Debunking Patagonia's feel-good, climate-change-fight story

Originally published at: Debunking Patagonia's feel-good, climate-change-fight story | Boing Boing


I get the whole tax avoidance thing, but isn’t the coercion also written into tax law that got him to donate the company to a non-profit, anyway? Why wouldn’t he want to avoid taxes? This seems like a short-sighted take. Why target the capitalist? Target the politicians and the tax code.


They are the same thing.


The voting public doesn’t choose the candidates. They don’t select the issues that will be run on, or in this day and age, run against. They don’t get an accurate profile of the candidates’ history or motivations. They have no say in the tax code either. All of that is controlled by the capitalists who finance the election process.


Isn’t it therefore more convoluted to attack the whole thing, one and the same? Not that we can’t hold two thoughts in our minds at the same time. While the tax code is pretty much written by corporatists, won’t it be more fruitful to focus on the process of underwriting the whole fiasco and get McCain -Feingold rescinded? No other legislation has so blurred the lines between corporate responsibility and corruption.


I’d also advocate for election reform laws like ranked-choice voting and various other transparency regulations. There really is just so much that can change, but only if we choose to use our voice rather than throw up our hands and blame those who make decisions based on the law.

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That is fantastic.


McCain-Feingold restricted corporate influence on elections, but was ruled unconstitutional by the horrid Citizen’s United decision. What are arguing should be rescinded?


Sorry, yes. You are right. Meant to say Citizen United. Thanks for the help, friend.


Philanthropy may exist to make the rich look good, but I wouldn’t discount what their money can buy. Maybe a world where we don’t need rich people to help fund things like conservation and building hospitals and libraries because we are either post-scarcity or fully enlightened is possible, but for now whatever can be scraped from their bank accounts might as well be used for the public good.
Do we revile Dolly Parton, who spends her money on giving books to kids? I’m sure her accountants get her every available tax break.


“Man shouts at clouds for YouTube hits.”

Hot take with little appreciation for the nuance in this situation - which is vastly over-complex for a screamer to properly explain on YouTube. But he’ll get his views!

Nothing is perfect. This is imperfect with some long lasting benefit.
(Now let the raging counter comments commence…)

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We could also tax the everloving F out of them, and use that money for the public good?


Thanks to Adam for his efforts, again.

Angry Mad GIF


Yep. Adam is going to the source. The capitalists own the politicians. He says it several times, where the billionaires form non-profits, but as 501(c)4, which means they can purchase politicians with their own “non-profit”.

This topic makes me think that we as a species must really like the ‘winner take all’ approach to things. In the 80s, we got to vote to allow a state lottery where I lived. I thought, yeah, it will helps schools, and it would be cool if there were lots of smallish winners, like in the 4 to 6 digit range. But nope. You get a few onesy-twosy winners, but the money really goes to the ultra hundreds of millions prize. WTF? Why would I play that stupid game with the chances of winning approaching so close to zero, I gotta do high school calculus?

Of course we do. As do all others. Its right there in the term “self-replicating DNA”. I would go so far as to say at its core, life is “winner take all”.

Heck, if you think cynically enough, even altruism is frequently selfish at its core. (Helping everyone helps my genes have a chance to survive; no one wins if everyone dies.)


goes into the general fund, so if the lotteries revenues fund a tax cut for millionaires, that works too.

I don’t get why you call this POV cynical.
Also, be careful, as genetics and inheritance can get very, very complicated.

Also: No one wins if everyone dies would be a good motto for the Assassin’s guild of Anhk-Morpork.

the trouble with youtube rants is that it takes 30 minutes to read a 5 minute script. Show transcript can be pretty useful-- though it would be nice if it had punctuation.

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Because I think most people don’t like to face the reality that the cells in their body really only want to make more of themselves, and at a very low level, everything they do is about that, or a side-effect of that.

Indeed, and it all gets really complicated when you slather on expression, and the fact that our minds tend to work at a level fairly highly extrapolated from the “baser” actions of the self-sustaining chemical reaction that they’re made of.


“He could have just given the company to his kids. They could have kept running the company according to daddy-dearest’s wishes”

Um, that’s not how kids work.

And his kids are probably middle-aged. So even if they are decent people, that only pushes off the risk by 20 years or so.

ETA: Ok, next point is that the family keeps the voting shares. Yeah, that means that you still have to worry about kids and grandkids being evil, but with 98% of the shares NOT owned by them, they won’t profit all that much from being evil.
If they do decide to put profit over principle, the non-profit will get a lot of that money, so that mitigates the damage somewhat.

Next point, the donation of 3 billion dollars worth of shares wasn’t that charitable because it saved the family 1.2 billion dollars of taxes. Ok… But paying the taxes would have left them with 1.8 billion more than they have now, right? I feel like a scheming billionaire could find a less expensive way of avoiding taxes, one that leaves them with MORE money than they’d have had if they had just paid the taxes rather than less.

I keep watching…

EDIT 2: The Holdfast Collective doesn’t even have a website! Oh-noes!!! How shady!
Ok, they are set up in a way that allows them to make political contributions and lobby, rather than just do charitable work. Given how much money is spent on influencing policy against environmental protections, having 100 million bucks a year to influence politicians towards environmental protection seems not like a bad thing. Political solutions are more systemic than a hundred million in charity work anyway.

I keep watching.

EDIT 3: because of this donation, his kids will have massive political influence for the rest of their lives. Whereas, if they had inherited the three billion dollar company, they’d be nobodies whom no one would give the time of day?

I keep watching?

EDIT 4: “Look, I’ll grant Chouinard’s good intentions here.”
Ok, but that’s basically the thing. If the intentions are good, this was a good act.
If you want to make a positive impact on the world, and your choices are to spend 100 million dollars a year, indefinitely, lobbying for good causes, OR increase the U.S. federal revenues for one single year by 0.003%, which would you do?

That .003% comes from a 1,2000,000,000 addition to the US’ 40,000,000,000,000 annual revenues.

I guess I keep watching…

EDIT 5: Ok, I don’t need to keep watching, because it looks like his argument is turning into something along the lines of “While Chouinard is doing something good here, the system is bad.”
Fair enough.
But if you are a billionaire operating in a bad system, what is your best course of action?
Change the system? Cool, how do you do that?
You could use the money your company earns to lobby for the changes that you believe in!

EDIT 6: I kept watching.
Wal-Mart is bad.

I mean, I get his big point: we shouldn’t have billionaires. But I went in expecting to learn that this was an actively bad act by Chouinard, rather than that is was a good act that is still part of a bad system.

I have stopped watching at 12:35 (out of 20 something), so maybe there is more to it.