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Google Announces “Legalise Love” Campaign

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Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe is the current head of Diversity and Inclusion at Google for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Some may recall a time when major corporations didn’t have Diversity and Inclusion offices, but the 21st century is a unique and colorful time. Palmer-Edgecumbe has a strong background in D&I, having been a chief executive at Ari Diversity Consulting practice, and before that having six years as Global Head of Diversity at Barclays Group. The enthusiastic Palmer-Edgecumbe writes prolifically on the subject in a D&I blog for the Online Guardian in the United Kingdom. Prior to his full time entry into the Diversity field, the Google spokesman had a solid background in economics, and was a Head of Industry Analysis.

Google has launched a Legalise Love campaign in an effort to decriminalize homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world. Palmer-Edgecumbe calls Google employees “Googlers” and explains that Google, “Encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. In all of Google’s 60 offices around the world, Google is committed to a work environment where Googlers can be themselves and thrive.” He indicates that Google is a leader in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion efforts, and feels that there is still a long way to go to “achieve full equality.” His goal is that Google employees should be safe and accepted wherever they are. One particular and initial thrust of the Legalize Love campaign is in response to the non-legality of gay marriage in Singapore and Poland.

Google has chosen to focus on Poland in particular owing to its largely Roman Catholic population and the Polish opposition to gay marriage. But Google makes the point that this is not an attack on the Catholic Church, rather a way to support gay marriage and Barack Obama. Google will extend the initiative to “every country where the company has an office, especially in places with cultures that are homophobic, and/or where anti-gay laws exist.”

Google feels a company should have a distinctive and unique corporate image, and that the company will benefit from an image they feel is representative of thinking in the modern world. In September of 2008, a co-founder and president in Technology at Google, Sergey Brin, posted commitments to a policy favoring gay marriage in the company’s official blog. Brin prefaced his remarks at that time by saying that because of “Google’s diversity of people and opinions on political and social issues, including religion or the absence of religion, [they] ordinarily don’t take positions on issues outside [their] field.” However, they felt a need to take exception to the matter of gay marriage. Brin conceded that when Proposition 8, dealing with gay marriage, appeared on California ballots, it was “an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on. However,” Brin continued, “disallowance of gay marriage is an encroachment on our personal lives. It is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.”

Google has fought for fairness in these issues. Google covers a tax that gay and lesbian employees must bear when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits. This fee is not charged by the government for heterosexual married couples.

It would seem that gay rights, toleration, and same-sex marriage are the wave of the future. The once taboo is now the daily course. We hope that our modern philosophers are correct in their thinking, Hindsight we remember, is 20/20.

photo courtesy of citywomen.co.uk

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • Baronius

    “The once taboo is now the daily course.”

    A billions-dollar US company intervening in the domestic policies of foreign governments, and imposing its view upon other cultures, as an act of support for the American president would have been taboo to liberals; now I guess it’s the daily course.

  • zingzing

    you guys opened this pandora’s box. besides, which is worse, using your corporate “free speech” to wrestle power away from individual citizens, or using your corporate “free speech” to see that your employees are able to live life with some dignity, no matter where you send them to work?

    anyway, you’re really stretching on this one.

  • John Lake

    Google takes on his Papal excellency with “Legalize Love” is hardly stretching.

  • zingzing

    i was talking to baronius.

  • John Lake

    right.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Baronius: So if Google were to express disapproval of the execution by stoning of women in Iran for adultery, is that an acceptable “intervention in the domestic policies of a foreign government”? How about the company refusing to comply with government-mandated censorship of the Internet in China?

  • Zingzing

    Wonderful, doc. But will baronius see the inanity of his position? (and yes, baronius, systematic discrimination is just as bad as stoning women and censoring the public.)

  • Baronius

    I wasn’t actually taking a position on this one. I was just laughing at how the “principled” left hates corporations and imperialism, unless it’s liberal corporations and liberal imperialism.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    What’s imperialistic about desiring that governments respect human rights?

  • John Lake

    Google is blatantly aggressive in advancing the cause of global corporate-dominated society. And incidentally, liberal corporation is oxy-moronic.

  • Zingzing

    A corporation that (at least in this instance,) respects the dignity of its employees! Oh no! Baronius, you’re still stretching. You may be laughing, but there’s no joke there… You just think there is, which kinda makes you the thing worth laughing at. What next, a company refuses to use sweatshop labor and that’ll be imperialism? Come on, it’s the 90s, man, get with the times.

  • Doug Hunter

    Nothing wrong with free speech. Probably plays well in the target ‘hip’ demographic where they recruit employees. Programmers tend to be either liberal or libertarian. Perhaps even a little sleight of hand to divert from their record on privacy, etc. Pretty good PR if you ask me.

  • http://blogging-along-with-pete.wallinside.com peter petterson

    Interesting post John. So Google is a leader in promoting ‘love’ around the world. Will they also financially support Barack Obama’s campaign because he too supports gay marriage/

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Baronius, I wasn’t aware that the “left”, unprincipled or principled, hates corporations. Given that falsity, I can only assume that imperialism was thrown in there for dramatic, if inaccurate, effect.

    As I understand it, modern politics is a nuanced game with many players, so why shouldn’t a company get involved with encouraging diversity and inclusion, just as companies lobby on many different areas of concern?

    Is the criticism of this action not actually based upon disagreement with the theme on “religious” grounds rather than an objection to political lobbying?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The problem of the beneficent dictator. Good thing Mitt Romney doesn’t own Google.

    Not sure I like tons o’ power in the hands of ‘persons’ whose main interest, by law, is self-interest or greed.

    Not that I can complain about the outcome in this instance. But it’s more likely that a globally dominating corporation is not going to be so humble and lovable.

    I was just reading about the northern slave trade industry. (sort of something not brought into relief historically) The slave traders were known for their philanthropy.

  • Igor

    8-Baronius: a tortured combination of strawman and ‘tu quoque’ arguments, both invalid. Wry irony doesn’t improve them.

  • Baronius

    Cindy – I was thinking of you when I read this article. The other replies on this thread seem so excited about the ends that they’re willing to overlook the means, but I’m glad that someone out there is consistent in their thinking, even though I don’t agree with it. The other comments sound like a member of the school safety patrol getting in the back of a stranger’s van in exchange for something shiny.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, I realize it’s hard to keep a comprehensive mental catalogue of every BC denizen’s suite of views, but I, for one, don’t recall much shrieking about “evil corporations” in the past from myself, Chris or even zing for that matter. (And my editorial position does mean that I have to pay more attention to comments than most.)

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Baronius’ #16 is a classic example of someone desperately trying to create a diversion because they have no competent response to the comprehensive demolition of their inane argument…

  • Baronius

    Dread – That could be true. I think that the original author does some corporation-bashing, as does Zing, but I don’t recall any from you. Chris only seems to comment where religion is involved.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Chris only seems to comment where religion is involved.

