- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Try this for size.

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on July 22, 1999 at 14:30:15:

In Reply to: switch it around Gideon posted by Gee on July 22, 1999 at 13:56:23:

: : It beats me that people think you can do away with an elected state and yet leave the global corporate world untouched; and that large corporations will somehow start behaving ethically in the absence of regulation. I'm not greatly fond of the state; but I'm far less fond of the corporate state...

: Turn it around. Have you thought that corporate misdeeds are made possible by the existance of a 'legitimate' conduit for their actions? that the agreement to act badly is two way, govt and *some* businesses who grew large and repulsive by agreeing favor with government?

Partially; but since corporates like DuPont, Monsanto, McDonald's, Philips, BP, Shell, Chevron, Total, ICI and others regularly and repeatedly break the law, I don't see the existence of "legitimate" conduits to be a fundamental point; they merely act as partial restraints on corporate behaviour.

You can't really say "it happens because the Govt. permits it"; it happens regardless, because profit is more important than the law. Check the list of EPA/DOE fines levied on the above for deliberate illegal dumping and pollution; yet those companies go on dumping illegally because of their profit margins.

Historically, corporate tactics have been to dump toxic waste onto ground until it becomes contaminated, then donate it to the general public to save on the costs of cleaning it up. I'm not exonorating politicos in this; they will frequently accept corporate sponsorship in exchange for favourable treatment in trade deals; check Monsanto's support of Clinton.

However, the dominant tactic used by corporates today is not to follow laws that are repugnant to them; or if they do follow them, to employ lobbyists and tame politicians to try to repeal the laws in question.

Let us take environmental legislation; if you passed the sort of anti-pollution law that had real fangs, would the polluting companies say "hey!, yeah, we *are* polluting, that's bad, let's stop!"?. Of course not; the typical behaviour is to :

a) dump somewhere more subtle (Africa imports more hazardous waste than anywhere else in the world).

b) fund political and scientific opponents to the legislators in the hope of getting such legislation overturned.

c) complain to the WTO that this country was behaving in a way sufficient to damage corporate profits; asking for sanctions to be imposed upon the country unless it repealed said laws.

d) fund PR agencies to give the polluting companies a green image in the mass media; and try to silence anyone who tries whistleblowing.

e) do strategic deals with mass media; sponsorship for the media company; a favourable treatment of the company concerned.

All of the above 5 tactics are used by businesses in the present day; I can give you links if you want.

(Try this link for an example of e) above...)

: Whatever kind of government you get the same kinds of corruption are possible because you (plural) have given government power over your lives - its going to be used.

Exactly; so abolish government. That includes unfettered states as well as unfettered corporations; because a cartel of powerful companies is a government of sorts; except that it answers to no-one but the shareholders.


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