Sunday, May 8, 2011

Coca-Cola Exploitation: Gaining Control for the Purpose of Profit

Coca-Cola, one of the leading companies in the nation, has influenced millions of people into consuming its refreshing soft drink through the use of mass advertising and the exploitation of what can be an addicting substance. However, although Coca-Cola projects itself as a company set out for the interest of both itself and its consumers, different acts of corruption speak otherwise of the company’s goals. This kind of corruption has been seen in Mexico, where instances with certain political leaders or Coca-Cola workers indicate that the company will use force or feed off the of peoples’ desperation to obtain a profit. Coca-Cola has used its global power and recognition to manipulate Mexico’s workers and people in a long-lasting effort to become the most dominant and profitable company in the world.

            In order to ensure its security and guarantee control of the Mexican economy and market, the Coca-Cola Company set out to instill relations with political bosses in Mexico called caciques. These caciques would provide local store owners with an unlimited supply of Coke to sell on the market. In return, it was asked that the store owner promote the cacique’s preferred candidate in the next local election (“Cold Wars in Mexico”). Customers would receive free bottles of the soda so long as they would vote for the cacique’s preferred candidate, more than likely to be a political member of the Industrialized Revolutionary Party (PRI). This controlled method of campaigning withheld the PRI’s existence in the presidency for over 71 years (“Cold Wars in Mexico”). By working alongside the Coca-Cola Company, PRI leaders such as Jose Santiz were provided with the proper equipment and supplies that would allow a forced sale of numerous cases of the product. Those who disagreed with the Coca-Cola-PRI scheme for mass consumption in Mexico found themselves in danger to beatings or burnings by “thugs” of the area. Affiliating with high Mexican leading organizations like the PRI or caciques gave the Coca-Cola adequate mobility and freedom to impose the sale of its product in massive quantities on a poorer nation.

            While controlling Mexican consumption of Coke from within the government, Coca-Cola also took advantage of its Mexican workers by ignoring tax payments and mistreating even the most loyal workers. In one instance, the Company dismissed sixteen year-long executive, Angel Alvarado Agüero, for denying involvement in an illegal monopolistic action to destroy competition (“Coke’s Crimes in Mexico”). On top of dismissing a loyal worker, Coca-Cola denied him of benefits he had been promised earlier as part of his contract. To make matters worse, Alvarado Agüero explains how he was compelled to sign a letter of resignation in the presence of public witnesses and an armed guard (“Coke’s Crimes in Mexico”). Not only did the Company force his resignation, but afterwards, Coca-Cola tried to deny the fact that Agüero was ever employed in an attempt to steal the revenues properly owed to him. These tactics displayed the corrupt craftiness that the Coca-Cola Company used to refuse payments to Mexico that otherwise may have saved the company from such economic struggles and poverty.

            Despite all of the infringements on Mexico’s people and workers, the Coca-Cola Company has no intention of terminating its corrupt practices. The economic violence placed on these people will only continue as portrayed in a Coca-Cola CEO’s words: “Coca-Cola envisions a world where the ‘C’ in the kitchen faucet doesn't stand for cold” (“The Coke Machine”). The Company intends to fulfill this dream by continuing the mass advertising that already takes place in Mexico. Because the Mexican people are desperate to consume a clean beverage that is not provided for them by water, they have no choice but to resort to the accessible soft drink that is Coca-Cola. This helps Coca-Cola to remain motivated to thrive off of the first belief in their Mission Statement: “Consumer demand drives everything we do” (“Coca-Cola Marketing Strategies”). Today 60 percent of the Mexican soda market is in Coca-Cola’s invisible hands and they will continue to keep moving forward so long as even boycott leaders have proclaimed: “We have a way to get rid of Coke. We will drink every last bottle” (“Coke in Mexico & India”). It is, in fact, this addiction that has kept the Mexican people in an endless cycle of political and economic exploitation by the Coca-Cola Company.

Because Coca-Cola products are consumed in such great quantities and loved by nations worldwide, the illegal monopolistic actions that keep Coca-Cola atop the global company food-chain are mostly overlooked. The wealth associated with the Coca-Cola Company is more than likely going to continue to tempt political leaders like caciques to keep the company flourishing within Mexico. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola is already so involved politically, that when workers such as Agüero try to defend themselves against it, the Company simply needs to use force and manipulation to rid itself of the problem. As long as the product remains in demand, Coca-Cola will continue to impose on the people for the pure purpose of profit.

Brian Feliciano



  1. The issues of government scandals, work infringement, and monopolization are all addressed. Such government affiliation can only lead to a backwards movement of government if it is to be involved with big businesses. Workers are unable to have their rights due to forced limitations and exploitations. In addition, Coca-Cola is set on monopolizing the soft beverage industry, willing to pass any obstacle in its way.