    Internet marketing, association football and Spanish leather boots have also been known to stir him into eloquence!

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Wrong again, Baronius. I comment positively whenever context allows and also expose and rebut poorly constructed arguments of any kind.

    Alas, there are often more of the latter than the former unless wise folk such as the formidable Doc Dreadful are involved.

    For the record, I am generally pro business, although I do think its excesses need limiting, and also consider that the mindless pursuit of profits at all cost without any higher purpose is potentially damaging, which current global financial stresses are tending to confirm.

    I favour small government whenever possible whilst also recognising that placing some limitations on personal and corporate actions is necessary.

    I’m open to the notion that there could be a better political system than constitutional democracy but am as yet unpersuaded that there is and I don’t have any problems with controlled capitalism at all.

    Indeed, I believe capitalism has the potential to drive the solutions to most practical problems humanity faces, a belief supported by the incredible progress the world has seen in the last 100 years and which I expect to become more profound if we manage to avoid poisoning the planet or destroying ourselves through extreme war.

    Beyond that, I’ll happily chat about anything from music to sport, especially if it involves football in general or my beloved Manchester United in particular.

  • Zingzing

    Baronius, do you have nothing but warm, gooey thoughts for corporations? If so, why? And why am I not allowed to dislike certain things corporations do, and be glad about other things that they do? Is that a logical inconsistency, or is that just you making up some more baronial rules? Your initial point–that google’s stance on homophobia and systematic discrimination was tantamount to imperialism–was ridiculous, as is your silly demand that we be all for or all against corporations in general. What makes you think either of those things are even close to reasonable?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Corporations deserve to be bashed when they do something wrong and praised when they do something right, just as everyone else does (after all they are, as our would-be next president is fond of reminding us, also people). However, I’ve yet to be convinced that they are the Ultimate Manifestations of Evil.

    That said, I am glad that 95% of my working life thus far has been in the public sector. I’ve done some temping for private companies in the past and don’t think I would enjoy working for one. Nothing tangible against them; they’re just… weird.

  • Baronius

    Zing, no reason you can’t think so. But to say that corporations are bad because they’re corporations, but good when they’re promoting a progressive agenda, does smack of contradiction. As for the charge of imperialism, I think it’s what the liberal side would say if, for example, Exxon announced that it was going to oppose homosexual unions worldwide in support of President McCain.

  • Zingzing

    Never said they were bad because they were corporations. I have nothing against corporations’ existence, but I don’t like it when they do stuff that’s detrimental to the world just to bolster their bottom line. Why should I?

    As for your exxon thing… I don’t know if “in support of president xxx” has any real meaning whatsoever, but there’s a huge difference between supporting human rights and dignity and trampling on them, so if you want to call me a hypocrite for supporting human rights and dignity, then go ahead…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But to say that corporations are bad because they’re corporations

    Need more straw, Baronius?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I think it’s what the liberal side would say if, for example, Exxon announced that it was going to oppose homosexual unions worldwide in support of President McCain.

    Actually, Google didn’t say that they were doing it in support of President Obama. That seems to be entirely John’s idea.

  • John Lake

    In fact the editorial from The Examiner was steeped in opinion. The author in part says, “The techno-giant Google recently went public in its request to urge governments to support gay marriage. Google’s gay marriage campaign, “Legalize Love”, was launched in an effort to make gay marriage the ‘norm’.” (too much opining; I didn’t repeat it). He goes on to quote a 2010 study by a Polish newspaper. Here’s that quote: “Google chose Poland due to its Roman Catholic makeup and strong opposition of gay marriage. A 2010 study in Rzeczpospolita, a Polish newspaper, showed that 79% of Poles opposed gay marriage. Google’s focus on Poland is not a direct attack on the Catholic Church, but a way to show its continued support of gay marriage and Barack Obama [who’s Presidency it strongly supports].”

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Well, the Examiner op-ed writer’s idea, then. As far as I can see, the Legalize Love webpage doesn’t mention the President at all.

  • Baronius

    I took John Lake’s word for something without double-checking it. I am a bonehead.

    But on the point of hating corporations, a lot of Occupy-types have been saying exactly that – that corporations are inherently evil. So my point about the ends justifying the means is legitimate. People who think that corporations shouldn’t exercise power should be concerned when corporations exercise power towards an end that they approve of. People who accept any means of accomplishing ends that they approve of shouldn’t be trusted.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But those aren’t the people who’ve been commenting on this thread, nor are any Occupy activists discussed or quoted in the article.

    It’s time to leave the goalposts where they are and concede gracefully, Baronius.

  • Baronius

    Sigh. Dread, as I was the first person to comment on this thread, I wasn’t replying to anyone in particular. Nor was I attempting to construct a systematic argument on the subject. I was just poking fun at the inconsistency which I’ve noted.

  • Zingzing

    Except it’s not really an inconsistency, except in the mind of a rather extreme, totally fictional liberal which you decided to make up, baronius. You ascribe some sort of weird idea to both the word liberal (now we hate all corporations all the time) and the word imperialism (you never quite noted how this is imperialism…). You’re poking fun, but only at something you’re imagining. It’s like Archie going on about how we all love dead babies and want the terrorists to win. Know your enemy, not some ridiculous concotion of your own imagination.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You want Google supporting human rights, you also get Maquiladora factories in Mexico where workers earn less than $1/hr working for US companies. They don’t have much housing costs though, they can buy a pallet from their boss for about $1, and drag it to the squatter village.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But this is all academic. Corporations do have imperialistic power. I am against corporations having any power.

    Still, Baronius, for me anyway, this van contains a harmless stranger tossing candy, not a pedophile. That, for me is a relief.

  • Doug Hunter

    “You want Google supporting human rights, you also get Maquiladora factories in Mexico where workers earn less than $1/hr working for US companies.”

    Wow, that sucks. It’s a shame that’s the best opportunity those people have… I suppose the only thing worse than working at a Maquiladora factory is not working at a Maquiladora factory, else they wouldn’t do it.

    I’m glad those US companies are giving poor starving third worlders jobs, even if it doesn’t suit your ideals. Capitalist factories have a track record of pulling more countries, families, and individuals out of poverty than virtually anything else.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    that’s propaganda

  • roger nowosielski

    “It’s a shame that’s the best opportunity those people have…”

    It’s a shame the above proposition doesn’t reek with irony but is articulated with a straight face.

    Want a better solution? Seize power and appropriate the means of production and the land which has been misappropriated by the corrupt ruling classes lured by prospects of American brand of prosperity.

    US corporations have never been about enriching the natives or the colonized. Heck, they’re about to impoverish our own middle/working classes and send them back to the stone ages. You’re delusional, Doug.

