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corporations - is profit all?

Jeanne Boyarsky
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Split off from mortgage topic:

Winston Gutkowski wrote:
Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:For a company, yes profit is all.

Hmm. Unabashed capitalism. So presumably, things like toxic dumping and sweatshop labour are simply "friendly fire". They can, after all, simply be put down to pursuit of profit, and are still actually legal in many countries.

I was going to say "that's why we have laws", but you are correct that many countries don't. One way to deal with that is protesting. Publicize that a company is doing business, organize a demand side (customer driven) strike. Also, the United States had sweatshops a century ago. (See the NYC Triangle Fire in 1911.) I'm not saying it was good, but is was part of our history. Is it possible that countries need to go through that before passing their own laws? I certainly hope not, but it is a possibility. Hence liking the customer side pressures better.

Speaking of which, another "profit is all" aspect that companies often forget about is that they need people to be able to buy their products and services. Which means people need jobs.

Winston Gutkowski wrote:But coming back to less emotive subjects: What about exportation of labour? It's the backbone that is likely to turn China and India into the next #1 and 2 powers in the world over the next 50 years. Are you happy with that? Is that what you see as the "triumph of capitalism"?

Not necessarily. Once the standard of living rises enough, they aren't the cheapest place to have labor and that exportation moves somewhere else. India already isn't the least expensive I believe. There are many factors for being the #1 power in the world. I don't see India making those political moves. Maybe it isn't reported? Or maybe the theory above about "growing through sweatshops" has some weight? . The comparative advantage of having cheap labor doesn't just come from exploiting your works incidentally. It comes from cost of living. That's why people "insource" even within the US to less expensive cities and the countryside.

Winston Gutkowski wrote:Personally, I have no vested interest in who is "top dog", and I have no notion that they will do any better or worse than the US or England before them; but as a Western liberal, I worry about a future that is governed by countries where people can simply disappear, or where 90% of the wealth is owned by 5% of the population. And we (or the "profit is all" motive) will have been responsible for it.

There are two different parts here. The people disappearing is a political issue. Making it a lot more complicated. The 90% of the wealth owned by 5% of the population isn't just an issue in China and India. We still have 1% protests here.


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Campbell Ritchie
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  23
It is not a case of profit being all, no.
A lot of companies are worried about their image, and will do anything to avoid poor publicity. Also,
the bigger they are, the harder they fall
…applies. The largest companies have the most to lose from poor publicity.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:It is not a case of profit being all, no.
A lot of companies are worried about their image, and will do anything to avoid poor publicity. Also,
the bigger they are, the harder they fall
…applies. The largest companies have the most to lose from poor publicity.

For what it's worth, my proposal from the other thread is that profit is all and these other things are a form a future profit.
Campbell Ritchie
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Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38513
    
  23
I take your point, yes. In which case profit is indeed all.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Joined: May 26, 2003
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Here's my actual quote:
For a company, yes profit is all. It's a bit more complicated than that as it is profit over the long run. That's what prevents a company from charging you $100 and sending you a pile of poo. Well ok, fraud laws help there too. But it isn't in a company's interests to profit at the expense of making the company look so bad that customers won't come back and will tell their friends. Companies need to invest in their future and future profitability.

I don't believe that "profit it all" precludes social. Companies support charities. Granted they do it for PR and tax deductions. And some *people* at companies think about the greater good. If they are high up enough in the company, you get the company looking at the global good. But that isn't the job of the company. It's something nice that happens.

By the way, when we say "company", I'm thinking of a corporation. Obviously, a non-profit will have a different view of social causes.


Interestingly, I just read about B Corporations in the Atlantic today. There are 800+ companies registered and they committed to support social and environmental change.
Winston Gutkowski
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Joined: Mar 17, 2011
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  20

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Split off from mortgage topic:

Very sensible. Sorry it took me a while to respond, but I was out yesterday.

One way to deal with that is protesting. Publicize that a company is doing business, organize a demand side (customer driven) strike.

