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Boy, That Didn't Take Long

10 Feb 2009

To the people who saw my mention of ExxonMobil at Dear Author and felt compelled to send me e-mails to accuse me of being (1) a greedy capitalist and (2) immoral for supporting a company responsible for the Valdez spill, let’s get a few things straight:

  • I am a capitalist.  The word capitalist, however, is not synonymous with corrupt.  The word corrupt is used to described people who are corrupt.  Also, capitalism is not synonymous with selfishness and greed.  I say this because I just returned from an awards banquet to thank donors for giving $49 million to a single charity last year, despite the downturn in the economy.  And while there are those who choose not to donate to charity for whatever reason, they do their part for society by paying their taxes.
  • The Valdez spill is not the largest or most damaging oil spill in Earth’s history.  It is simply the most famous because of the media coverage.  Also, you are not going to be able to gloat over a future similar spill because XOM sold off that part of their business after the Valdez spill.  Today, third parties own and operate the tankers used to ship XOM product.
  • Refusing to buy gasoline from Exxon stations does not mean you are “[refusing] to give a single cent to THAT company.”  XOM is a fully integrated petroleum company.  They have upstream, downstream, and chemicals divisions.  Gasoline doesn’t even rate its own line in the annual report since it’s only a fraction of the downstream operations.  To not add to XOM’s coffers, not buying gas from Exxon stations is just a start.  Give up the car.  Give up the house.  Give up the toys.  Give up the clothes.  Give up the food in stores.  Basically, pull a Tarzan and give up living in society.  Move to the Amazon jungle.  But walk because petroleum products are used to manufacture and fuel airplanes.  And the tarmac is an oil-based product.  And just to be mean, I’ll add this: petroleum companies regularly purchase product from each other during shortages to fulfill contracts.  So, the gasoline at the Shell stations might really be XOM gasoline.

If you made it this far in the post, I promise to never bring up this topic again.

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