  • troll

    (hi Roger – it was a pleasure to meet you face to face…’are you there yet?’)

  • Clav

    Heck, they’re about to impoverish our own middle/working classes and send them back to the stone ages

    Really??? They are actually that stupid, they don’t realize that impoverishing the middle/working class peasants will destroy their principal market for their goods and services?

    I don’t think so.

    C’mon Roger you (and the corporations) know better than that…

  • Doug Hunter

    #38

    Sure, steal the factory then face sanctions costing you more than the factory would ever make and ensure that no other company will ever invest with you… about as practical an idea as I’d expect from you.

    #37

    I don’t know what is propaganda. Must be the first statement that factory work is their best opportunity. Of course, you enjoy judging others and feel you know better, but they vote with their actions and I don’t argue their decision. I’m all for letting people do what they do.

    The fact that the rise of industrialization and capitalism has pulled the most people out of poverty and my opinion on poor people receiving opportunities seem fairly innocuous. (Although I’m sure we’d quibble on the details, you wouldn’t dare give capitalism credit for anything so you’d pin it on some secondary effect that just mysteriously happens to arise once capitalism brings capital to an area.)

  • roger nowosielski

    @39

    Likewise, my man. Will be in the Bay Area later today. Will talk.

  • troll

    (hey Doug – those of you who were skeptical about Occupy’s ability to come back in the spring were correct…the 5th of May people in Spain with whom I’m in contact attribute this to fear of job loss

    here in the US it looks like many participants have moved on to splintered projects)

  • Doug Hunter

    #43

    ??? I don’t remember opining about the staying power of OWS (it’s entirely possible though, my memory is entirely shot) I found them and the tea party quite intriguing, if for nothing but to remind politicians there were factors other than money out there. It’s too bad they both faded.

  • troll

    Doug – iirc you and I had be brief exchange some months ago on the topic – you were interested in what was being planned and seemed skeptical though I easily could have read more of this skepticism into your question than was actually there

    …and of course as I am insane I might have had the conversation with one of my many imaginary friends

  • Doug Hunter

    #39, 42

    I’ve not met anyone on the site, although there’s a few I’d like to. Closest (I use the term loosely) I’ve been to the Bay Area was a couple weeks in San Diego last year. I’m in Austin a fair bit, but I don’t have many exchanges with Nalle (probably just get shot if I approached his compound anyway). If anyone ever gets stuck in the Dallas area for a few days… I do my best prognosticating in person over beer.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    When I get stuck in Dallas it’s invariably at DFW waiting for a connection. Still, I’d like to visit properly one of these fine days. I wanna see Southfork Ranch.

    Let me know if you’re ever back in San Diego, which is my home these days. And contains a gratifyingly enormous number of breweries.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Doug,

    Everything you said there is propaganda. IMO, you’d have to actually find out what the people working in the factories think. If you don’t take into consideration the povs that are marginalized, you are just reasserting propaganda that fits in with your ideology.

    I find nothing in your analysis that shows you have looked at information that is there and challenges your notions–like land privatization (for one thing, for more you will have to take an interest yourself). What I see is what corporation supporters say corporations do. What is missing is what the people in the factories say happened to them.

    It would be one thing to disagree with the missing information, it’s something else to simply disregard it or fail to explore it.

    But if you wish to do that, please carry on. I can’t take what you say seriously.

  • Igor

    Many Mexican peasants are driven into the Maquiladoras when traditional Mexican farms are driven out of business by cheap US crops, which were heavily subsidised by US citizens, who gained little or nothing. Thus, both Mexican and US citizens get ripped off by the same deal. Whoopee.

  • Igor

    @40-Clav: But that’s exactly what they ARE doing: impoverishing our citizens and setting them back.

    Really??? They are actually that stupid, they don’t realize that impoverishing the middle/working class peasants will destroy their principal market for their goods and services?

    They are working a financial play, not an industrial play. All that is important is shortterm gains, not the future.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    There you go, Doug. See what Igor posted about the subsidized crops and the flood of cheap crops (mainly corn I think)? That is but one thing you could have found out.

  • Doug Hunter

    I’ll be sure and put cheap food at the top of my list of world problems.

  • Clav

    traditional Mexican farms are driven out of business by cheap US crops…

    There is no such thing as a traditional Mexican farm.

    First, when they arrived in the 16th century, the Spaniards grabbed all the land and established enormous haciendas (akin to southern US plantations), on which the indígenas were employed as sharecroppers earning less than subsistence; they survived by growing tiny crops on miniscule scraps of land around their huts. This system persisted for centuries, reaching its zenith during the “Porfiriato,” the reign of much hated president Porfirio Díaz.

    In 1910, after Díaz fixed the presidential election to win by a “landslide,” the peasants, led by his opponent, Francisco I. Madero, aided by allies including Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, rose up against Díaz and the haciendados (hacienda landed gentry), in what would become the most important (and bloodiest) conflict in all of Mexican history, La Revolución Mexicana, the Mexican Revolution. Madero and his peasant troops threw Díaz out of office, and Madero succeeeded Díaz in 1911, however the Revolution, by then a nationwide civil war, raged on until 1920, but managed to give birth to the Mexican Constitution in 1917, and established the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (National Revolutionary Party) in 1929. Later renamed the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Revolutionary Institutional Party) in 1946, it would rule Mexico until 2000.

    Madero was a weak and ineffective president, and was soon succeeded by Victoriano Huerta, who was in turn followed by Venustiano Carranza. None of these satisfied Emiliano Zapata, who had led an enormous army of peasants on the promise of land reform.

    Widely admired by the peasants he led, Zapata, whose motto was “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees,” vowed to return the land to the people. To that end he developed and wrote the Plan De Ayala, which was not put into effect until a good while after Zapata’s death, but which did serve as the basis for land reform. Zapata was, and continues to be, one of Mexico’s greatest heroes.

    But Zapata did not live long enough to realize his dream of agrarian reform, and it wasn’t until the administration of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940), that the redistribution of land began. Dubbed ejidos (common lands), the new system’s farms were communes owned and operated by the former near-slaves of the haciendados.

    The ejidos did not last long, however. Through mismanagement, greed and the manipulations of the still-wealthy former landowners, the ejidos began to fail and be snapped up by the landed gentry once more.

    Today, Mexico is once again run by the wealthy and powerful, and the campesinos are either reduced to impoverishment trying to eke out a living as before in tiny scraps of barely arable land, or for those who fail, to flee to the cities and go to work (if they’re lucky) in the maquiladoras or to emigrate to the USA.

    Today, almost as many people live in Mexico City (95% of them in enormous slums surrounding the core city) 19.463 million, than lived in the entire country when I was born (21.3M). Mexico D.F. is the third largest urban area in the Americas; behind only Sao Paulo, Brasil, and New York.

