Corporations: a real debate

The Kassandra Project

 

In this day we’re talking with one visitor,brianbeattie, that we like particularly. Brian left some very good comments and we want to publish them as an article, with our answers, because they permit to our readers to understand better the problem behind the good corporations, and the bad corporations.

Brian:

So what is the answer? Forbid the rich to get richer? Reward the poor for their poverty?

I think that discussions like this always try to imply that there is something ill-gotten about the gains of the wealthy, and that the “normal” and the “poor” are robbery victims, but this suggestion is not founded in reality. In truth, those that become wealthy often do so by creative industry and thrift, and whose efforts benefit all including the poor and the normal. How many poor or normal people can access a television? Cell phone? Internet? Microwave popcorn? The poor and the normal do not have the where-with-all to make these marvels, but can certainly access them at an imaginable price because someone else with means and talent invented, manuafactured, distributed, sold, etc…

So, do you think that the poor and the normal will invent the next iPhone if only they are given a stipend to supplement their current earnings? To make them less poor or super-normal?

So, do you think someone who is capable of inventing the next cancer drug will be willing to do so if they know that the investment it takes to do so will never be repaid because the moment an invention become profitable it’s earnings will be seized and redistributed for the public good?

Here’s the hard truth. The rich will always get richer faster because they got to be rich in the first place through imagination, invention, and industry – If you seized all of the wealth of the rich and spent it on social engineering, the folks that would end up rich as a result would probably be the same folks that were rich before. The same thing that got them there the first time will get them there again, period.

Here’s another truth. The poor will only stop being poor when they exhibit the behaviors that make the rich richer. It’s not about the money they have now, it’s about what they themselves do today that will help them have a better tomorrow.

Think of it this way. The earned income tax credit implements a policy of giving money to the working poor, and has for 50 years give-or-take. Noone who benefits from the EITC will become rich as a consequence of receiving this distribution – you only receive it if you’re poor, and when you even start to ooch out of the poor bracket, you get less of a subsidy. If you think the EITC is your ticket to a better life, why in the world would you try to earn a better income? Who on EITC doesn’t look at the annual tax bill and say darn, I didn’t get as much this year because my income went up. The decrease in EITC makes your income increases look smaller, creating a disincentive to do better. You have to be “thinking rich” in order to realize you don’t escape being poor until your earnings are much more than would qualify for EITC subsidies.

I think the poor are helped much more by the existance of discount stores like walmart than they are by the existence of the social-security system – which takes 7% of every penny they ever make until they die and only gives them a number that they have to worry about losing, and a promise of future poverty. Walmart (Run by rich people) makes each buck worth more; government robbers make each buck worth less.

Robbing the rich to give to the poor doesn’t make the poor rich, and usually doesn’t make the rich poor. I think it just gves the robbers something fundamentally immoral and perpetual to do.

Kassandra:

Your comment is quite good. You’re right when you say that richs improve poor quality of life, but in our article we didn’t refer to rich and creative people, but to corporations which only want to increase their money without care of any human being, poor, normal, or rich but HONEST.

I will publish your point of view as an article because i like it very much. Thanks Brianù

Brian:

I certainly misunderstood the thrust of your article then, which refers to households and “the top 1% of Americans” and the “bottom 20%”. Your conclusion about “Corporations and rich people” certainly made me think you were talking about individual wealth. My apologies.

About the “corporations”, though; don’t you think most corporations are probably run for profit but with the goals of producing things, serving customers, hiring and maintaining a successful workforce, being in business again tomorrow? I’ll grant you there are bad people, and probably bad corporations, but neither could really be in the majority and still have a functioning society, could they?

Aren’t they all just people after all?

Kassandra:

I know there are people who work for people like me. I thank them for their improvement of my quality of life.
But on the contrary, there are a lot of people who work for their own profit, without feelings for human beings, people who are destroying my and your world with THEIR pollution.

I think there a lot of good things in this world, and a lot of good people. But unluckly, who has the power, the real power to change something in this world, they are corporations.

They can start with good intentions, but when they feel the smell of money, they change. It’s in the nature of the human being to do in this way.
I like Coke, I like Mac, I like my shoes, but I’d want that they has been made by corporations who didn’t kill children with exploitation, who don’t corrupt the governments in order to obtain the power to do what they want.

I’d like to say “I have Nike shoes: ok, I’m sure that Nike don’t kill anyone, don’t corrupt anyone, to make this shoes. I love Nike”.
The same things for Coke or my Microsoft Windows or for the Shell fuel in my car or for nickel in my coins which has been extracted from people who live in Norilsk, Russia, in a quality of life under zero %, where “Pollution is so critical that the average life of the population does not exceed 50 years and mental illness are constantly increasing.”.

