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The Corporate Death Penalty

by ThatBritGuy Fri May 21st, 2010 at 12:00:43 PM EST

... is something we don't have yet, but which could influence policy in a positive way. I'd suggest a formal international agreement to dismember rogue corporations in cases of egregious social and physical harm to individuals and ecosystems, with total shareholder loss and no compensation.

If corporations can be treated as individuals for their own benefit, they should certainly be treated as individuals where punishment and restitution are required.

Currently BP is the most obvious candidate, but there's every reason to enshrine this in law as a general principle.

What's powerful about the idea isn't the immediate likelihood of legal change - it certainly won't happen yet, and it may not happen ever - but the framing, and the implication that corporations can be held accountable, and that populations have a legal right to retract the legal privileges under which corporations operate.

While I don't support the death penalty for individuals on both humanitarian and legal grounds, corporate wrong-doing is often so spectacularly damaging and murderous that it reliably overshadows simple homicide cases.

And yet - there's no accountability for corporate crime. Currently it's almost impossible to prove individual culpability at board level, and corporations are rarely punished with more than a fine and a slap on the wrist.

The threat of formal dissolution could do more to concentrate the minds of shareholders and executives than any other legal instrument.

Potentially, this could be an immensely powerful and useful progressive instrument - and it could be time to push for it, and to get the meme circulating more widely.


Display:
It is something of an extrapolation of the principles behind Corporate Manslaughter.  

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a landmark in law. For the first time, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

The Act, which came into force on 6 April 2008, clarifies the criminal liabilities of companies including large organisations where serious failures in the management of health and safety result in a fatality.

In this case the organisation can be found guilty in the event of the death of an employee but why not apply the principle with larger sanctions to cases of manslaughter and environmental damage resulting from practices of organisations who do not attempt to prevent harm resulting from their operations.  

Though of course legislation placing a 'duty of care' principle on corporations is necessary. Are there any campaigns out there on similar grounds?  Greenpeace etc?

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 06:55:35 AM EST
Not that I know of - which doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist.

It seems to me that Greenpeace, FOE, etc, tend to campaign on very specific issues, and not so much on general corporate governance - which is unfortunate, because like trying to use stick-on plasters to patch up brain damage.

There are huge practical issues involved with killing a corporation, not least of which is deciding what to do with the employees and the assets. So I think a practical death penalty would apply almost exclusively to upper management and shareholders, perhaps replacing them with worker-owned co-ops - if only because it's hard to imagine anything that would make corporate heads explode more than giving a corporation to its employees.

But most of all I like the campaign idea, as a way of shifting the Overton Window. It's a standard complaint that the left doesn't have any good narratives or memes to promote - so let's change that.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 07:13:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nationalization is corporate capital punishment.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 07:58:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also a new meaning to 'Capital Punishment'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 07:59:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, there are no state-owned corporations and being state-owned doesn't give the people in charge a feeling of impunity?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 02:34:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I deliberately didn't suggest nationalisation. It's too politically charged ('socialism') and won't necessarily change internal culture in the way that decapitation and worker management might.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 05:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the USA we have a structure that fits the bill rather well as an end destination for decapitated corporations: the Employee Stock Ownership Plan. There are a number of outstanding corporations run under this formula.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 01:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Under the slogan "Better Dead Than Red (Or Nationalized)", nationalization without compensation makes sense. But if reinstalling usual Western regulations and government services of 40-50 years ago has a bad political charge of socialism, we are then helplessly too far on the way towards openly corporate government models.
by das monde on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 05:20:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - The Corporate Death Penalty
And yet - there's no accountability for corporate crime. Currently it's almost impossible to prove individual culpability at board level, and corporations are rarely punished with more than a fine and a slap on the wrist.

that's supposedly what we elect governments for, but money talks too loud for reason to prevail, up to now.

those protestors in Greece are asking for this kind of serious change, when they mob banks and such.

people in poor and backwards areas have been traditionally stoked to see corporations arrive on the scene, as investment and jobs arrive to save them from penury, but later on they often regret it.

there needs to be a radical hobbling of the lobbying profession, but how?

public financing of elections is the obvious straightcut to this in the USA, but what about here in Yurp? how do we 'umble folk take on the money drowning out rational voices here at home?

forcing them to clean up after themselves is a great idea, but it can't really be effective unless we remove the dead sow from the stream in the first place.

when i enquired about buying land in Costa Rica, i was told everyone chartered a corporation for protection when doing so there.

is it a case that incorporating has a healthy payoff at micro level, like microloan banking, but once swollen beyond a certain point, the protection becomes a function of the Dark Side?

where is the line? can we write it in stone, or the modern day equivalent?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 08:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The argument is that no one would risk capital if not protected from the managers of that capital's actions.

That argument is based on moral hazard, of course.