    And the descendants of the Gachupines, the first Spaniards in Mexico, still rule over (and exploit terribly) the Mexicans…

    “Poor Mexico: So Far From God, And So Close to the United States!”

    ~Attributed to Porfirio Díaz

  • Clav

    They are working a financial play, not an industrial play. All that is important is shortterm gains, not the future.

    Crap, Igor. The vast majority of American businesses are small, often family enterprises whose focus is on running the business and serving their clients.

    I once speculated that you had a very bad experience working for a large corporation; your hatred (unwarranted) of them is obvious — to the degree that your rants about corporations totally lack credibility.

    Above is one such instance.

  • troll

    All that is important is shortterm gains, not the future.

    whose future are we talking about?

    Clav – how do you work this out when you put on your financial capitalist hat? Do you look for some kind of balance? When evaluating a company’s profitability how far ahead do you try to calculate? Do you think the ‘masters of the universe’ at say Bain use a similar equation?

    Did your broker have you invested in those notorious real estate based financial instruments? And what did you make of – or from =:0) – the leveraged position of the major financial houses in the 2000s?

    (understood that these questions are tangential to the discussion of corporations generally and to your comment to Igor)

    thanks for the history synopsis btw

  • troll

    Doug – cheap food?

    hell – it’s clearly too cheap already…the human starvation rate world wide of one every few seconds while impressive is insufficient to keep up with population growth let alone get us closer to the goal of 500000000

  • Igor

    Clav, your guesswork is no better than your logic. I only worked a little for big corps (3/4 of my career I was an independent, usually my own corporation) and they never screwed me because they never got a chance. I did see a big corp screw several of their loyal employees, but I was not involved.

    I do not hate corps, but I don’t trust them, and anyone who does is a fool. I formed my own corporations, sometimes with others, but often alone, specifically to take advantage of the extraordinary privileges available to corps, namely, limited liability and tax manipulations. Hey, just like Mitt Romney!

  • Clav

    troll,

    I’m not sophisticated enough about the financial world to give you what I think you’re looking for: a cogent, analytic and definitive picture of Wall Street corporate financial manipulations; I don’t invest directly: after several years of trying to do just that (in addition to my day job) with mediocre results, I long ago found a money management firm to do the tough, analytic part of the investing — of course, I watch the bottom line (in the context of what’s going on in general in the financial world), and judge their performance accordingly. It took a few tries, but several years ago I found a group who are quite good at what they do, and I’m happy with their results.

    Regarding the real estate based packages: they didn’t even try (they’re much too conservative for that); but had they done so, I had read enough about derivatives on my own (before the house of cards began to come apart), to have a pretty good idea of where it was likely to end, and would have stopped them.

    Not sure if I answered your questions…

  • Clav

    I do not hate corps, but I don’t trust them…

    Sure Dude, whatever.

  • Igor

    Clav: I’m just amazed that you, an independent worker, don’t avail yourself of the many benefits of incorporation! It only costs about $1600 for a full corp, and for an LLC it’s about $800, which is even better in some ways.

    The basic idea is to eliminate liability and to make more stuff tax-deductible. After awhile EVERYTHING becomes deductible. My pal Gino showed me how to make cars entirely deductible by forming a new corp to lease cars to oneself!

    Incorporation is great. You ship all expenses to work against income, and move all yields to be capital gains. That’s how you reduce your effective tax rate to 7-8%.

    Any modern parent should immediately incorporate a child to afford them protection from liability and taxes. It’s more important than a College Account.

  • John Lake

    Afterthought:
    You gentlemen will be pleased to know that today, Friday 13th, this article and the subsequent comment thread received in excess of 1000 reads!

  • Clavos

    I’ve been an S corp for some time Igor.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am going to tweak this to make it in line with my own pov.*

    [T]he campesinos are either reduced to [further] impoverishment [by the wealthy, and have now, by and large, been forcefully prevented from even] trying to eke out a living as before in tiny scraps of barely arable land. [Because, the USA neoliberal dominators have convinced the Mexican gov’t to privatize the commons, with the goal of forcing more to] fail, [and thus cause them] to flee to the cities and go to work…in the maquiladoras…

    That is how capitalists did it in England and that is how they do it all over. Maneuver to force the people into wage slavery. Leave them with absolutely no choice but to move to live in filthy tent camps, eating and breathing corporate pollution so that a capitalist (and the precious market) doesn’t have to meet the real needs of people.

    This is all justified by the fairness of everyone being greedy. A line usually proposed by either a) those to whom life has been most fair, B) those who swallow the propaganda that someday they will be the hammer instead of the nail.

    Someone is going to tell me that this system is necessary? We invented this. This is all we are capable of doing with all the resources and knowledge we have?

    99% of you are going to support this? Rationalize it?

    I am coming back later with some info on effects of the US and the Mexican gov’ts and the neoliberal corps on the politically powerless–from the perspective of the politically powerless.

    *(If I seem angry, that part of my comment is not directed to you, Clav. Just want to be sure to say that in advance, as my outrage always begins to flow as I talk about capitalism. Hope you are doing well and I still intend to come to come say hello some time.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I hate corporations. Yet, we have a system in which corporations make sense. Because they make sense, does not mean one must avail oneself of the evils they can accomplish.

    I doubt I will see either Clav or Igor lobbying the gov’t to enact strategies for global domination.

    Yet, there are corporations which do just that. So, is it the corporation itself or what they do that I hate?

    It is both, because the corporation is designed for those people who use it for global domination. If is happens to help me as a Clav or an Igor it’s a side effect.

    I think the change we need is one of consciousness.

  • Clav

    No offense taken, Cindy. As you say, neither I (and certainly not Igor) are personally forcing anyone to work anywhere they don’t want to.

    Although I often do force myself to work for no wage at all in the hope that I will get a payoff in the future.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Caution (To no one in particular–but this includes you, Doug Hunter ;-): If you don’t watch this video, you may not be able to knowledgeably discuss the decimating effects of US policies (aimed US corporate interests) on Mexican poor.

    If you do not watch all 10 minutes of it, you may not learn how Smithfield Ham, exemplifies what corporations can do to harm human beings.

    Why Do Mexican Workers Head North?

    The companion 8 minute video: NAFTA + US Farm Subsidies Devastates Mexican Agriculture

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Here‘s a good example of how democrats (claiming they are supporting the people) actually support the same people the Republicans support.

    One person at this table is telling the truth and another is spouting propaganda.

  • John Lake

    Didn’t mean to slight you, Cindy. Imagine Ross Perot using Power Point! Anachronistic, much?!