I don’t want to destroy corporations: I just want they work legally. ALL.

Thank you for your time Brian.

If you want to read some more comments about this topic, we suggest you to visit the page “Few richs and more poors“.

We like to speak with people like Brian and we invite you to do the same thing: tell us what you think, it could be a good occasion to change our point of view, or your, or just to speak about something in an intelligent way.

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  1. It sounds to me that you feel most corporations are unrepentently evil abusers of society and the environment in their routine operations. I respectfully disagree, and challenge that belief.

    I’ll concede that some corporations pollute.
    I’ll also concede that some corporations engage in dispicable business practices. But some corporations also produce amazing philanthropy, contributing to the support of fine arts and culture, public spaces, and works of charity.

    I’ll add to my previous observations of the benefits of private enterprise that corporations are involved in very productive large-scale food production, textile and clothing manufacture, building materials, construction, sanitation, pollution control and remediation, recreation and amusements, technological research and development, transportation of people and their property, communications, etc. Without a corporation in hot pursuit of profits, I doubt very much there would be now a computer for me to type on, a wire in the wall to connect to the internet, or electricity to run ’em all.

    Corporate effort permits individuals to specialize and acheive remarkable feats because they can devote themselves to areas of talent and interest. A scientist working to develop life saving drug therapy, or improving the efficiency of fuel combustion, does so liberated from the time/effort expense to find a wild beast to kill and eat.

    I’ll concede that people are sinful, prone to greed, gluttony, and lust. People pollute and abuse each other when they have the power to do so. These characteristics manifest in all human endeavors. I would suggest that the aftermath of most outdoor rock concerts, sporting events, and picnics looks worse per capita than the result of most corporate activity.

    I can understand feeling powerless and insignificant when trying to influence a giant corporation – when they have wealth, political influence, and success, why would they listen to the complaints of a few? Honestly now, is it any different with a person?

    Take former Vice President of the U.S Al Gore, recent Nobel laureate and movie star. What chance would I have of changing his direction with a simple argument or complaint, no matter how well founded or just? Mr. Gore is wealthy, successful, and influential in his advocacy doing just exactly what he’s doing now. Appeals to morality, or reason, or evidence, or justice, are pretty likely to fall on deaf ears. He doesn’t have to listen.

    Some men commit murder, and more men than women are convicted of murder. Does that make men bad because they are murderors? Some corporations pollute…

    My bottom line: People have an obvious sin problem, and big corporations are concentrations of people; not generally better, but also not significantly worse on balance. It’s not us and them, it’s us.

    What we all need is Jesus.

  2. Yes, it’s true: there are bad people and good people and of conseguence, bad and good corporations.

    But what I see is global warming, pollution, corruption, more than “amazing philanthropy” or “works of charity”; so I have to think that there are more “bad” than “good” corporations, or that the bad ones are the most powerful.

  3. So, what’s the answer? Forbid them? Punish them? I’m interested in hearing your prescription…

  4. I wrote my prescription for you some comments ago.. I repeat:

    We must pretend that every product must contain a new certification, which guarantees that corporation doesn’t violate human or civil rights or made pollution during the production of its products.

    Coke, Nike, and so on… everyone.

  5. If they violate that certification, THEY MUST CLOSE.

  6. But how could you accomplish that? You would need a just standard for obtaining the certification, and a politically neutral organization to certify all corporate activity for every corporation (and government where economies are centrally managed) world-wide.

    Suppose the corporation that supplies your electricity, and the electricity to hospitals in your town, owns an old coal-fired generator that exceeds some standard for certification – do you close the company? Sit in the dark until new compliant generation capacity is built? Ask the critical-care patients in the hospitals to just hang on a few minutes while the certification process is argued in court?

    How would you handle the certification? Would this international certification agency travel to china and close factories that fail to provide health care? Travel to North Korea and close government-run airlines for failure to control airplane emissions?

    How would you keep the certification agency from becoming politicized? Some companies in “rich” developed countries could conceivably afford to comply with reasonable regulations, while in “poor” countries the cost of compliance is not affordable. Either the agency justly applies a standard and closes down the poor companies that cannot comply, leaving the rich companies without competition and free to get richer, or the agency excuses companies in poor areas to further some social-engineering objective, which instantly makes application of the standard a matter of politics.

