Yes Men have another pop at Dow

The Yes Men have struck at Dow again, this time at a banking conference in London where posing as Dow representatives they presented what they called an “Acceptable Risk Calculator”. Read more here.

“Amazingly enough, though, there is still no tool to help us in business know what risk is acceptable, and what isn’t. We stumble along with our unspoken rules, hoping against hope our decisions make sense. Dow Acceptable Risk™ will change all this. For the first time ever, you will know beforehand what you can and can’t allow to occur. Will project X be just another skeleton in the closet–something your company comes to regret? Or will it be a golden skeleton–will it have harsh, but acceptable costs?” (From the Yes Men’s speech to bankers)
Read on for the Yes Men’s press release:

May 3, 2005
“Risk Calculator” helps ensure sound business practice
When government is made to take the back seat in regulatory matters,
corporations must rely on their own judgment to determine what is, and
what isn’t, acceptable where human lives are at risk.
Doing this has until now been more of an art than a science. With
Acceptable Risk, business finally has a risk standard of its own,
reflecting its values and allowing us to reliably factor human and
environmental casualties into business decisions in accordance with
the soundest of economic principles.
Last Thursday in London, Dow representative Erastus Hamm unveiled
Acceptable Risk, the Acceptable Risk Calculator, and the Acceptable
Risk mascot–a life-sized golden skeleton named Gilda–to an audience
of about 70 banking professionals, including some from Dow’s largest
investors. Many of the bankers in attendance excitedly signed up for
licenses for the Calculator, which helps businesses scientifically
determine the point where casualties start to cut into profit, while
suggesting the best regions on earth to locate dangerous ventures.
Hamm told the bankers how Acceptable Risk would have applied to some
famous “skeletons in the closet” of big business: IBM’s WWII sale of
technology to the Nazis for use in identifying Jews; Dow’s production
of napalm and Agent Orange for use in Vietnam; and the plight of
Dursban, a Dow pesticide whose main ingredient came out of Nazi nerve
agent research, was tested on student volunteers as recently as 1998,
and was finally banned two years later.
Each of these cases entailed heavy casualties, Hamm noted, and yet
each was immensely profitable and therefore consistent with sound
business practice. Hamm said the case of the Bhopal gas disaster of
1984 was slightly more complicated–but so long as so-called “socially
responsible” investor groups do not get away with forcing Dow to spend
too much time on the matter at the May 12 AGM and elsewhere, that case
could end up being a “golden skeleton” too.
Please visit to try out the Acceptable
Risk Calculator for yourself, and for text, photos and video of the
London announcement.
Contacts: Erastus Hamm
Vikram Banarjee
To edit your Dow Acceptable Risk profile or unsubscribe, visit
To try out the Acceptable Risk Calculator, or to see photos and
video of last Thursday’s event, visit

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