10. Don’t count on other people to look after your interest
In Papua New Guinea, a large gold and copper mine, OK Tedi dumped 80,000 tons of contaminated material daily into the Ok Tedi and Fly rivers as it extracted over $6 billion worth of ore. Once the mine was exhausted, the Australian majority ownership, after admitting that it has vastly underestimated the environmental impact, just walked away, turning over its share to the government, leaving he government already strapped for funds, with the cleanup costs.
We are not far from this. Obviously in the 1950s to the 1970s, somebody burn and cut our trees, and for the next 20 or 30 years, we have to suffer all the consequences , while they have probably made their pile.
We are a more compassionate world than before. More than ever, more companies are conscious about their corporate social responsibilities. They care about the work environment, and they care about being green. Many of them take special care to contribute back to society.
However, that still does not mean that corporations are there not to make money. No company is going to volunteer to pay you a higher price if they can haggle from you a lower price. A company still have the obligation to its shareholders, and if the managers want to keep their job, it is their responsibility to get optimized profits, and get the best possible deal for their company.
Ditto with American politicians. After all, they were elected and owe their obligations to the American people, and not to us.
After all is said and done, we cannot point fingers to a company or country and say – “ why did you not do more or pay us enough?” When we work with them, or even with ‘generous’ countries like the United States, it is still up to us to insure that we are getting our rightful share.