Interesting, but I suspect naive; since such protests could easily be dismissed as the bayings of the "rent-a-crowd" section.

What I think would be MUCH more effective would be to be able to ringfence your own funds. If I was able to tell my bank that I don't want any of my money invested in, lets say, Nestle's (I pick them as a company whose practises back in the 1980's were little short of slavery; I think they've since been "shamed" into changing them) and they were obliged to act on my wishes, you'd soon see companies sticking 'Fair trade' stickers on their products as soon as they possibly could.

Why? Because it hits them where a "profit is all" stance hurts them most - in their profits. Protest is all very well, but it takes time, and is not guaranteed to actually have any effect at all.

Of course, there are lots of potential problems to such a system, since it could just as easily be used to influence investment in ways that are diametricallly opposed to my (or 'our') way thinking; but nobody said this was a simple issue.

Also, the United States had sweatshops a century ago. (See the NYC Triangle Fire in 1911.)

Oddly enough, I discovered that page a while ago as part of an "existenial" history search (you know - where you start on one page and three hours, and 30 pages, later you find yourself on a totally unrelated subject).

Speaking of which, another "profit is all" aspect that companies often forget about is that they need people to be able to buy their products and services.

Actually, I'd say that what they forget is that profit is NOT all, which was why I took issue with your post so strongly.

There are many models that allow for the idea that profit isn't necessarily a bad thing, that also accept that it can't be the only thing that governs our actions. Unfortunately, our current structure of hedge funds and derivatives and sub-second trading seems to have abandoned responsibility for "leverage". I just hope that the last 7 years have been a wake-up call, but I doubt it. We seem to be much more interested in treating the symptoms than the cause.

Not necessarily. Once the standard of living rises enough, they aren't the cheapest place to have labor and that exportation moves somewhere else. India already isn't the least expensive I believe. There are many factors for being the #1 power in the world. I don't see India making those political moves. Maybe it isn't reported? Or maybe the theory above about "growing through sweatshops" has some weight? .
...
There are two different parts here. The people disappearing is a political issue. Making it a lot more complicated. The 90% of the wealth owned by 5% of the population isn't just an issue in China and India. We still have 1% protests here.

I certainly hope you're wrong about "growing through sweatshops".

On the other hand, it seems perfectly possible to me that countries with the sort of population base (and political or social structure) that China and India do could easily put off such problems by retaining an underclass that work for next to nothing while rich "apparatchiks" rake in the profit and keep the economy competitive.

And on that assumption, I would trust a Communist government to at least be motivated by its stated goal of 'prolitarian good', rather than a bunch of fat cats who have nothing more than a vested interest in the status quo. Even while Communism in Eastern Europe was collapsing, it was still turning out highly educated people at an extraordinary rate, and literacy rates were, in many cases, higher than in the West.

Winston

Isn't it funny how there's always time and money enough to do it WRONG?
Articles by Winston can be found here
chris webster
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  14

Sweatshops are certainly not just an inevitable stage that economies have to go through (isn't that a Marxist concept - that industrialisation always follows a particular path?), they're back with us today, even in Western economies. Here's just one famous company and its working practices in Germany and the UK:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25034598
http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/02/are-amazons-warehouses-equivalent-to-modern-day-sweatshops/

Part of the problem with the primitive "profit is all"/"greed is good" meme is that in the last 30 years or so we seem to have lost sight of all the good reasons why this was a bad idea in the first place. Many of the gains of a century of struggle and sacrifice by ordinary working people have been sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed, yet society seems to be suffering more and more under the burden of sustaining the voracious appetite of corporations for unrestrained profit. There is no more reason to accept this ideological myth than to accept any other equally self-serving threat to the fabric of society: we have laws to protect society from thieves, rapists and crooks, so why shouldn't we have similar controls on the behaviour of other groups whose unchecked greed is laying waste to the lives of so many ordinary people?