  • Igor

    Well it’s clear that we need something like corporations to conduct modern business, but it’s not at all necessary that they have the really extraordinary privileges that they have now.

    We need a reasonable way for large and small groups of people to invest arbitrary amounts of money into companies. Partnerships are unworkable. Co-ops have a mixed record, but there are things we can learn from them.

    Right now, as Clavos can attest, being a corp head is like being a kid in a candy store. So many juicy opportunities.

    IMO the corps can be saved with some changes in the way they are chartered, and enforcement of regulations. Also, anti-monopoly must be more vigorously pursued.

  • roger nowosielski

    “Well it’s clear that we need something like corporations to conduct modern business …

    “We need a reasonable way for large and small groups of people to invest arbitrary amounts of money into companies …”

    Who says?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Umm… Igor says?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (Hiya Roger,

    I gather you moved to California?

    Do you have a banjo on your knee?)

  • roger nowosielski

    Sure have, but it’s hardly the Haight-Ashbury, flowers in my hair scene.

    Read all about it in my next piece.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Igor,

    The function of corporation is to maximize profits for its shareholders. That creates a situation where all other considerations–very important human considerations–are beyond its purview. Thus, the corporate form itself insures that corporations will act in socially irresponsible ways whenever it suits them and for however long they can get away with it.

    I would need to hear why it necessary to have the corporate form and what other forms have been considered.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    That is only strictly true for corporations with large public shareholdings, Cindy, and even then there is lots of wiggle room for enlightened management to do more than simply chase the bottom line.

    As just two examples of other potentialities, privately owned companies have far more discretion as to what they do and there is a rapidly growing business sector of social entrepreneurialism that is interested in far more than just the bottom line.

    As for the corporate form, as far as I understand it there needs to be some kind of legally recognised structure that allows an entity to make legally binding agreements.

    If that was limited to natural persons, no business could last more than one person’s lifetime or be transferable.

    In my view, the nature of corporate activity is still evolving over time and it is not an inherent quality of a company to be impelled only towards negative outcomes from anything other than a purely commercial perspective.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    What I see is that corporations are mostly evolving in more harmful directions and that they are gaining more and more global dominance.

    Yes, that is true that private corporations can do as they wish with profitability. The most socially responsible people I know, who own a huge corporation (one of the fastest growing privately held corps in the US in the late 1980s according to USA today), and who are liberals, run their business as a sexist enterprise. They have zero female sales people because it is run in the typical ‘old boys network’ booze and golf style.

    So, in my experience, and from what I see around me in the world, the corporate model and the associated laws re public corps encourage (in the latter case–require) bad thinking and bad acting excused by the pursuit of profits. Still, I don’t doubt that there are a few people trying to be as socially responsible as they can be. If we are to survive as a species, your optimistic outlook had better be right.

    Chevron’s Toxic Legacy in Ecuador
    Chevron is responsible for one of the largest environmental disasters in history–the deliberate dumping of a massive amount of oil pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon–for which it was found guilty in February 2011 and ordered to pay $18 billion to clean up. The judgment was upheld by an appeals court in January 2012. Rather than take responsibility for the impacts of its business operations, however, Chevron is waging unprecedented public relations and lobbying campaigns to avoid having to clean up Ecuador–as well as several other environmental and public health catastrophes it has created around the world.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I know it is a horrible process at times but corporate culture, like human culture, learns by making mistakes.

    That doesn’t make it okay when they do such awful things as the example you gave of the Chevron situation in Ecuador – which I was unaware of and am angered by as Ecuador is top of my escape plan destinations short list.

    I hope they will be held to the terms of the judgement and clean up their mess but also note that if it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t have heard about it at all. Nowadays it is getting harder and harder to hide away such things, whereas in the past it was much easier to do so, which is an example of how things can get better.

    In your other example of the anonymous private corporation, I don’t understand why you characterise the owners as liberals, because liberalism and sexism are not at all natural allies. Indeed, I can’t actually make a connection between liberalism as I understand it and the type of “old boys network” you depict.

    Perhaps your understandable and healthy alienation from these kinds of ugly corporate practices are obscuring your vision of more positive developments that I see happening at an increasing rate all around the world.

    As to globalisation, in principle I think it is a good thing; humanity is still just one species and in some ways nationalist perspectives can be negative factors that serve to divide.

    Even if it isn’t their intention or purpose, the existence of globe spanning businesses clearly actually facilitates connections between previously more separate groups of people, which I think is a good thing.

    Who knows where this is all going? Not me, that’s for sure, but we are a very young species that is developing and learning all the time. Hopefully we will manage to significantly improve our world before the damage we have also done to it kills us all.

    It is easier to take action towards or even just hope for a positive outcome when you believe it is possible, so I see positivity as a survivalist concept.

    Overall, I think things are improving and that the process is speeding up as we as a species become more capable and informed.

  • Igor

    @70-roger: If we don’t have a defined, structured, regulated way for people to invest their surplus we cutoff the major source of investment capital and we frustrate would-be investors, and so industrious people will Find A Way, and it will be below the radar, some kind of gray investment scheme, that harms people with fraud, lack of regs, etc.

    What we need is a federally defined corporate charter and a federal corporate regulator.

    “We need a reasonable way for large and small groups of people to invest arbitrary amounts of money into companies …”

    Who says?

  • troll

    …it is possible to ‘do business’ based on a handshake baked up by social norms rather than government coercion (see Graeber’s discussion of business under Islam in his book Debt for example)

    I suspect that our liberal legal system will not outlive capitalism – the economic system that it has evolved to support

  • troll

    …seems to be a missing ‘c’ as in backed up – gotta clean this keyboard as I’m dropping letters in every comment

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Sure, of course it is possible to make an agreement based on one’s word, which is what a handshake is effectively but there are problems with that system too. How is it enforced when people are dishonest or corrupted by greed or become physically or mentally unwell? In the old days, before law and order was introduced for all, it was often settled by something violent, which doesn’t seem a good way to go.

    I always struggle to see capitalism as an actual source of systemic problems. Isn’t money effectively just a store of energy? Hard to see that as fundamentally corrupt.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    As I’ve said before, the only real protection the people have against the vagaries of Big Business…is government. That’s all the protection we’ve had, all we’ll ever have. Unfortunately – thanks to Our Boys in Republican Red (with an admitted bit of a helping hand from the Democratic Left) – it is now legal for Big Business to spend all they want to influence elections on the federal, state, and local levels.

    Reagan said that government is broken…and it looks like the GOP wanted to make damned sure it stayed that way.

  • roger nowosielski

    @81

    It’s interesting how greed and human nature are always being invoked to defend a system which, for all intents and purposes, encourages greed, so as to shoot down alternative economic systems, such as one based on mutual aid and cooperation, which are based on other principles than mere self-enrichment. Also, the nature of money, as a store of potential value/energy, is not at issue: the use we make of it is.

