One company that I feel is highly suspect with a hand in prohibition is DuPont, from their website (http://heritage.dupont.com/):
DuPontâ€™s link with General Motors began with Pierre S. du Pont, who bought GM stock in 1914 and watched wartime demand increase its value sevenfold in a year. Despite high profits, though, GM suffered from divided management.
In 1915 Pierre was elected a GM director, then board chairman, to help solve that problem, but Americaâ€™s entry into World War I in 1917 left him little time. After the war GM executive and former DuPont treasurer, John J. Raskob, persuaded DuPontâ€™s directors to invest $25 million in GM. Raskob saw a sure market for DuPontâ€™s artificial leather, plastics and paints; plus the investment would also yield reliable returns. Pierre became GMâ€™s president in 1920, his brother IrÃ©nÃ©e succeeding him at DuPont. By then DuPontâ€™s GM holdings had doubled, accounting for a third of all GM stock. In 1929 GM stock provided half of DuPontâ€™s total earnings.
During the 1920s DuPont and GM developed new refrigerants (GM owned Frigidaire) and antiknock gasoline additives, and DuPontâ€™s Engineering Department helped GM build plants and workersâ€™ housing. Most significantly, however, DuPont adopted the bold restructuring plan that Pierre and Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. successfully implemented at GM. The close relationship between the two companies eventually attracted the attention of federal antitrust prosecutors, who filed suit in 1949. Eight years later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against DuPont, and in 1961 the company finalized the disposal of its GM shares.
As such, DuPont, although a great innovator in the field of chemistry research and the development of a wide array of plastic materials, does have a very shady history.
Cannabis was not seen as a problem by anybody until, in 1916, Dept. of Agriculture scientists discovered a way to use it to create cheaper paper. Farmers saw a good cash crop and grew large amounts of cannabis for commercial paper-making.
This was a problem for William Randolph Hearst, who owned 28 newspapers and many thousands of acres of trees, which he used to make paper for his and many other newspapers. It was also a problem for the DuPont chemical company; a large crop of hemp presented a serious competitive threat to the DuPont-owned process for creating paper from wood pulp.
Back then and still today, if you had money, you had an enormous amount of influence.
It’s just interesting to learn all these things about these companies who have played major roles in the field of Industrial Design. I may not be able to change the past, I can at least help to create a future where we can rightfully capitalize on industries that have the greatest potential to ensure our energy independence and create a profit. It is possible now to do both.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Industrial Design community rescued the American economy?