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The Corporation

Discussion in 'Randomination' started by Bullet, 14 Sep 2015.

  1. Bullet

    Bullet Jack Jull

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    I just watched a film on my Amazon Fire TV Stick Prime membership dongle doo-dah called The Corporation.

    In it they paint a bleak picture of the future of humanity and describe at length how corporations have grown and grown in power, they are now multi-national so are more powerful than individual governments.

    Most of them use slave labour or massively pollute the environment or plunder resources or collude with governments to do terrible things. Going back to IBM and their alleged collusion with nazis to process those sent to concentration / death camps and various examples through to the present day.

    The fundamental "problem" or cause being that corporations have a responsibility to the shareholders to make money. Even if the CEO is a good person who would like to reduce the bad things and increase the good things, they have to do what gleans most money for the shareholders, that is their job.

    They had the CEO of big companies admitting this and saying they worry about the world and would like to good but that isn't their job and implying they would be sacked if they did.

    I'm not a hippy, I've never been on a rally and probably never will. I am a normal bloke, drive a big car, don't particularly care about these issues more than you do.

    But it made me wonder if there is a ranked list of companies, in order of some crude measure of goodness/badness so I can choose where to shop i.e. we all know allegedly Coke do bad things, and GAP, and IBM, and ... well most corporations really... so who do I choose? Starbucks get pelters for not paying tax, loads of companies use slave labour... is there a website that gives me a simple listing?

    The upshot of this seemed to be that corporations would continue to act in this way (as that is how they are designed and set up) unless either (1) customers stopped using the worst offenders so corporations had to change tack to gain back sales or (2) pollution etc was somehow a commodity which could be traded, so you are allowed to pump 200 units of sulphur dioxide into the environment as that is the inevitable outcome of your business, but you have to buy the right to do it and can trade those stocks on the stock market somehow, so that pollution was all part of the CEO's job to control for shareholders.
     
  2. glasgowspur

    glasgowspur Jimmy Neighbour

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    Everyone does it, not just corporations. Exploiting, polluting or evading tax, whatever it is we are all at it somewhere.
    I have two friends who jump up and about the bankers and all the rich. They see themselves as good moral people above reproach. So one day when all this got to much for me during a discussion where they were laying off I asked a few questions, the company van you drive for private use with free fuel, do you declare it? Er, no.
    Second guy, self employed, do you withhold the invoices for the work you do for my company for up to a year to avoid going over the 40% tax threshold? Well, yes but......
    My dad lectured me on the greed of the supermarkets and the poor farmers. Where do you buy your milk dad? Asda. Why? It's cheap.
    Just a couple of examples of. It's makes people feel better to point out everyone else's faults and ignore their own.
    Would we really do any different if we were the CEOs? I doubt it.
     
    Gazzasrightboot likes this.
  3. 7percent

    7percent Pascal Chimbonda

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    You could spend hours researching it all yourself, just to buy a chocolate bar.

    I want to stop using restaurants that treat their waiting staff badly. All sorts of things like Cafe Rouge etc keeping tips and stuff like that.
     
  4. Baleforce

    Baleforce Paul Miller

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    Corporations are just people. At the end of the day, everyone is a Cnut who would sell their own children for the right amount of money, we are a greedy and selfish species, that isn't going to change.
     
  5. Bullet

    Bullet Jack Jull

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    Yes, but my question was... is there a website that has ranked companies so I can choose which despicable company to give my money to, all other things being equal?

    There must be a market for this; if a brand made a big point about how ethical it was etc. I know some companies do the "Fair Trade" thing and pretend that their producers are paid fairly but I assume if you scratch beneath the veneer they are still bad. So... is there a list some sap has compiled for me?
     
  6. 7percent

    7percent Pascal Chimbonda

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    Oh yeah, and palm oil is EVERYWHERE.
     
  7. the dza

    the dza Christian Ziege

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    Isn't that where pure greed comes in though? If you're worth tens of millions but still have to f**k over others just to get a few quid more, it is different than a self-employed van driver saving a bit of tax imo. He needs the money, the guy with tens of millions doesn't need it. My 2p worth anyway (and I'll be keeping that 2p coz I'm skint.)
     
  8. glasgowspur

    glasgowspur Jimmy Neighbour

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    That's fine, you want to have a small fiddle going on, but two things,
    1, don't moan about all the essential services being starved of money. If everyone adopts that attitude, and I think they do, then what? What's to stop Richard Branson for instance saying well the £10m or whatever it is a year I pay is small beer in comparison to the billions the government has for its budgets so it won't be missed.
    2. ultimately everyone will do what's best for themselves. Why? Because rightly or wrongly they everyone is else is doing the same.

    As for a list of good and bad then really that's just a list of whoever has made the lists opinion of good or bad based on their agenda.
     
    Gazzasrightboot likes this.
  9. the dza

    the dza Christian Ziege

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    The government is very good at stopping the small fiddle though, they come down on small business or benefit fraud like a ton of hot horse sh1t. But if Vodafone is a few BILLION quid out on their tax, then they will negotiate. Let's start with the big fish first, then we can move on to White Van Man.
     
  10. Superted

    Superted Jonathan Woodgate

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    Google the worst clams of all. Because of them, the world clams shows up as clams. Utter clams.

    But yeah, no ones gonna change the world for the good. Nice people don't end up in positions of influence to make a difference.
     
  11. glasgowspur

    glasgowspur Jimmy Neighbour

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    Funny
    Strange, I see small fiddles everywhere every day that generally seem to be ignored.
    Two wrongs don't make a right.
     
  12. Gazzasrightboot

    Gazzasrightboot Pascal Chimbonda

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    I agree with what @glasgowspur has said. When people talk about the big corporations and their stance in tax say Starbucks or Amazon, that is only one part of tax. There are all of the other elements like VAT, PAYE, employers NIC etc... They take advantage of loop holes that the governments themselves provide. It's all perfectly legal, and all perfectly rational.

    @Bullet - there are some sites that show it, but none that I trust implicitly. Sites such as these are in existence:

    http://www.thegoodshoppingguide.com/ethical-business-rating-tables-and-ethicality-audits/
    http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalcompanyratings.aspx
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/03/06/the-worlds-most-ethical-companies-in-2013/

    However, I would say take with a pinch (somtimes heavy pinch) of salt.

    Take the amazon example - Yes, they have used legal loopholes to avoid paying corporation tax. However, when you factor in the VAT, and other taxes that they pay, plus the jobs that they have created on which PAYE etc... is paid, they probably net contribute more than most. If people have a problem with the loophole, then get the government to close the loophole. Don't criticise the people/companies that are exploiting the loophole, most of which are hugely well known and that keep the accountancy firms in business.

    This whole area needs global thinking and global co-operation between governments that just is not going to happen. Take a developing nation, can we morally enforce a regime on them that says you cannot get developed in the same way that we have by using cheap polluting technology and instead you can only do so by using the modern less polluting technology that we can sell you.

    The whole thing is a moral dillemma on an epic scale. Asking people to do the right things themselves individually however small the fiddle is as complicated as getting governments to co-operate and act in the best interests of the world.
     
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  13. Mr_B

    Mr_B Jose Dominguez

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    this is all very well summed up in the opening scene of Monty Python's meaning of life, 30+ years on, its actually a very relevant scene still.
     
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