    As to the true effective nature of “law and order,” I wouldn’t put much store in it, as it tends to be geared to protect the ruling class – not unless we live in an ideal world. Of course, aspects of law, especially in liberal democracies, must reflect some concern with protecting the victim as well, so the illusion persist that law is fair and just. In any case, moral code precedes and trumps law, both chronologically and from the conceptual standpoint. There was a time when there used to be honor among men – a moral concept and a virtue. Legal contract is a poor substitute.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    There’s still honor – indeed, I believe that it was no more and no less present at any other time than now for the whole of humanity. It’s just that we’ve learned not to assume that the other guy has honor, to be able to prove which side’s telling the truth.

  • troll

    Chris #81 – as you so often point out the human species is young…perhaps we can develop a more civilized approach to conflict resolution than government thuggery (the legal/penal systems)

    …and certainly there is more to capitalism than the use of money?

    Glenn Contrarian #82 – forever is a really long time…I don’t have the stomach that you do for such universals

    as is often the case your argument is too steeped in the ‘necessity of the real’ for my tastes

    and as for the partisan stuff – really je ne give a damn pas…neither party represents the least among us or even wage slaves worth squat imo

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    troll, I think we are developing more civilized approaches to most things as we evolve. When we lived in caves most things were resolved with a good clubbing!

    I’m not sure there is much more to capitalism than the use of money when you get down to it. The opening paragraph of the article on that term in Wikipedia says “Capitalism is an economic system that is based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit. Competitive markets, wage labor, capital accumulation, voluntary exchange, and personal finance are also considered capitalistic. There are multiple variants of capitalism, including laissez-faire, mixed economies, and state capitalism. Capitalism is considered to have applied in a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics, and culture. There is general agreement that capitalism became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism.”

    If you accept my point that money is just a store of energy, capitalism is also just the way that energy is channeled, processed, transferred, transformed and ultimately either put to work or stored.

    What kind of usage that energy is put to is decided by people, not by capitalism, so I don’t see how it can be bad per se.

    As we develop better ways of doing things, we get better iterations of capitalism. There may be some other way of creating, processing and storing energy that will replace it, just as it replaced feudalism, but so far whatever that may be remains unclear.

    Until it does become more apparent, it seems to make sense to keep working towards better capitalism, which increasing numbers of people are in fact doing…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    In an organized nation of laws, what other protection do we have against the vagaries of Big Business? I mean, short of gathering ourselves together to physically attack corporate greed (which, btw, was what really happened with the Boston Tea Party – colonists against the British East India Company).

    To give you your due, though, I’m wrong – there is one other protection against Big Business: the press, and today that includes the blogosphere). But the press can hardly levy fines and criminal charges against Big Business – witness the almost total lack of prosecution of the fraudsters who caused the Great Recession, or of the BP’s bean-counters and their bosses who decided that the risk of a blowout didn’t justify the $500K cost of a blowout preventer.

    troll, no political group stays evil or stays good forever, and the best example would be the almost total flip-flop of the GOP and Dems as to which one was liberal, which one conservative. But right now you’ve got one party that’s sorta okay (but not all the time), and one that’s gone absolutely bat-crap looney-tunes. Bar yourself up in your ivory tower and render judgement on all you see if you like, but that’s your choice in the upcoming election.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    When we lived in caves most things were resolved with a good clubbing!

    A stereotype that I suspect is not entirely true. While there undoubtedly was a good deal of violence in paleohuman societies, casual violence wouldn’t have made much sense since survival was already perilous enough without all that additional drama.

    An overview of historical, archeological, paleontological and anthropological evidence makes it fairly obvious that generally speaking, the more sophisticated a human society or civilization becomes, the greater the capacity for and occurrence of unnecessary violence.

    There are, as you’ve noted, signs that we’re starting to turn this trend around, but violence as an undesirable way of resolving conflicts seems to be a concept that has only taken hold relatively recently.

  • troll

    Chris #86 – clearly any attempt to decide whether capitalism is ‘bad per se’ (assuming that that is a sensible question and a worthwhile project) in part would require analyzing its various features that differentiate it from other ways of organizing energy

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy
  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Christopher,

    Smithfield Corporation is a company I mentioned above. Here is what they say on their web site.

    Good food. Resposibly. (registered trademark)

    About Smithfield Foods

    Smithfield Foods is a global food company that goes above and beyond to provide good food in a responsible manner. We remain 100 percent committed to environmental leadership, community involvement, employee safety, animal care and high-quality food.

    Our wholly owned independent operating companies and joint ventures:

    Produce more than 50 brands of pork products and more than 200 gourmet foods
    Employ more than 52,400 individuals globally
    Make us the world’s largest producer and processor of pork

    Our Mission

    To be a trusted, respected and ethical food industry leader that excels at bringing delicious and nutritious meat and specialty food products to millions every day while setting industry standards for corporate social responsibility.

    Our Core Values

    We will constantly strive:

    To produce safe, high-quality, nutritious food.
    To be an employer of choice.
    To advance animal care.
    To protect the environment.
    To have a positive impact on our communities.

    Now that sounds pretty good, right? Sounds like a company going along the positive road you are describing. Keep all those statements in mind as I will demostrate what their connection with reality is.

  • troll

    …why do I get the feeling that we might want to skip breakfast if we’re going to view Cindy’s evidence?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Yeah, I knew about that. I didn’t say that government was always good or trustworthy or in any way a friend…but a lot of the time it’s one or all of the three. Of course, those proud in their cynicism will laugh at the notion, but government is made up of people, and people are usually good. It’s the not-so-common misfits that make the rest of us look bad.

  • Baronius

    #79 – Troll says that it’s possible to do business backed up by social norms rather than legal norms. That statement deserves a serious look.

    Without social or legal norms, business is impossible. With both, business is possible. With only legal norms, business becomes legalism, with each side scheming to arrange the best possible advantage. The degree to which this happens is one of the main points of contention on this thread.

    The fourth possibility, the one that Troll suggests, is social norms without legal norms. In theory it should work fine. But if you’ve done any international business, you know that societies without legal norms are ineffective and often corrupt. The theory doesn’t translate to practice. I think one reason for this failure is that societies with social norms tend to develop legal norms. They maybe don’t depend on them, but they recognize their value. Participation in a legal system becomes a gesture of social convention.

    Politically, I think the American revolutionaries held the position that legal systems are founded on social systems. Modern anarchists seem to hold the position that legal systems are contrary to social systems, or are at best disconnected to them.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    RE #89 – have at it, troll; not sure there are other potentialities available right now but I’m up for some exploration…

    Cindy, re your #91, maybe I’m more cynical but it just sounds like standard, generic, ass covering corporate bullshit to me. There are many companies that pay lip service to such notions but, unless it comes from and goes to the heart, it is just putting lipstick on a pig!