Multinational companies increasingly insist on being essentially beyond the law, whether in relation to working practices, taxation, environmental controls or a collaborative long term relationship with their workers and customers. They expect to benefit from the common good - a healthy and well-educated workforce, good physical infrastructure, modern services, legal protection from corruption and crime, and so on - but they increasingly refuse to contribute to sustaining these common goods. Wages for ordinary workers are suppressed via deregulation of labour laws, relaxation of controls on importing cheap labour, and massive global outsourcing in a program of slash-and-burn corporate plunder that rolls through one cheap labour market after another. Many workers in Western economies enjoy a median salary that has scarcely shifted in real terms since the 1980s (unlike their corporate and political overlords), while all too many unavoidable living costs have escalated wildly (housing, education, fuel, healthcare, pension provision etc). The net effect is that the profits of people's labour are increasingly piped into the corporate stratosphere - frequently via offshore tax havens - while the costs of sustaining the social foundations for those same corporations are borne by the workers and the public at large. Even while companies are making massive profits, their workers and customers see little or no extra benefit from their own improved performance, and society increasingly suffers from the burden of this corporate parasitism, with governments and welfare organisations picking up the pieces as people can no longer afford to pay their bills or even feed their families.

Despite the manifest damage being done to society by this cretinously simplistic and self-serving ideology, politicians insist - like the late Margaret Thatcher - that There Is No Alternative, while migrating as swiftly as possible from public service into the First Class Lounge of directorships and corporate lecture tours. Failed financiers and crooked bankers are once again paying each other massive bonuses while the rest of us are condemned to decades of decline, paying for the massive economic damage caused by their incompetence and greed. I can't see how this can be sustainable, economically, socially or politically, yet I see little sign of any coherent resistance or genuine alternative in today's politics. This is in itself a worrying situation, because there are already signs of unpalatable extremist groups filling the vacuum left by the failure of responsible political and business leaders to face up to the problem. We've been here before, in the 1930s, and we surely cannot afford to go that way again.

So to hell with "profit is all", give me sustainable development first.


No more Blub for me, thank you, Vicar.
chris webster
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  14

Campbell Ritchie wrote:It is not a case of profit being all, no.
A lot of companies are worried about their image, and will do anything to avoid poor publicity. Also,
the bigger they are, the harder they fall
…applies. The largest companies have the most to lose from poor publicity.

Only until they have wiped out the competition. Big companies may preach about the need for competition, but they will do everything in their power to secure a monopoly, from undercutting competitors at a loss to themselves in the short term, to bribing politicians to ensure they get their way on land deals, planning applications and legislation. Once they've achieved this near monopoly in their target markets, Amazon, Walmart, Tesco, the big energy companies, the big banks and so on all know they have little to fear from local consumer boycotts, because most of the time there is little realistic alternative for most people except to keep buying their power form the energy company, buying stuff from Walmart/Amazon/Tesco because all the local stores have closed, and banking with the only organisations that can provide banking services - the same ones that f***ed the economy up in the first place.
Martin Vajsar
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Joined: Aug 22, 2010
Posts: 3610
    
  60

Winston Gutkowski wrote:... lets say, Nestle's (I pick them as a company whose practises back in the 1980's were little short of slavery; I think they've since been "shamed" into changing them)

(emphasis added) Doesn't this actually support Jeanne's point?

And on that assumption, I would trust a Communist government to at least be motivated by its stated goal of 'prolitarian good', rather than a bunch of fat cats who have nothing more than a vested interest in the status quo. Even while Communism in Eastern Europe was collapsing, it was still turning out highly educated people at an extraordinary rate, and literacy rates were, in many cases, higher than in the West.

I may be strongly biased, as I've grown up in a socialist country myself, but if I remember it right, practically no one there believed the motives of the government were sincere. And I don't think they really cared for the masses, I'd say that they actually wanted to beat West on as many fronts as possible for purely propaganda reasons.

