Corporate cowardice

Nestlé makes sure the Islamofascists boycotting Danish products know that Nestlé is Swiss. Feh.

The weekend Financial Times (behind a paywall; just below the fold on page two of the December 4/5 edition) reports that Nestlé has been swift to advise the Islamic bigots boycotting Danish products that Nestlé is Swiss, not Danish. A rumor had spread in Saudi Arabia that some Nestlé products were of Danish origin. “We took the trouble to rectify the situation &#8212 to give the correct information to consumers,” said a Nestlé spokescoward.

The implication, of course, is that Danish origin is something to be ashamed of. And the result is to help focus the boycott on the Danes, and thus to increase the pressure on the Danish government to back off from its support of a free press.

No doubt, if this had been the 1930s, Nestlé would have been equally swift to assure the Nazis that its products were of strictly Aryan origin.

I’m still waiting for Professor Bainbridge to tell us whether he’s prepared to stand behind his theory that the sole duty of corporate managers is to make money for the shareholders when it comes to cases such as this one. Assume, for the moment, what is probably correct: that Nestlé had good reason to think that selling out the Danes would help its bottom line. Is that really any excuse?

In the meantime, I’m told that Scharffen Berger makes wonderful cocoa.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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