  • Igor

    @88-Dr D: I’m with you! Man is a gregarious animal. We would never have survived evolution if we were pre-disposed to social violence. Humans have weak claws and weak teeth, no fur covering, etc., and are utterly helpless without social support.

    Disagreements among cave-dwelling humans were probably settled by reference to social norms, perhaps expressed in semi-religious ‘norms’.

    The human baby is so helpless and forlorn that EVERY human must respond with care-taking, and so it is. That caring and loving and tenderness are not easily thrown aside. “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” (as in the great song by Rodgers and Hammerstein from “South Pacific”) to turn a normal human into a racist murderous sociopath.

    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to Year
    It’s got to be drummed
    in your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    To be Afraid
    Of people whose eyes
    are oddly made
    And people whose skin
    Is a different shade
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    You’ve got to be taught
    Before it’s too late
    Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
    To hate all the people
    your relatives hate
    You’ve got to be carefully taught

    No wonder that “South Pacific”, enormously popular across the USA, whose songs were played all the time on popular radio was barred in The South, The Old Confederacy. “South Pacific” whose story and songs were of acceptance and tolerance.

  • roger nowosielski

    @94

    Baronius and Troll appear to be raising an interesting question. The distinction between social and legal norms seems to be mainly about codification and formality (as regards the mechanisms of enforcement). Occasionally, an overarching legal system may work to correct the injustices and the inequities which are inherent in any (regional) system of social norms, and that should be its plus; on the minus side, there is the state-sanctioned coercion.

    Still, neither legal nor social norms are guaranteed to serve the interests of justice, which should be the ultimate goal. Both must be examined, therefore, through the lenses of morality, again with the idea of transcending the regional and parochial and aiming at the universal.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    That song brings up a lot of memories – South Pacific was the first stage play I performed in (playing a sailor, of course). I hadn’t heard that the song was banned in the South, but I don’t doubt it for a moment – I well remember how in 1984, the doctor’s office in Shaw, MS had “White” and “Colored” entrances. Sure, the signs were all painted completely green, but paint doesn’t cover up inch-deep chiseling in stone too well.

    And yes, the people still went into the corresponding door.

    In another thread you seemed to have thought that I was taking up for the South – nothing could be further from the truth, seeing as how if 46% of Mississippi Republicans had their way, interracial marriages like mine would be illegal.

    Note – that 46% is just the Republicans who were willing to admit it.

  • troll

    Baronius #94 – quite so

    I should not have introduced a category error in my #79 by juxtaposing social norms with government coercion…legal norms being a subset of social norms and all

    the norms that I used as an example – Islamic business codes – are no less grounded in a social institution than are western legal contracts…just a different one

    I should have said ‘other than’ not ‘rather than’

  • Igor

    To say that “corporations only seek to maximize profits to their shareholders” is a misstatement.

    There are many reasons for any given corp:

    -to divvy up potential profits among founders
    -to open investment to outsiders, eg., an IPO
    -to insulate owners from company liability
    -advantageous tax opportunities
    -to partition profits from liabilities
    -to gain a power advantage over a subsidiary
    -to skim profits
    -etc.

    For example, a startup uses incorporation to begin allocating rewards among founders, and to create a base for outsider investment in an ongoing finance plan.

    Sometimes corps are operated in pairs. For example, American Airlines (AA) is an operating company owned by a parent company (AMR) which skims profits every quarter leaving the operating company with no reserves (or, in another play, excess reserves to make some merger more plausible). Thus, AA is always on the edge of disaster while AMR shareholders get dividends.

    If one corp is owned by another,it allows a de facto minority to control the money-maker. 51% of The Board dictates policy, so if 51% shares are held by a holding company, and, in turn, 51% of the holding company is held by the minority, the minority only has to hold 26% of the exposure to dictate policy. Of course, this can continue on just like facing mirrors, so that a vanishingly small number of investors control a big company. Abuse of this opportunity was severely restricted in the late 19th century because of abuse, but it seems to be making a comeback since regulation seems to have gone dormant.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    I didn’t say that government was always good or trustworthy or in any way a friend…but a lot of the time it’s one or all of the three. Of course, those proud in their cynicism will laugh at the notion, but government is made up of people, and people are usually good. It’s the not-so-common misfits that make the rest of us look bad.

    The story revealed that the FDA is not what you say it is, Glenn. It is evidence of systemic malfunction. Those empowered by the agency are hiding evidence of harm against the population. What kind of organization designed to protect the citizenry HIDES information about how business enterprises are manufacturing equipment that can injure people?

    It sound to me like their ‘confidentiality’ claims are nothing more than claims of authority. Who give the FDA a ‘right’ to such confidentiality?

    Now, consider this point. These are scientists who are so concerned that the only way they feel they will be heard is by writing to Congress and the president! Does that set off any alarm bells for you, Glenn?

    A system designed to protect us where the scientists who find problems are so gagged by the power structure in place that they have to resort to such extreme acts to be heard?

    Your misfit theory is government propaganda. Hope you decide to question it some day.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh, one more thing, Glenn. Just to be clear. Nothing I have said addresses the ‘goodness’ of people. Actually, that is irrelevant to my point.

    I’d like to use these two experiments, (each video is only a few minutes) to explain: The replicated Milgram experiment on authority. (Which, for a second time, demonstrated the same effect as the first time when Milgram did it, and supports the points I have been making.) and the Zimbardo prison experiment, which might clear up what I have been trying get across about culture. The video below presents Zimbardo’s analysis that I find helpful.

    Zimbardo says it this way (6 minute video): The problem of violence, evil, whatever you want to call it, comes about when people are able to give up personal responsibility for what they do and put the responsibility on something else–like their job, their corporate imperative to make profit, the military, their boss, the law, whatever. As soon as a person can say, I was/am only doing my job, those conditions can become an incubator for any pathology introduced into the system.

    So, you see, it is not about good people. It is about systems and what makes a good systems.

    In my view, we need to change the system. The people will easily adapt. People generally are, imo good–given the chance.

    (My educational focus has mostly been about how we can give people that chance from infancy onward.)

  • Igor

    @102-Cindy: yes, people eagerly give up responsibility to hide behind group irresponsibility. I think it was Thorsten Veblen who called it “collective irresponsibility”.

    Of course, the primary idea of “Incorporating” is to achieve collective irresponsibility. All of the owners are excused from responsibility so no one is responsible.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not that I am disagreeing, Igor, as there are plenty enough people eager to avoid responsibility. But the outcome of the two experiments indicates that, within our culture, at least, it does not seem to really matter whether we are eager to give up responsibility or not.