* Environment - they didn't give a fig. A river that flows through my hometown had different color each day, depending on which textile has been made that day in the neighboring factory. The acid rain in my country was largely eliminated just in a few years after the revolution, when desulphurisation was eventually installed on all power plants. There are still chemical factories that were not decontaminated even after 25 years (it's fairly expensive even today). Commies didn't bother for forty years.

* Health care - I'm torn on this issue. Basic health care was available to everyone, but the party leaders still got their own facilities. Small-scale corruption was everywhere - waiting list for non-urgent operations were long, but if you knew the right person, or give a bottle of liquor to the doctor, you'd get preferential treatment. It is still somewhat present till today, but I'd say to a somewhat smaller extent.

* Disabled people - they were completely overlooked, locked into institutions so as not to be seen. There was practically no public infrastructure for the disabled, and it took years after the revolution to modify pedestrian crossings in the entire country for wheelchairs. The oldest metro stations in Prague don't have elevators even today, and people on wheelchairs cannot use them to this very day.

* Education - it was quite good, true, but, in my opinion, the sole motive was that socialism needed a lot of engineers.

* Housing - waiting lists for flats were long. Young families waited for flats for years. Again, knowing the right person helped tremendously. Houses that were owned by the state were mostly in a bad condition, as communists nationalized them and then didn't invest in them. Some people (in villages and small cities) were able to build their own homes, usually using some material stolen from a state enterprise. It was considered normal. On the other hand, the state did build a lot, but it was still not enough.

* Employment - everyone could have a job. However, with a bad cadre profile you got a lousy job, and in the early years, they would tell you in which city you'll get the job, so please pack up and move immediately. And if you didn't have a job, you were locked up.

* Chernobyl - you do remember they didn't even cancel the Peace Race, don't you? If Sweden didn't find out, they wouldn't tell anyone. Plus, the entire rush to get the plant connected, which at the end was the original cause for the accident, was politically motivated in the first place.

All in all, I'd say there was much bigger certainty in individual lives (well, if you weren't a dissident, or disabled, or some other hapless unimportant person), at the price of some personal freedom and space. Twenty-five years ago, nearly everyone wanted a change. Now it seems that some people say it was better then. I wouldn't say so, but I was only fourteen in 1989...
Winston Gutkowski
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  20

chris webster wrote:like the late Margaret Thatcher - that There Is No Alternative...

Which is exactly my "raising the white flag" point that prompted this great thread - largely due to people who plainly disagree with me. Maybe I've finally got this Socratic thing down.

Chris man, I can't really add much to anything you've said; and you've said it better than I ever could. I'm not (contrary to what you may think) a Communist; but I'm the son of a Pole and have family that was, for a very long time, "behind the Iron curtain". As a member of "Sikorsky's Army", my father wasn't able to go back until 1962, by which time his mother had died, and I visited for my first time in 1974.

At the time, I don't remember seeing an "oppressed" population, just people who didn't have as much as we did; but I was 17 and probably not aware of all the stuff that was going on under the surface.

I also wonder if, in the demise of all those governments, what's replaced them is any better. The Slovaks have just voted in an apologist for the collaborative Slovak government during WW2 as a state governor.

I can only go back to E.M.Forster:
Two cheers for democracy - one, because it permits change; two, because it admits variety.

I wish it was an easy lesson to learn.

Winston
Jayesh A Lalwani
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  28

Coming from working at startups for the past 6 years, I'm a little biased here. Within the tech startup culture, profit is not all. Profit is important, yes. However, a lot of startups are started to solve business problems, and the goal is to start a company that will solve that problem. Money is important. It's the lifeblood of any company. If you can't have employees, you are not going to achieve your goal. You don't have revenue, you don't have employees. You don't have profit, you don't have growth. SO, they do keep a very close eye on the profits. However, if you ask any of my 3 bosses to make a choice between making profit and implementing something that takes them a tad closer to where they want the product to go to, they will almost always forego profit*

Once a company is "profitable", in the sense that the business problem is solved, and the company has figured out a system to make gobs of money, these people move on**. They are not interested in solving the problem of how to make money. They are interested in solving a business problem. Money comes to them once they solve the correct problem. Once the business problem is solved, sell the company for like a million dollars, move on.