    How long would the certification last, and how would you keep corporations from “gaming” the system to hide their compliance problems for a few days while they are being audited, but going back to their bad behavior? You’ve already assured me that most corporations are deliberately violating people and the planet – I’m guessing they would be pretty likely to engage in more immorality when faced with the choices of expensive compliance or being closed down.

    Sorry, I think your proposed solution is far worse than the problem. It would require the creation of a huge worldwide governing structure to impose the restrictions on companies in violation of the sovreignty of every country on earth and would disproportionately impact the poor while turning the rich into a world-wide monopoly.

    I don’t remember where I read this, but I recall a story about a third world factory that provided textiles to a major retailer in the U.S. The U.S. company discovered that the factory used little girls to make the clothes and paid them a pittance – barely an existing wage. The retailer objected on principle, and threatened to cancel contracts. The factory turned the little girls out onto the street in order to keep the U.S. retailer’s business – but what happened to the little girls? Faced with families that depended on their meager income, they ended up in prostitution. All to satisfy some U.S. retailer’s idea of what was good for them. I’m not saying this always happens, but it reminds me that it’s hard to foresee the consequences of trying to do things to folks for their own good…

  7. I read fool things now. It’s not our problem if corporations give electricity to hospitals by destroying the nature.

    It’s not our problem if we want too many things, too many comforts in order to improve OUR quality of life at the expense of the poorest!

    We’re destroying ourselves and nature to obtain more comforts. Blah! We are monsters. You are right in one thing: my prescription is quite fool, but you’re not right on WHY it’s fool.

    It’s fool because we’re fool and we’ll never exchange our actual life for more important purposes, because we’re selfishes.

    Have you any little child? Did you evr think in what kind of world he’ll grow?
    A world full of “false desires”, without respect for life of anyone or anything.

    Who is the real fool? Who wants to try to stop this, or who says “it’s a normal thing to destroy the nature or to exploit little girls for our purposes, on the contrary we’ll have no comforts and those little girls will go in the street”.
    I’m sorry Brian, but I’ll never accept this system: I’ll continute to say “war against corporations and governments which don’t respect us and the nature” instead of saying “if I want electricity or fuel, nature must suffer; if I want my nike, little girls or boys must be exploited”.

    Who is the monster?

  8. One of the big problems with the corporation is that if it folds up it puts massive numbers of people out of work. How many people are employed by some of the “evil” corporations? Consider that CocaCola is one of the biggest employers in South Africa, and they pay their people a living wage (comparative to the economy in South Africa). If Coke suddenly folds up because of pressure from inside the USA to become more “humane” (whatever that means), we would be unemploying quite a few people who are already living in what higher-bred Americans would refer to as “substandard” conditions. Fact: we want to world’s workforce to be employed… if anybody wants a job, they should have one. Fact: in order to have a job you need to either (A) be the boss making the money, or (B) have someone making more money than yourself to employ you. This is where the beauty lies in the Corporate model… you have a couple of guys who had a brilliant idea and started making money… as they made more money, they hired people to work for them to help run things… and so on and so forth. It’s kind of like the dreaded pyramid scheme. The thing is, since there is opportunity (in many cases) to advance, there is always the opportunity of moving from being an underling who isn’t making much money, to being one of the bosses.

    I would think that our foreign policy guys have much bigger fish to fry (ie, religious freedom in China, human rights in prisons, ending the Darfur crisis, that kind of thing) than micromanaging international Corporations. As long as those corporations are acting within the law in whatever country they are operating in, then I don’t really have a right to complain… except perhaps to change the law of that country. So in reality, if you want corporations to stop “exploiting children” (especially since sweatshops are hard to cover up and especially unfriendly in the public eye), start talking about the laws of that nation that allow children to be exploited.

    Fact: the enviornment contains minerals and resources that humans use to build their societies. Fact: these resources are somewhat limited in scope. Fact: it is a poverty mentality to refuse to use what you have because then you wouldn’t have it. Also Fact: Animals have been around and passing gas for at least 6000 years (if you buy into evolution, of course the number is much larger). Fact: according to the Associated Press, methane from livestock makes up about 40-60% of all greenhouse gas emissions from Australia (one of the more modernized economies) and New Zealand (the supplier of more wool, textiles, and clothing than just about any other).

    So perhaps, to save the environment, instead of trying to shut down the Corporate world, eat the animals quicker. “Save the world, Eat a Burger!” I think many more Americans would be able to get behind that agenda.

