized.
posted by kindall at 10:17 PM on November 28, 2004

Karmbanque sells short and then Coca-Cola announces a special one time dividend. heh
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:56 PM on November 28, 2004

I want to join this boycott, but only with respect to Vanilla Coke, which is just nasty. Can I do that? Alternatively, I might be willing to join any boycott whose purpose is to force those stupid Adrian Brody commercials off the air.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:52 AM on November 29, 2004

I looked on these sites for quite a while without finding a better reason than "it's an American corporation" to boycott Coca-Cola, so mark me confused. I did see Blockbuster as the target of another boycott, though, and I'll gladly join that, because their founder's ancestors killed St. Bonifacius
posted by dagnyscott at 12:32 PM on December 1, 2004

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