* Actually, I'm lying. All of them reject dichotomies. They usually come up with an an answer that walks a fine line between the 2
** Actually, bit of simplification here too. Most "succesful" startups end up solving problems that are differrent that what the founders started with. The solution has to meet an existing need, and many times, in the first few years, startups discover needs as they go along.
Winston Gutkowski
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Joined: Mar 17, 2011
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  20

Martin Vajsar wrote:Doesn't this actually support Jeanne's point?

Possibly. I think I also stated why I don't think it's necessarily the best option. But hey, protest is just fine by me, and a fine demonstration of the rights afforded you by a liberal democracy.

I may be strongly biased, as I've grown up in a socialist country myself, but if I remember it right, practically no one there believed the motives of the government were sincere...

And you know what? I reckon that that scepticism may be a great "memory" to have, because there's nothing that says that a democratic government has your interests at heart any more than a Communist (or totalitarian) one. The only difference is that you get to vote; and that your vote actually means something.

I'll try to take you points in order:
* Environment - they didn't give a fig.

Just one of the reasons that my father predicted the "fall of Communism" (although, with the rise of China, I wonder whether we can really call it a "fall") back in the 70's. And furthermore, he predicted that it would fall quickly.

* Health care - I'm torn on this issue. Basic health care was available to everyone, but the party leaders still got their own facilities. Small-scale corruption was everywhere..

And there you have the basic problem: a "Communist" utopia undermined by its very structure. I remember well having to put up with local apparatchicks barging the queues in the restaurants. Small stuff, but you know what they say: "How do you know if a restaurant is good? Check the toilets".

* Disabled people - they were completely overlooked...the oldest metro stations in Prague don't have elevators even today, and people on wheelchairs cannot use them to this very day.

Didn't know this at all. But it goes back to my comment in the other thread about a government that allows people to "disappear".

* Housing - waiting lists for flats were long. Young families waited for flats for years. Again, knowing the right person helped tremendously.

I hate to say, but this gets back to a basic idea of fairness. If nepotism is allowed, it will flourish. And I was definitely aware of it, even back in 1974.

* Employment - everyone could have a job. However, with a bad cadre profile you got a lousy job, and in the early years, they would tell you in which city you'll get the job, so please pack up and move immediately. And if you didn't have a job, you were locked up.

So another case in which a government didn't actually do what it said it was going to: I hate to say, but it's standard fare for people brought up in a democracy. The main weapon that "we" have is a vote that actually means something.

* Chernobyl - you do remember they didn't even cancel the Peace Race, don't you? If Sweden didn't find out, they wouldn't tell anyone. Plus, the entire rush to get the plant connected, which at the end was the original cause for the accident, was politically motivated in the first place.

And do you not think it was major factor in the demise of the Soviet Union? A major power that not only allowed such a facility to be built, but couldn't protect its citizens from the fallout? On the flip side, it said an awful lot about the bravery of individuals, many of whom I'm sure were Russian (or Ukranian). But I don't think that the Western world has ever been in any doubt about that.

All in all, I'd say there was much bigger certainty in individual lives (well, if you weren't a dissident, or disabled, or some other hapless unimportant person), at the price of some personal freedom and space. Twenty-five years ago, nearly everyone wanted a change. Now it seems that some people say it was better then. I wouldn't say so, but I was only fourteen in 1989...

And there you have it: Certainty and prescription vs. freedom and doubt. I don't have an answer, but I suspect it's likey to be based around how much you value your right to choose.

Winston
Winston Gutkowski
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  20

Jayesh A Lalwani wrote:Once a company is "profitable", in the sense that the business problem is solved, and the company has figured out a system to make gobs of money, these people move on. They are not interested in solving the problem of how to make money. They are interested in solving a business problem.

Oh, excellent. Cow for you my man.

