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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wrongly typing this while working, so I can't really elaborate much, but I've been thinking about posting this topic for awhile.<br><br><br><br>
I was wondering what the level-headed people here thought about corporations.<br><br><br><br>
It's obvious that some corporations have amazing levels of power, and many use it greedily. It's less obvious, but true, that some corporations are good, and can do some amazing things having resources and money that many goodhearted people can not do alone.<br><br><br><br>
With that being said, I'm wondering if a corporate world is really a bad thing. It could be said that many current and early corporations do more harm to the world than good, but with good leaders, tougher laws, and a more socialist outlook towards things, they could be a good thing bringing products and ideas to a wider variety of people.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I also have a fun analogy between corporations and bee hives that I may go into later. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
I want some interesting thought-provoking posts people!!
 

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Huge corporations have exert alot of influence and their decisions and processes affect other businesses, and also our environment and our world. They can promote efficiency and greed which can cause pollution, suffering, and other nasty side effects. Or they can use their power to demand more eco-friendly and/or humane solutions from themselves, their partners, and the businesses they deal with. They can utilize some of their profits to donate to some good causes. They can set an example and their competitors may follow in their footsteps.<br><br><br><br>
I just read "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser, and it brought this whole issue into a very enlightening, thought-provoking issue to me. I highly recommend it this book, especially after reading your post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is too silly. I'm reading that book right now. I'm almost finished. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p"><br><br><br><br>
I'm not sure if that book brought about this topic to my mind lately or not. I think it's mostly because I work at Whole Foods Market. It's the largest organic and all natural corporation in the world. It donates 5% of its profits to non-profits a year, and it's been voted as one of the top 100 companies to work for in the United States for the last 6 years. This year it was in the 2nd percentile.<br><br><br><br>
There are many things I'd change about Whole Foods Market, and many things I'd commend it for. There are things I wish it would take and run with and lead the way for other corporations.<br><br><br><br>
I transferred to New Orleans to work for the one I work at now. We've been open about 3 months, and a small HFS across the street is now having a "GOING OUT OF BUSINESS SALE," and I feel quilty for working for the obvious reason it's going out of business.<br><br><br><br>
On the other hand, my store is larger, sells organic and all natural products to more people, donates 5% of its profits to local non-profits, has over 200 more employees than the other store, etc.<br><br><br><br>
While it's sad that the other store is closing, and perhaps a dozen people are losing their jobs, it still seems like more good is being done.<br><br><br><br>
While that last sentence can be debated, I consider most things that make the world more web-like, more hive-like to be good. I really think that the world would fare better the more interconnected it can get. I know that corporations put large profits in small amounts of hands, and that's one thing I don't agree with. (Whole Foods caps the amount anyone in the company can make to something like 10 times the company average or something (That much much less than most corporations.))<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Oi!!!
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by mikie</i><br><br><b>It could be said that many current and early corporations do more harm to the world than good, but with good leaders, tougher laws, and a more socialist outlook towards things, they could be a good thing bringing products and ideas to a wider variety of people.<br><br></b></div>
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"good leaders" : they don't make the profit the share holders want.<br><br><br><br>
"thougher laws" : we can't have that (WTO)<br><br><br><br>
Imho there are a few companies that have a ethical policy but most companies do nothing but "window dressing".<br><br><br><br>
The bigger the company the bigger the chance that it sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think that you're too quick to cast an evil eye. Try being more optimistic. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Sorry for being so general.<br><br><br><br>
Yes, some companies take their responsibility like the bank where I park my savings.<br><br>
They are a ethical bank.<br><br><br><br>
I dont know much (big) companies that are really responsible, make me optimistic ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's a couple you can file through they may have something good in them... <a href="http://www.fortune.com/fortune/bestcompanies" target="_blank">http://www.fortune.com/fortune/bestcompanies</a><br><br><br><br>
That's the top 100 <i>to work for</i> in the US this year... but I'm sure there is more to some of them than just good jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm raising this from the dead. I've been thinking about this even more lately and I want to see some thought-provoking posts!<br><br><br><br>
I've been thinking about how terribly influencial large corporations are, and how much I dislike it. I definitely dislike corporations spreading monoculture throughout the country and the world as well. Perhaps I am afraid of change, but I think that too much power, influence, and money in the hands of so few is a terrible idea.<br><br><br><br>
I've also been thinking that it's detrimental to an effective democracy. The recent Adbusters really started connecting thoughts in my mind (pick it up if you get a chance, this last one's really good, imo.)
 

