What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 22, 2010

Olbermann: Freedom of speech has been destroyed

I'll add that if corporations are people, we should never forget what kind of people they are -- by definition, they are people whose sole goal is to benefit their bottom line; they are people who lack a sense of moral responsibility, social conscience, heart or soul if it interferes with said bottom line, in other words -- sociopaths. (Please note, I'm not saying that any particular person who works for a corporation or any particular shareholder who benefits from a corporation is a sociopath, just that a corporation itself -- as a person -- is a sociopath.)


EdHeath said...

This is a place where I would disagree with Mr. Olbermann. I think one of the reasons we treat corporations as if they are (artificial) people is to graft an (artificial) sense of moral responsibility onto them. The corporation as person gains certain rights, such as the right to own property, and certain responsibilities, such as the responsibility not to damage other people's property. The corporation as entity can sue or be sued, and as an entity its primary goal is to survive and prosper. Of course, one difference between a corporation and a real person (and probably what Mr Olbermann has in mind) is that a corporation is owned, either by private persons or by stockholders, and the primary thing a corporation's owners will push it to do is make money. But I will say further that corporations become aware of their public image. If you look at Walmart, some people will shop there for the low prices, but others boycott it because of its public image. So now Walmart is producing a sustainability index for its various suppliers, and is making a show of offering energy saving products. Now, compact fluorescent light bulbs are more expensive to buy (even if they ultimately save money), but Walmart is interested in getting all types of customers, including those who are willing to spend more for environmentally responsible products.

Which is to say that part of looking out for the bottom line can be looking after the image.

Sherry said...

we can't graft a sense of morality onto a lot of people these days- coporations are far worse.

as to public image- do you think that will matter once they have whoever will benefit them most in their hip pocket?

yes, people boycott walmart- but many can not afford not to shop there because they either have part time jobs with benefits they pay for totally themselves or they have low paying full time or no jobs at all.

and if the corporations get to pick anyone they choose for the government do you think it won't soon come to pass that the workers will fare even worse?

unions don't have nearly as much to counteract the money that big business has.

Heir to the Throne said...

I would guess that Cornell AG school graduate Mr. Olbermann is angry that his media corporation no longer has a monopoly on corporate Speech.

EdHeath said...

"unions don't have nearly as much to counteract the money that big business has."

Sherry, I actually made that same argument on a different blog.

My previous comment was not about a specific situation or company, even if I did use Walmart as an example. I was just saying generally that I don't buy into the evil corporation line of thought as a general rule. Rather, I want to look at each company by itself.

Walmart, for example, does pay crappy wages and actively fights workers organizing themselves. There is the question of whether Walmart drives smaller stores out of business. They do offer healthcare, but only to full time workers and apparently it is not very good healthcare. And they are doing the environmental things I mentioned. So on balance Walmart is probably a net negative in the economy, but the fact that they are doing a few things means they care somewhat how people see them and maybe there is room to pressure them to do more.

But you are right, the recent Supreme Court decision will make it that much more tough to pressure companies to do better, whether you are a consumer or an employee.