I'm not sure that profit motives can be simply reduced to those of a start-up company, but I like the analogy. And I specifically like the notion that motives change with time and/or profit or experience.

Winston
Winston Gutkowski
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  20

Martin Vajsar wrote:
Winston Gutkowski wrote:... lets say, Nestle's (I pick them as a company whose practises back in the 1980's were little short of slavery; I think they've since been "shamed" into changing them)
(emphasis added) Doesn't this actually support Jeanne's point?

I just wanted to also emphasize this particular point too, because the answer is 'yes'.

I submit, however, that it wouldn't be (indeed, the question wouldn't even have been posed), if there weren't people who do, in fact, believe that profit IS all.

Furthermore, Nestle is a corporation, not just a single person, and they must have decided somewhere along the line that their practises were "acceptable capitalism" and enacted them for long enough to be noticed. Unfortunately, until we change laws to the point where we can hold corporations as a whole responsible for their actions as easily as we can individuals, and enact penalties for 'exploitation' in the way we have for "crimes against humanity", I fear that "shaming" won't be enough.

Did you know that in the US you can be fined up to 300 million dollars (probably an old figure now; that was in 2002) simply for using non-government approved encryption strengths? And yet, as far as I know, there still isn't legislation on the statutes for corporate exploitation of entire populations.

And I think it's also still true that no CEO has ever been found guilty of a charge levied against their company as a whole. Plainly no 'Trueman Doctrine' there ("the buck stops here").

I wonder what the corporate equivalent of the "Nuremberg defense" is?

Winston
Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
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Interesting read!

Winston Gutkowski wrote:Did you know that in the US you can be fined up to 300 million dollars (probably an old figure now; that was in 2002) simply for using non-government approved encryption strengths? And yet, as far as I know, there still isn't legislation on the statutes for corporate exploitation of entire populations.

This is a tangent, but that's an interesting point. As far as I know, the problem with encryption/cryptography isn for export. Inside the US, rules are different. Which is a nice analogy here as there ARE rules about labor inside the country.
chris webster
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  14

Here's a fine article on the Pyrrhic "victory" of capitalist fundamentalism by David Simon in today's UK Observer newspaper: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire

Perhaps the most depressing thing is that the same arguments can increasingly be made about the situation here in the UK, which has spent 30 years slavishly pursuing many of the same policies as successive US governments.

Winston Gutkowski
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  20

chris webster wrote:Here's a fine article on the Pyrrhic "victory" of capitalist fundamentalism by David Simon in today's UK Observer newspaper: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/08/david-simon-capitalism-marx-two-americas-wire

Excellent.

I'm fond of writing little ditties when the fancy takes me; and I suspect that this one rather mirrors David Simon's thoughts:

I was taught from my first tooth
That Education searched for truth
But these days universities
It seems are geared for companies
Who want their candidates anointed
In marketing, and business-pointed

Perhaps our land of milk and honey
Requires that in truth, be money.


Winston
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16022
    
  20

There is a common mis-conception that Corporations exist solely to Make a Profit, and humanity, the environment, and morality be damned. This is not true.

A Corporation is not a natural construct. Corporations are one of several ways in which groups of individuals band together in pursuit of a common goal. Capitalism (and other things) may or may not apply.

Simply put, a corporation doesn't exist without a legal charter from some sponsoring government. In the USA, that is typically a US State (Delaware is particularly popular). In Merrie Olde England, such charters were originally granted by the Crown. Literally. In fact, I suspect that one reason that such things came to be were so that the monarch could distinguish legitimate business interests from mere cabals of plotters and to grant/withhold favors from such groups as his/her whims dictated.

In the USA, a corporate charter contains a statement of purpose, which is typically something like "to do blah, blah, blah, and such other activities as it may deem profitable". "Profitable" not necessarily in the financial sense. In short, the Sierra Club is (AFAIK) a Corporation, despite being (ostensibly) non-profit. Likewise, such institutions as the Salvation Army, Red Cross (USA), and the neighbourhood garden club.