  9. It’s in the mentality of rich people to say “Corporations aren’t guilty, government which permit exploitation are the real guilty”.
    Men who work in corporations are in this way, psycopaths. The “personality” of the corporation is summarized in the following profile:

    – Callous unconcern for the feelings of others
    – Incapacity to mantain enduring relationship
    – Reckless disregards for the safety of others
    – Deceitfulness: repeated lying and conning others for profit
    – Incapacity to experience guilt
    – Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours

    I underline your incapacity to experience guilt and Brian’s “Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviours”.
    If Coke makes the economy of 50% of the world, but violates human rights, Coke must close! Government which permit to Coke to do its crimes are criminal.

    Why has Monsanto been so desperate to get GE crops approved in Indonesia? The answer can be found in Argentina, Brazil and the US where Monsanto has near-monopolies in the GE soya, maize and cotton markets. Because the GE seeds are patented they must be brought from the company every year. That means fat profits for Monsanto but bad news for poor farmers in countries like Indonesia.

    Bribes, corruption and relatively insignificant fines are small change for Monsanto compared to the huge prize of monopoly position in countries with large agricultural sectors. And once GE crops are planted in a country, any contamination of non-GE crops means Monsanto can also claim royalties from these farmers as it has done in Canada.=> Monsanto fined $1.5m for bribery.

    In March 27, 2007: WASHINGTON – ITT Corporation, the leading manufacturer of military night vision equipment for the U.S. Armed Forces, has admitted sending classified materials overseas and will pay a $100 million penalty.

    In March 25, 2004: The European Union has found Microsoft guilty of abusing the “near-monopoly” of its Windows PC operating system and fined it a record 497 million euros ($613 million).

    In March 29, 2007: State regulators on Wednesday recommended $210 million in fines against TXU Corp. after an investigation accused the state’s largest utility of manipulating the electric market to its own benefit.

    This list can continue for million of pages😀
    Corruption, manipulation, disinformation: these are the keywords for corporations. In my 3 examples they paid over 1 billion dollars of penalties. Or maybe do you consider them as victims???😀

  10. Another thing: I never said “Brian you are a killer, a monster” and so on. I ask you “who is the real monster?”, “who is the real killer?”.

    Why did you read other words in my questions?😀

    “I wish you well, and hope you can find peace and joy in this Christmas season. I give you permission to take one week off from guilt about using polluting technology and products made by exploited children. Merry Christmas!”

    I use this pc to write what it’s happening. Yes, I use it, it’s technology. But without this tech I cannot say about the danger that corporations made and will make.😉
    For your knowledge, I don’t buy christmas tree, presents or anything else. But I’ll respect you if you want to use them instead of me…😉

  11. First I will say that corporations are incapable of feeling because they are organizations. I think that CEO’s of the largest corporations are just as capable of having bleeding hearts as just about anybody on this planet. The point is that a corporation is a machine… a machine that is programmed to make money. So yes, “Corporations” are unfeeling because they have no emotional center. Now, Corporate exec’s are just the opposite. Many are very philanthropic with some of their excess wealth, and some are not so much… this is not psychopathic, it’s human. Psychopathic is specifically acting in a way that targets and destroys people in a very calculated and precise manner. There is a big difference. One is “tunnel vision” and the other is “sadistic”.

    Second, it isn’t so much a mentality of the rich, as it is the mentality of reality. Seriously, corporations are designed to make money. To that end, it is in their best intrest to work legally, cheaply, and efficiently. So if it is legal to “exploit little children”, then they are going to do it because it is cheaper and legal. So, how to fix it? Make it illegal. I’m being quite serious, if children in China are being exploited, it is because the laws in China allow them to be. That’s why Child labor is not used here… it’s simply illegal. I’m no wealthy person… however, I do appreciate the wealthy people within this nation, because they are currently providing my employment.

    Thirdly, I do have full capacity to experience guilt. It’s just that you are failing at making me feel it. I’m also relatively certain that “acceptable norms” are pretty relativistic, and as such are a highly inconsistent measuring line to hold someone to. The fun part is that you would gladly throw 50% of the world out of work (and into abject poverty) because someone didn’t match up to your standards of “human rights”? That sounds relatively cruel, bigoted, and inhuman to me.

    Fourthly, there is a major flaw in your thinking about major corporations. Namely, due to the “competition” factor, all coporations are expendable. If someone can come up with a better idea than Microsoft Windows that is roughly the same price (ideally cheaper), then Microsoft will eventually be obliterated. The “near-monopoly” (note, not actually a monopoly… Give Steve Jobs his due) is shaky at best… just that right now nobody has an idea that is any better. If somebody can come up with a better/cheaper strain of Genetically Engineered crops, Monsanto is out of business.

