From Austin to Oz. I'm planning to flee the country for 7 months - working for 4 and traveling for 3.
Departure = 03 Sep 2003 / Re-entry = 03 Apr 2004

Friday, December 19, 2003


Parmalat is an Italian dairy / juice company based in Parma, Italia. When I lived in Lausanne, Switzerland back in 1993-4, I did not know Parmalat until my friend Chris Gleason and I bought scalped L35'000 tickets to the Parma vs. Ajax soccer game in March 94 and "Parmalat" and its snowflake emblem ringed the field like an unbroken crop circle. I think it was in 1994 or 1995 that I began to see the 1 litre UHT milk bricks/boxes in Texas supermarkets. Being lactose intolerant, I couldn't drink the milk, yet I thought it was great to see and Italian brand in American grocery stores. It helped me to reconnect to that soccer match where Parma won and Heineken cans littered the street.

To my surprise, our apt. here in Brisbane is only a few blocks from Parmalat's Australian National Head Office, manufacturing facility, and main distribution plant. So, once again, I am surrounded by the ubiquitous snowflake.

Parmalat has been in the news recently because it has "lost"/"misplaced"/"swindled" €4billion (over US$5billion). Hmm... something stinks, and it ain't the wheel of Parmesan cheese, mate. Good (??) to know that the US is not the only nation that can claim Enron/WorldCom/Tyco mushroom-cloud financial disasters.

This Texan ponders how this blooming artichoke of multinational scandal will affect the Australian division of an Italian dairy, located just down the road. I think that free trade and global markets are a wonderful thing IFF ("if and only if") corporations are held uninterruptedly accountable for their mismanagement, evironmental destruction, and labor markets. Without those checks, then corporations are just golddiggers who scrape all they can from a mine as fast as they can, then move on, leaving nothing but a barren landscape incapable of anything but drought.

I want to believe that corporations are very responsible entities.
I want to believe that we do not need any laws forcing corporations into ethical behavior.
I want to believe that corporations pay their share of taxes for the benefit of the community, the State, and the Nation, and to reduce the tax burden on the citizen.
I want to believe that investors can trust corporations to manage finances transparently and accurately.

But, that is not how quick money is made, is it? Nope. And, that's why companies like Enron and Parmalat do what they have done. And will continue to do so.

(PS: I apologize if you have received this post plus the previous post. I have already reported the problem to Blogger over two weeks ago. And, again. No reply, yet. Sorry for the duplicate e-mails.)


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