When we say "Corporation", however, what usually comes to mind is something like Enron. Where Darwin has been warped into a philosophy that, if it modelled the real world would require butterflies to secrete sulfuric acid, bunny rabbits to have 6-inch poison fangs, and so forth, since that sort of philosophy doesn't ken the finer points of how being cute and fluffy can gain you more survival points than being a rabid killing machine.

Some people assert that the only way to "win" in the Corporate world is to follow this pseudo-Darwinistic approach. Then again, many people assert that the only response to an injury is a counter-injury. They applied that philosophy for years in Northern Ireland and only finally obtained peace when they abandoned it. May not be all sweetness and light, but these days, chances you can ride the bus without risking life and limb are much higher.

But corporations aren't the only guilty ones in the race to the bottom. Every time we contribute to an "evil" corporation instead of a "good" one, we encourage this. It has very little to do with capitalism, which at heart is just (one way) how the money to start and grow the business is obtained. Whenever we decide that a Lower Price is worth more than paying more to a business whose employees can afford their own healthcare we cast our ballot. Every day we vote in a myriad of ways and it all adds up, from the trivial to the momentous. And in the end, just as in government, we get the businesses we deserve.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Tim,
That's interesting. I was all set to say that the Sierra Club is a non-profit organization and not a corporation. But their articles of incorporation say:

It is organized under the Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for public and charitable purposes.


Which means being a nonprofit and a corporation aren't mutually exclusive.
Tim Holloway
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Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16022
    
  20

My local homeowners association is also incorporated in my home state.

Demonstrating that while corporations don't have to be evil, being evil doesn't bar you from obtaining a corporate charter.

Delaware Corporations exist because the State of Delaware had laws particularly favorable to businesses. Rather like North Dakota and credit cards.

I'm not sure you even had to set foot in Delaware to incorporate there. These days I don't hear much about Delaware Corporations, though. I think too many other states went the same way.

Local custom may vary, but these are the primary ways to organize a business:

1. Sole proprietorship

2. Partnership (limited or general)

3. Limited Liability Corporation/Subchapter S Corporation

4. Full corporation

Which organizational form you choose depends on things like how you want taxes (if applicable) to apply and how much protection the principals want for their personal assets as opposed to company assets. Any of the above can be/not be capitalist. Although it's hard to truly be a sole proprietor while having capital investment. Still, I know a guy who incorporated, but sold only non-voting shares, which wasn't much different.
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Tim Holloway wrote:I'm not sure you even had to set foot in Delaware to incorporate there. These days I don't hear much about Delaware Corporations, though. I think too many other states went the same way.

I remember reading that your business had to have a "footprint" in Delaware even if you never set foot there. The problem was that it could be really small (credit card or shoebox size or something like that.) So places would rent out tiny bits of space.
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Tim Holloway wrote:These days I don't hear much about Delaware Corporations, though. I think too many other states went the same way.

I think they're still attracting many more corporations than other states, apparently at least partly because by now their business jurisdiction is top-notch: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21590474-change-afoot-americas-leading-forum-resolving-business-disputes-new-judicial-boss


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Last month's "The Atlantic" had an article about this. I read it weeks ago and made a note to post. Then I put the note on the table and ... well here we are.

Some good quotes:
People ask 'what is the cost of being sustainable to your portfolio? .. "we think that by being sustainable, it gives ua better chance of delivering returns to our clients


Barton precisely dates the moment Western capitalism started to go off the rails: it was 1970, when Milton Friedman first advocated maximizing shareholder value as the paramount duty of the chief executive. That notation - which reduced issues like employee well-being ....


In the 1950's and '60s, American's business leaders widely belived they were responsible to the communtiy as a whiole, not just shareholders


By the end of the Second World War, smart capitalists throughout the West realized they had to serve society as a whole, or be devoured by it.... the leaders of the sustainable-capitalism movement believe we are approaching a similar tipping point in the relationship between busienss and society


Most businesses are constrained by the way their competitors operate.
 
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subject: corporations - is profit all?