Posts Tagged ‘poor’

The Kassandra Project

 

We start with this great quote:
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”  (A.Einstein)
This article and the future articles wich will contain “Killer Corporations”, are for people who wants to defend corporations: in this way we’ll write less numbers in our comments.
We wrote a lot about corporations, now we want to give you some numbers, in order to make you to think their meaning.
Every day, millions of children in Asia, Africa and Latin America spend their day cutting sugar cane, selling vegetables, producing bricks, T-shirts, shoes and balls.
Why work? A few years ago, the former Secretary General Brutus Ghali said, “children in the third world, if they work die of fatigue, if not working die of hunger“.
Children leave their homes very soon to address day working even 18 hours. They work (and die) to create toys that will be used by our children.
According to data provided by the International Labor Office (ILO-agency work of the UN), more than 250 million children under 14 years who spend their working day.
The exploitation of child labor is closely related to social injustice and an unfair distribution of wealth: no school, health and social care, the poor are forced to ask all family members to do their utmost to be able to survive.
In countries like Thailandia, Cina, Vietnam, Filippine, Pakistan, the workforce is exploited and low saled. Both in the case of shoes and that of balloons, the impact of labor costs on the final sales price is 2%, while the share of advertising is around 5%. We pay more for the advertising than  for the shoes.
In Asian factories that produce these goods, work for more than 12 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, for wages insufficient to maintain the family, among these workers, there are often children.
Numbers:
160,000 workers
Of which 25% less than 14 years
80 $: price of a ball for competitions
7.5 $: cost to the ball
0.5 $: labor costs
3: The number of balls produced on average per day from a worker
6-7 servings: composition of the average family Pakistan
This’ll be a journey in the corporations’ numbers and the way they make profit by abusing of our health and of nature. Are you ready?

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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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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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