Corporations: a real debate part II

The Kassandra Project

 

We want to write about the discussion among us and Brian: we like readers like him because he write what he thinks and 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 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.

Kassandra:
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.

Brian:

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

Kassandra:

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.

If they violate that certification, THEY MUST CLOSE.

Brian:

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…

Kassandra:

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?

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  1. Oh my. For a minute there I thought we were having a real debate – my mistake again. Sorry.

    So I heard you say that if the electric company pollutes more than you think is the maximum amount, it should be forceably shut down immediately regardless of who might immediately suffer and die as a result. Regardless of what it does to the poor in it’s service area, the old and the infirm? It’s not your fault – they should all know better than to be accessories to pollution. Rules are rules.

    I heard you say that everyone is at fault because we are all selfish and want more than we need, and all will go to any immoral lengths to satisfy our lusts. We are all unrepentant abusers and polluters. Your prescription is to somehow make us all behave, but really only governments and corporations.

    I heard you say you’ll never give up trying to overturn this system. I encourage you to continue the struggle. I am relieved that you are out there, an army of one, exercising your liberty, enjoying the fruits and facilities of an advanced society, fighting the fight.

    I don’t call names, no matter how much they might seem warranted.😉

  2. It’s a debate. But you don’t answer to my questions: have you any little baby? Are you a father? Your children will see a polluted world, where who wants to do something which looks good for americans or spanish, must exploit africans or make conspiracy or buy everything (health included) with his own money.
    Good world, very good. We are selfish because we don’t look forward: this isn’t our earth, we share it with other living.
    We are killer. And it’ll be a killer everyone who doesn’t fight aganst this system.

  3. I didn’t answer your question about my children. You suggested I was a fool, and a monster, and now a killer, I hardly see how giving you more ammunition for attacking me personally and my grown children will add to the discussion in a substantial way.

    I will say that I am confident that God has provided for my children to live in His grace. They will have challenges and opportunities common to most people, and I am optimistic about the world they have inherited, full of goods and services produced by human industry. I expect them to use their freedom and creativity to be good stewards of their earth as they prosper.

    I think I heard you say that you are advocating a solution that cannot be implemented because people are generally selfish and unwilling to give up their comforts – You and I disagree about the specific shortcomings of your solution, but we are agreed that it cannot be done. Does that not mean the debate is over?

    When you resort to purjoratives, and vow to continue advocacy of a solution you call foolish regardless of any contrary argument, I’d say the real debate is done.

    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!

  4. “I will say that I am confident that God has provided for my children to live in His grace. ”

    God? Because of sentences like this the world is going down. God cannot use a “wand” to solve the problems that we create.

    This is the way of thinking of people who don’t care of human being’s and nature’s safety.
    We are building the world of tomorrow: God is crying while He’s seeing what we’are doing and how.




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