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(Should this be in the CH? I can see a debate exploding in the near future.)<br><br><br><br>
Corporations are only as evil as their customers. Unless your store did something immoral or illegal, the HFS across the street went bust because consumers felt that WFM provided better value. This benefitted consumers, and made money for WFM and there is nothing wrong with that.<br><br><br><br>
Business is a competition; there is nothing wrong or immoral about trying to make big profits and drive your competitors out of business. It is competition that provides incentive to work and leads to innovation (Joseph Schumpeter's concept of creative destruction, for example).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Peebs</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
(Should this be in the CH? I can see a debate exploding in the near future.)</div>
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I posted this a long while ago, so I'm not sure why it's here. I do know that I dislike going into the Compost Heap because it seems some people (myself included) think they can be sarcastic and rude simply because of the location of their posts. I'd rather a more sophisticated discussion and it seems those can't be held there.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Peebs</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Corporations are only as evil as their customers.</div>
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I agree with this, but I'm starting to feel that the power and influence of a corporation needs to have limits and that consumers need to be educated. I don't think that it benefits anyone to just let things play out naturally, if you will.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>That Alpaca Guy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think it's simple. You don't get into a place of power by being a nice person.</div>
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Actually this is a flawed view of business and enterpreneurship. Business and free markets are hugely dependent (even based) on trust, reputation, face value and reliability.<br><br><br><br>
Most (if not all) successful enterpreneurs, CEOs and other executives, board members, investors, bankers, corporate attorneys etc. I know are actually exceptionally nice people (there are a-holes everywhere, of course).<br><br><br><br>
Moreover I would say that by far (by FAR!) most companies and businesses are "good".<br><br><br><br>
There are nasty corporations though. For instance, dairy companies, tobacco companies, who, despite the overwhelming science, keep manufacturing and promoting their unhealthy products. I couldn't ever see myself doing that, putting as much effort into my job as businesspeople have to, purely for money. This is the exception though, I don't see these people as "real" enterpreneurs, they in fact are nothing more than greedy bastards and they have a very unfortunate, damaging effect on the reputation of businesspeople.<br><br><br><br>
I'm 100% certain that for most enterpreneurs, money is simply not the biggest motivating factor - it is not for me. Most products (certainly most <i>innovative</i> products) out there are children of love at least as much as they are fruits of labor.
 