    The culture we have created has made it so that this will happen whether or not the individuals actually want to give up responsibility or, in some cases, may not want to do so.

    Thus, my point that participation is beyond the ‘goodness’ of the person involved. We are trained to do this by our culture.

    (Except for everyone in my psychology class or anyone else I have ever talked to–none of us are subject to the effects of our social conditioning, because we are generally above such stuff or smarter than [insert whomever].)

    ;-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Here is Part II in the Milgram experiment for those who wish it. As it says a the end of Part I, it is, indeed, even more disturbing.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Christopher,

    Better late than never.

    Part I

    Good food. Responsibly.

    Smithfield Foods is a global food company that goes above and beyond to provide good food in a responsible manner. We remain 100 percent committed to…animal care…

    Our Core Values – We will constantly strive: To advance animal care.

    My research indicates that Smithfield has zero concern about the welfare of its animals (beyond its own profit interest) and actually tortures them every single day of their lives. The Humane Society launched an undercover investigation and released its report and video in 2010. Below is a link to a snippet of that video which not only shows what gestation crates are, but details the outrageous inhumane treatment of hogs at Smithfield. The most basic needs of the animal are denied. The animal spends its entire life unable to walk or to even turn around. The undercover inspector witnessed still living and breathing, injured pigs piled into dumpsters among other intentionally inflicted cruelties.

    Undercover at Smithfield Foods

    In 2007 Smithfield created its own timeline for phasing out gestation crates. It gave itself a generous 10 years to cease its unconsciounably cruel practice. By 2009 it already renigged on its own committment citing the economy. Soon after, it had record profits and still did not recommit to end its gestation crate practice. Only after the HUmane society video and report did Smithfield agree to reinstate its 2017 deadline for ending the use of gestation crates.

    I have recently read something by the CEO where, in 2012, he said over the next 10 years the hogs would be given more room.

    Smithfield keeps evolving, Pope says. He claims that, over the next 10 years, the company will implement changes — such as increasing the amount of space in pens…

    So, I am confused. Is it 2017 or are they going to take another 10 years from the date of the comment in 2012. That would allow another 10 years to torture animals while saying they are great humanitarians committed to improvement.

    This seems to be a typical corporate move. Hem, haw, and contine bad practices, then when pushed to the wall by bad press, recommit and play the humaitarian card all over again to get better publicity, then just do the bare minimum toward change or nothing at all–whatever you can get away with.

    (This is what Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey, among others, did in regards to child slavery in the chocolate industry. Their purchases of chocolate has created a conditionon the Ivory Coast of Africa, where children are kidnapped and/or sold into slavery to be abused, neglected, and murdered. When they got enough bad publicity, they committed to stop purchasing the chocolate (read cheaper) that endagers childrens’ lives and to end child slavery in the chocolate industry. Like Smithfield, they gave themselves a generous timeframe and then–they just simply did not do what they said they would. They did absolutely nothing. They did not give a shit about anything beyond the publicity saying they would stop gave them.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That should be Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey continue to do, rather than ‘did’.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, not sure why you are posting that but I can only respond as I did the first time, that I don’t see any connection between these company’s PR lines (aka cynical fucking lies) and liberalism.

    What I do see is a persistent trend on your part that is always looking for the negative, whilst either ignoring or dismissing the positive. Apart from the way that it will always be a self fulfilling exercise, I don’t see how it helps to focus on a partial picture like that, particularly as it is apparently misleading you as to what is liberalism and what is tokenism. You seem to be in the rather odd position of being cynical but not cynical enough!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I am not sure what you mean about liberalism. I am speaking to the idea that corporations are evolving.

    What I do see is a persistent trend on your part that is always looking for the negative…

    Well, that is fair enough from a person who admittedly (aka Chevron) hasn’t looked at the negative realities. I happened to actually have looked at them.

    Reality is what informs my opinions. You seem to call reality negativism. Perhaps I should do like you–have faith in what the fuck ever I imagine to be the truth. Faith in the coming benevolence of corporations via optimism is what apparently informs yours.

    It is always impossible for me to have a meaningful conversation with a faithist therefore this one is over.

  • troll

    …thank you for playing and remember every lucky contestant takes home a lovely smithfield smoked ham

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    One of us, and it may be me, is slightly confused.

    I believe I originally made the point that companies are evolving, to which you responded “What I see is that corporations are mostly evolving in more harmful directions” before moving on to a more substantive remark about “socially responsible people… who own a huge corporation… who are liberals, run their business as a sexist enterprise. They have zero female sales people because it is run in the typical ‘old boys network’ booze and golf style”. That is what I was responding to today in not seeing your point about liberalism, which you frequently and, in my understanding of it, inaccurately criticise.

    Nor do I see how posting one, two, three or even three hundred examples of companies behaving badly has anything to do with my point about corporate evolution; companies are clearly evolving, although not all companies are good or necessarily evolving in totally positive ways by any means.

    You say that it is reality that informs your opinions but reality would require also noticing and acknowledging the good that is happening in the corporate world and I can’t actually recall you ever having posted anything about that. As such, I do indeed think you are being negative and not realistic.

    You are completely wrong to state that I have “faith in what the fuck ever I imagine to be the truth. Faith in the coming benevolence of corporations via optimism is what apparently informs yours” and I’d really appreciate it if you’d stop making shit up and pay attention to what I actually write.

    Accusing me of being a faithist of any kind reveals either a total ignorance of my perspective, which would require you not to pay any heed to anything I write ever, or someone who is having a rather pathetic little baby tantrum. Either way, you do both of us a disservice. Having a meaningful conversation requires listening plus give and take, not making stuff up and attributing false views on people; I am frankly disappointed to see you being so feckless.

    Apparently you require complete agreement with your dogma and can not tolerate any debate or difference; I can’t actually reconcile that with your frequent propounding of anarchism, but maybe you can…

    troll, apart from Cindy’s vitriolic comments, I’ve never encountered the Smithfield brand anywhere, although I am partial to smoked ham. I am on a fairly strict calorie controlled diet at the moment and have been very surprised to learn that ham is much lower in calories than many vegetables!

  • troll

    …it should be little surprise that I – a troll – prefer the ‘other other white meat’

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I have absolutely no idea what the “other other white meat” is a reference to!

  • troll

    …I see the futility of it all now – Cindy is trying to discuss things with someone unfamiliar with Dirty Bastard

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    I think you must mean the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard; heard some Wu Tang but am more of a Cypress Hill kind of guy…

  • troll

    gak sorry Chris – funny references only work when one gets them right…I meant Myers’ Fat Bastard

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Umm, not really my thing; I’ve been in the same room when some of those spoofs have been on but not really paid too much attention so they aren’t really part of my culture.

    Must say, I thought Wu Tang references were a bit too hip for you!