    However, the issues of water deprivation, how money is spent, and the use of advertisements are not present. Water deprivation due to Coca-Cola's consumption of it leads to money being spent on Coca-Cola products as there is no water to be consumed. Also, the water is consciously being contaminated, and sold, to the people by Coca-Cola, forcing the people to by their goods. The major use of advertisements shows the dominance of Coca-Cola and begins to become imprinted into the minds of the people as a reoccurring force in society.

    Paul Popa

  2. While the political and economic crimes of the Coca Cola Company are accurately described here, the drastic consequences of these crimes are not addressed. The health of the Mexican people is suffering as a result of drinking so much Coke, and their freedoms have been reduced drastically and will continue to deteriorate as long as Coca Cola retains its unjust political and social power.

    On the worker's front, the controversy of Mr. Alvarado has been addressed, and the issue that Coca Cola plans to continue these unjust practices has been mentioned as well. What is not mentioned is that the consequence of these continued actions will be a completely helpless work force that has no bargaining power and will be completely subject to the iron fist of Coca Cola. Should these actions continue, the Coca Cola Company will become almost like a dictatorial government, where the workers may not challenge the ill practices of the higher ups, and cannot defend their own worker's rights. This will be cause development in all areas under Coca Cola influence to become regressive, seeing as how Coca Cola is a major political, economic and social force, should it establish this inner company control and authority in Mexico. This regressive nature would be due to the fact that Coca Cola would keep the country in a stationary position as long as it is earning the profit it seeks after so diligently.

    Vincent Viola

  3. Although this essay discussed in depth Coca-Cola's involvement in the corruption of the Mexican government, it lacked discussion of Coca-Cola's influence over the Mexican people. The essay brought up very good points such as the involvement of the caciques and brought to light how Mexican consumption of Coke was being controlled from within the government. The plummeting health conditions and deteriorating water supply were not discussed and played a huge role in Coca-Cola's Exploitation of Mexico. Despite these missing points, the essay was overall well supported and showcased how many of Coca-Cola's treacherous actions were overlooked because of its global image.

    Jenna Anne Chan

  4. The analysis of the effect of Coca Cola on the government of Mexico was very thorough. Although there are other aspects, such as the social changes and local economic impacts, this effectively displayed how ruthless and corrupt Coca Cola has become. It amazing that the country of Mexico is still able to function despite economic disadvantages that Coca Cola has placed upon it. Coca Cola is simply taking control of this nation's market by manipulating many small businesses in order to force the Mexican people to buy their soft drinks.

    Additionally, it is correct to say that Coca Cola controls as many people as it takes to promote and preserve their business within Mexico. When good people such as Agüero try to stand up for what is right, they are silenced, by forced resignation if they are employees, or through intimidating the individual until he cooperates, if he is a regular Mexican citizen. These truths are scary and must be addressed immediately before Coca Cola gains a stronger foothold in Mexico, economically, socially, and politically.

    Liz Newton

  5. To Popa:

    Paragraph Four does address the issue that Mexico is left with no clean drinking water except for that of Coca-Cola. However, it is that a greater emphasis should have been placed on the social issues despite the the fact that the major focus was placed on political and economic aspects. Better emphasizing the use of advertisements would have helped to depict the Company's easy access to governement control.

    To Vincent:

    Although it is true that excessive drinking of the Coca-Cola product will lead to major health issues such as diabetes and obesity, these problems would still exist had a different small soda company not been eliminated by Coca-Cola, thus allowing for the sale of other soft drink beverages. Despite this claim, it is still true that the water privitization acts by the Coca-Cola Company are doing serious damaging to the land, and preventing the people from approaching a healthier consumption of clean water.
    Also, Coca-Cola would never impose enough on the government to gain absolute control in a puppet regime. This would only hurt the company's profits and increase the Mexican people's morale to more effectively deny the soft drink with boycotts and protests. Coca-Cola is already in the position that they need be in to reap tremendous profits.

    To Jenna:

    In arguing the point that the decrease in water supply is both detrimental to the people and society, it is fair to indicate the lack of acknowledgement despite a focus on politics and economics. Furthermore, in discussing politics it is important to say that the government's concensus to Coca-Cola's abuse of the water supply in Mexico is self-destructing and a good example of the corruption that is filling the Mexican government. If this cycle continues, over time, a sufficient supply of water will cease to exist and cause a tremendous increase in poverty. At this point, it can be predicted that Coca-Cola will do nothing more than leave Mexico to continue it's mission in more appealing and profitable places. It has been seen throughtout history that people will reap the benefits of a region's resources until there is nothing left - at which point they pack up their belongings and move on to a new untouched land to continue where they left off.

    To Liz:

    It is true that if the horrific facts about Coca-Cola's exploitation of lands are not better addressed, then the harm will only continue and millions more will be cheated out of their money, their health, and their land. Coca-Cola's mission statement clearly indicates that they are determined to thrive. The actions they have taken in Mexico show that profits for the Company are more important than the lives of Mexican people. However, if the most important aspect of this problem - politics - cannot be controlled then the improvement of the social and economic conditions will never be carried out.

    Brian Feliciano