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For the most part, I agree with Oatmel and Peebs.<br><br><br><br>
Corporations are not really good or bad. It depends upon your perspective. I support companies that most of you probably consider "bad"...so? If a corporation has no market, it will disappear or change its practices. If it does have enough customers, then you just have to accept that the rest of us have different values than you do.<br><br><br><br>
I do have to laugh about how the term "corporation" is used so loosely. You (for those who do this) do realize that some corporations have only 2 employees, right?<br><br><br><br>
I also chuckle when someone complains about corporations having "rights", as if shareholders (i.e. the owners) should lose all of their rights because they become investors. And please, no one try and tell me that a corporation has the same rights as a person. They can't vote, and can anyone really say that companies shouldn't be free of government censorship or illegal search and seizure by the police?<br><br><br><br>
Okay, I'm done venting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tame</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Okay, I'm done venting.</div>
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See how nice people are here, Peebs? Tame was venting and I didn't even know it until he was done. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:"><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Oatmeal</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
There are nasty corporations though. For instance, dairy companies, tobacco companies, who, despite the overwhelming science, keep manufacturing and promoting their unhealthy products. I couldn't ever see myself doing that, putting as much effort into my job as businesspeople have to, purely for money. This is the exception though, I don't see these people as "real" enterpreneurs, they in fact are nothing more than greedy bastards and they have a very unfortunate, damaging effect on the reputation of businesspeople.<br><br><br><br>
I'm 100% certain that for most enterpreneurs, money is simply not the biggest motivating factor - it is not for me. Most products (certainly most innovative products) out there are children of love at least as much as they are fruits of labor.</div>
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I'm sure that the people who work for the dairy industries don't sit around thinking they are poisoning families who drink dairy! I doubt the majority think that their dairy promotions are evil either! Cigarettes are known to be bad, but I really wouldn't be surprised if some of the higher Philip Morris employees thought they were doing a good thing. After all, on their website (wait, do you want PM USA or PM Internatonal?) you can learn how to quit smoking.<br><br><br><br>
Because of money anyone can rationalize enough to make their job seem good/fair/important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I guess that my main argument is this: That it's starting to seem to me that one can't be a "good" modern activist, environmentalist, philanthropist, lover of neighborhoods and enjoyer of local culture if one is supporting corporations which raise large amounts of money for small numbers of people, increases monoculture both in society and in agriculture, makes suburbs instead of neighborhoods for the sake of profit, et cetera.<br><br><br><br>
I work for a corporation, I rationalize that it's "good," but I can't wait until the day that I'm back in Vermont shopping at local co-ops again. I can't go back yet because I'm not ready. I want to move to San Francisco, probably get another degree there, and then move back. I'm using my work as a tool to move around the country with stability, but I'm working for something that would make me cry if it moved to my homestate and closed co-ops. My company isn't <i>that</i> "good."<br><br><br><br>
I feel entirely hypocritical, but I'm wondering if I'm just overacting. That's what I mean by asking "are some corporations good?" I want to know if my current rationale for working for a corporation is solid.<br><br><br><br>
I wonder, "Does my work cause more good than harm in the world?" It's most certainly spreading the sale of organic and all-natural foods which is good for society's health and for agriculture. It's a pretty good paying job, and it caps what the highest paid employees make to a number of times what the lowest employee makes. It's what caused the national organic standards law to be passed, but is it good that a corporation has interest in the laws, and that much power in government? In general I think "yes, good corporation," but at the same time, it closes local business, it funnels money to investors, it spreads monoculture socially and agriculturally, it thrives in suburbs, off highways (places I can't stand as an architect and environmentalist), and it treats its employees as a resource instead of actual people. These things <i>I</i> shouldn't support.<br><br><br><br>
And that's what makes me ask, "hey, are there any corporations that are "good"? I guess you could look at this as "are there any corporations that are good enough for mikie?" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/laugh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":lol:"><br><br><br><br>
I hope that makes sense.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Peebs</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Corporations are only as evil as their customers.</div>
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dunno about that.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/19/news/companies/skilling/index.htm?cnn=yes" target="_blank">http://money.cnn.com/2004/02/19/news...ex.htm?cnn=yes</a><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Skilling arrested, to face charges<br><br><br><br>
Ex-Enron CEO surrenders to authorities to face charges related to the energy company's collapse.<br><br>
February 19, 2004: 8:11 AM EST<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
NEW YORK (CNN) - Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, under investigation for two years after the collapse of the energy giant, surrendered to the FBI early Thursday in Houston.<br><br><br><br>
Skilling was set to face criminal charges in federal court in Houston later Thursday, people familiar with the criminal investigation of Enron said.<br><br><br><br>
The Houston Chronicle reported that Skilling was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury and sealed Wednesday.<br><br><br><br>
The details of the charges being brought were not clear.<br><br><br><br>
Skilling, 50, would be the highest-ranking former Enron official charged in the government's investigation.<br><br><br><br>
The indictment would come on the heels of a plea agreement with former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow, who agreed to serve 10 years in prison and cooperate with investigators probing the collapse of Enron.<br><br><br><br>
Bruce Hiler, Skilling's Washington-based lawyer, has repeatedly denied his client did anything wrong. Hiler has said Skilling relied on his subordinates, lawyers and accountants.<br><br><br><br>
The collapse of the company in late 2001 has come under scrutiny by the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and numerous congressional committees seeking answers as to how the Houston-based energy company that once stood at No. 7 on the Fortune 500 could fall so quickly.<br><br><br><br>
Skilling, unlike other top Enron officials, did not invoke his Fifth Amendment rights when questioned by Congress in early 2002. He has blamed Enron's death spiral on what he has called a classic "run on the bank."<br><br><br><br>
"It is my belief that Enron's failure was due to a classic run on the bank, a liquidity crisis spurred by a lack of confidence in the company," he testified before Congress.<br><br><br><br>
"At the time I left the company, I fervently believed that Enron would continue to be successful in the future. I did not believe the company was in any imminent financial peril."<br><br><br><br>
Skilling served as president and COO of Enron from late 1996 to early 2001. He was then appointed CEO, but resigned six months later, in August 2001, just five months before Enron filed for bankruptcy.<br><br><br><br>
The only person higher up the Enron chain than Skilling is its former chairman and longtime CEO, Kenneth Lay, who has not been charged and whose attorney has denied he was involved in any wrongdoing.<br><br><br><br>
According to congressional investigators, Skilling sold more than 500,000 shares of Enron stock for more than $21 million in 1999 alone, and profited greatly by cashing in more stock in the months before the collapse.<br><br><br><br>
Enron's questionable partnerships hid more than $1 billion in debt, ultimately plunging the company into bankruptcy.<br><br><br><br>
"I spent probably most of my professional life helping to build Enron Corporation," Skilling told CNN's Larry King in 2002. "I don't think there was anyone that was as shocked by the collapse of the company as I was."<br><br><br><br>
Pressed on the matter, Skilling was asked, "You didn't see anything coming?"<br><br><br><br>
"Not only that, Larry, I'd go even farther than that. I think we had made some tremendous progress in the six months before I left," the former CEO said.<br><br><br><br>
King asked, "Then why did you leave?"<br><br><br><br>
"I was tired," he replied.<br><br><br></div>
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I wonder how customers contributed to this situation.
 

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Was the corporation "bad"? Or were individuals within the corporation "bad"?<br><br><br><br>
Or is that too complex of a thought process for the anti-corporation types?<br><br>
If a partner in a partnership is corrupt, does that make all partnerships corrupt? Does it make the other unknowing partners corrupt?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tame</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Was the corporation "bad"? Or were individuals within the corporation "bad"?<br><br><br></div>
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hm...."I was just following orders" ?! where did I hear that before?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>1vegan</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
hm...."I was just following orders" ?! where did I hear that before?</div>
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Where did I or anyone else say that?<br><br>
Some people are corrupt. That doesn't <i>automatically</i> make an entire organization corrupt, and it certainly doesn't say anything about a business type.<br><br>
In the case of Enron, obviously a culture of deceit developed. Is that because it is a corporation, or because of the people in positions of power?<br><br>
I see non-profits staffed by people that engage in corrupt behavior. Does that implicate all non-profits?
 
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