April 28, 2005
On April 28, 2005, at a London banking conference to which they had accidentally been invited because of their satirical website, “Dow representative” “Erastus Hamm” unveiled “Acceptable Risk,” a Dow industry standard for determining how many deaths are acceptable when achieving large profits. The bankers enthusiastically applauded the lecture, which described several industrial crimes, including IBM’s sale of technology to the Nazis for use in identifying Jews, as “golden skeletons” – i.e. skeletons in the closet, but lucrative and therefore acceptable ones.
Several of the bankers in attendance then signed up for licenses for the “Acceptable Risk Calculator” and even posed with Acceptable Risk mascot “Gilda, the golden skeleton in the closet,” for photos.
If “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR) and other market forces were all that set limits on corporate behavior, what would constitute “acceptable risk”?