    Myself, I do consider Microsoft a victim of their own genius. The prime source of evidence is that hundreds of thousands of people are using their product to claim that they are an evil horde of imps trying to take over the techie world. As I have said many other places, Bill Gates is a brilliant man, and had a great idea that led to a great invention. As soon as someone can do what he does better or cheaper than he can, he’s out of a job.

    The Corporation is merely a business model… not the end of the world. The model of this business is to try to become the best at what you do, and earn more business than the guy down the street. It is a structure that is built to make the running of a company as smooth and effecient as possible.

    The main problem is that it needs competition to keep forcing production to improve, but tried and true Capitalism requires that you best your competition to make enough money to compete at all. You want to see Microsoft go down in flames? Make a better and cheaper OS. You want to see Nike bite the big one? Make a better and cheaper pair of shoes. You want to see Wal-Mart implode? Shop at Target. It’s really that easy.

    And since I have nothing to be guilty of (I’m not claiming the high horse and taking the low road), have a merry Christmas…

  12. Oh oh oh… Corporations in USA are protected by 14th emendament… and we cannot consider them like men?😀

    I agree with you when you wrote that we must make illegal to exploit children in a lot of countries. But you cannot consider moral to exploit them even if it’s legal. And Corporations and so called “good men, CEO” must do a choice: morality or money.

    You’re right: corporations are machines which make money, so they choose money. I didn’t say that corporations act illegally, i said that they are criminals, without moral… and with them, all government which permit them to do their work in their way are criminals.

  13. “The fun part is that you would gladly throw 50% of the world out of work (and into abject poverty) because someone didn’t match up to your standards of “human rights”? That sounds relatively cruel, bigoted, and inhuman to me.

    If my standards of human rights are cruel, bigoted and inhuman, i wish you never meet one of those children..😉

  14. “The main problem is that it needs competition to keep forcing production to improve, but tried and true Capitalism requires that you best your competition to make enough money to compete at all. You want to see Microsoft go down in flames? Make a better and cheaper OS. You want to see Nike bite the big one? Make a better and cheaper pair of shoes.”

    Nike makes the best shoes, Microsoft makes one of the best OS. It’s the reality.
    But I think that Nike could make the same shoes and the same balls without exploiting poor asian children… Nike pays them 6 cents for a T-shirt..and sells it 20$… it’s cruel, and they exploit the situation of poor countries in order to win their “competition”.
    They could be the first without exploited children… but at that point Adidas will do it instead of Nike… and this circle will never end.
    For this reason the “corporation method” is the end of the world.

    Have a good Christmas.

  15. heli kopter

    Depression im Jahre 1930

    von Raivo Pommer-raimo1@hot.ee raimo.pommer@wippies.fi http://www.google.ee

    Die Weltwirtschaft wird vom stärksten Einbruch der Produktion und Handelsströme seit der großen Depression der 1930er-Jahre erschüttert. Für die Notenbanken ist damit der Auftrag klar: Sie müssen die Zinsen senken und die Märkte mit frischem Geld fluten. Nur so kann eine drohende Deflationsspirale durchbrochen werden. Die weltweite Rezession, die allgemeine Unsicherheit und die verschlechterten Beschäftigungschancen führen nämlich zu rückläufigen Absatzzahlen und als Folge davon zu steigenden Lagerbeständen. Das nährt bei den Verbrauchern die Erwartung, dass die Preise für Konsumgüter fallen. Also schieben sie ihre Einkäufe auf. Sie wollen nicht heute kaufen, was morgen noch billiger werden könnte. “Cash is King” lautet das Motto in deflationären Zeiten.

    Was für den Einzelnen eine kluge Vorgehensweise ist, wird in der Summe des Verhaltens aller zum gesamtwirtschaftlichen Problem. Wenn alle mit Kaufen warten, gehen die Umsätze weiter zurück. Deshalb muss die Produktion noch einmal gedrosselt werden. Es entstehen zusätzliche Überkapazitäten. Sie lassen sich nur durch weitere Preisnachlässe und Rabatte abbauen. Es kommt zu einer sich eigendynamisch verstärkenden Deflationsspirale.

    Deflationäre Prozesse zu überwinden ist schwierig. Als der heutige amerikanische Zentralbankchef Bernanke noch Universitätsprofessor war, prägte er als Lösung das Bild der Helikopter-Ökonomie.

  1. 1 Corporations: a real debate part II « The Kassandra Project: freedom against disinformation

    […] in this situation we think his opposite things. This is the second part which follows our “Corporations: a real debate“. Brian: It sounds to me that you feel most corporations are unrepentently evil abusers of […]




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