BP #6: Conflict of Interest– The Real Motives Behind Coke and Pepsi

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/10/well/eat/coke-and-pepsi-give-millions-to-public-health-then-lobby-against-it.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

Massive beverage companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are constantly donating millions of dollars to prominent health organizations– however, while donating money to these groups, they are simultaneously spending millions to ultimately defeat legislation that these organizations attempt to pass– such as soda taxes or other methods to combat obesity. Their involvement with various health organizations has been especially troubling over the past five years, in which these corporations have in essence paid for the health groups’ silence.

In several instances, well-known and influential health groups accepted large donations from the beverage industry and quickly backed out of supporting taxes on soda or other health-related initiatives. In addition, The New York Times reported last year about evidence that Coke had paid for “research that downplayed the link between sugar drinks and obesity” (O’Connor, 2016).

This article presents a case of what Hobbes discusses and defines as a situation of the state of nature. The state of nature is defined as a “war of all against all”. Cooperation and trust are non-existent. The state of nature presents a prisoner’s dilemma in which all parties involved seek to maximize their own personal gain– in the case of the beverage cooperations, they seek the health groups silence. The health organizations, on the other hand, seek to maximize gain in terms of money– specifically the donations given to them by PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.

Due to both parties only looking out for their own self-interest, rather than attempting to work together, everyone is worse off overall. “Everyone is competing to gain as much as he can, at the expense of others” (Shafer, 2010). The lack of consideration from both the beverage companies and the health organizations leaves the general public worse off- being bribed stunts efforts that fight against obesity as well as halt operations that sought to improve the health of the general population.


Works Cited

O’Connor, Anahad. “Coke and Pepsi Give Millions to Public Health, Then Lobby Against It.” Nytimes.com. The New York Times, 10 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Shafer-Landau, Russ. The Fundamentals of Ethics. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.


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