Drink More Coke

In Mark Pendergast's engaging book, "For God, Country, and Coca Cola," he notes that this global purveyor of caffeinated sugar water once tried to pitch its drink to Cubans with a skywriting ad. But a wind gust distorted the Spanish word Tome to Teme, so instead of saying "Drink Coca Cola," Cubans were implored to "Fear Coca Cola."

All of the world's people, including you and me, might want to reflect on this revealing slip of a verb, for Coke is a corporation on a mission. According to an excellent article by Sonia Shah in Progressive magazine, its mission is to replace drinking water with Coke as the world's primary beverage.

This is no idle threat. The company asserts that "right now, in the United States, people consume more soft drinks than any other liquid - including ordinary tap water." The company has big plans. A Coke executive has declared that soon, "we will see the same wave catching on in market after market, until, eventually, the number one beverage on Earth will be soft-drinks - our soft drinks."

In her article, Shah reports that, rather than simply pushing this ambition in terms of its own corporate profits, Coca Cola wants to be credited with a humanitarian motive: "We're redefining how consumers get hydrated," the corporation brags in its annual report. Rationalizing this push into Third World poverty regions, Coke's former CEO noted that "fluid replenishment is a key to health," then he asserted: "Coca-Cola does a great service because it encourages people to take in more and more liquids." Yeah, Bucko, and more and more of a liquid that causes rotting teeth, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Coke wants to do more hydrating of U.S. consumers, too. Shah informs us that current CEO Doug Daft (yes, that's his real name) envisions a Coke-on-tap system that will provide an endless stream of Coka Cola through the cold-water tap on your kitchen sink.

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