Moral hazard is bad for other people.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 06:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not moral hazard if you don't have any ability to influence the outcome. Shareholders don't actually have any real power in a modern corporation, so you don't want to make them liable above and beyond the price of their shares. Since the managers are the ones who are in effective control of the enterprise, liability should be on their heads.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 06:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shareholders might suddenly discover new powers if they had liability. They might also be less willing to lend their money to organisations that are being run dangerously.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 05:48:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should imposing shareholder liability work any better than removing depositor guarantees in the financial sector? Like depositors in a financial institution, common shareholders don't - indeed can't - have the necessary information to evaluate the internal operation of the firm. So as far as I can tell, all you'd achieve would be to make shareholders more panicky. And it's not like we need to add more instability to share prices...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 06:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shareholder limitation from liability is to all intents and purposes a form of guarantee extended by the State to investors.

The problem is that investors are not giving anything directly in return for the privilege of that guarantee.

I advocate the abolition of corporation tax and VAT and their replacement by:

(a) Limited Liability Levy - collected on gross corporate revenues;

(b) IP Levy - essentially a levy/rental on the value of IP, Brand, and all other intangibles (collectively 'goodwill') which are enacapsulated with the 'wrapper' of the Corporation.

Both to be collected through the clearing mechanism.

These new levies could be revenue neutral. The real savings come from sweeping away the deadweight costs of the unproductive industries of public and private professionals involved in the current system.

This couldn't happen under current governance arrangements of course because privileged turkeys don't vote for Christmas. But there's more than one way to get feathers from the turkey.


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 06:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"--privileged turkeys don't vote for Christmas.--"
Best laugh of the day.

ONLY laugh of the day.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 03:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no difference - absolutely none - between the threat of conventional financial loss and the threat of total loss through termination. The fact that investors can take a haircut at any time doesn't stop them investing.

If it came to that, the staff at the credit rating agencies ana analysis shops could be retrained to take an interest in corporate ethics and to report on the ethical standing and likely survivability of a corp.

Think of it as a new kind of sustainability.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 03:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no difference - absolutely none - between the threat of conventional financial loss and the threat of total loss through termination. The fact that investors can take a haircut at any time doesn't stop them investing.

No, there is a vast, vast gulf of difference between risking the money you paid for the shares and risking joint and several liability for the every company activity.

The difference can be summed up in one sentence: Don't buy stock for money you can't afford to not see again.

If liability isn't capped at some level - and the price of the stock is a convenient, albeit not necessarily optimal, level, the stockholder would potentially put his solvency on the line when buying shares. Making more ways to have economic actors go insolvent does not strike me as a good way to enhance the stability of the economic system.

If it came to that, the staff at the credit rating agencies and analysis shops could be retrained to take an interest in corporate ethics and to report on the ethical standing and likely survivability of a corp.

Just to be perfectly clear, these are the same rating agencies and analysis shops that slapped AAA ratings on leveraged CDO-cubed derivatives based on subprime collateral, right?

I'd rather use a magic 8-ball to guide my investment decisions. Magic 8-balls don't charge commissions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 06:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Like depositors in a financial institution, common shareholders don't - indeed can't - have the necessary information to evaluate the internal operation of the firm.

and that's the wrinkle that makes me wonder if you could have an ethical stock market.

blind faith on 'systems guys', well, look where it's taking us!

what if the stocks and shares gam(bl)e were only sustainable in a growing economy, and i mean a really growing economy, not the distorted mirror version we have now?

what would the world lose without wall street, if they can't be trusted?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 10:40:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and that's the wrinkle that makes me wonder if you could have an ethical stock market.

In the absolute sense, I don't think it is.

The stock market is basically a con, on every level. On the micro level, it's a con because it's being flagrantly gamed by the big players. On the macro level, it's a con because it tries to make participants believe that their assets are more liquid than they really are.

I don't believe that you can make the micro-level con go away, and the macro-level con is the sum total of the economic justification for having a stock market in the first place.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 10:58:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
They might also be less willing to lend their money to organisations that are being run dangerously.

that point is essential, and needs to be heavily memed.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 23rd, 2010 at 10:36:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Close the loop by clawing back executive assets!

Traditionally, executives of failed and/or predatory corporations walk away with their killings. They should be made personally liable to the full extent of their assets for all bonuses and all salary in excess of about half a million per year and banned from working or consulting for any corporation or for any individual or partnership with more than one million net worth.  And then, as an act of mercy, qualify them for retirement at the highest rate offered by the social insurance system in their country of residence.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 11:21:51 AM EST
"Corporate death penalty" is a pretty good description of what was happened to IG Farben after WWII. That it took wilful participation in providing gas for the gas chambers to engender this exercise of the corporate death penalty perhaps demonstrates the reluctance to do so. (Or, in a less charitable interpretation, maybe the fact that IG Farben was broken up but ThyssenKrupp was allowed to continue demonstrates that it was really more about neutering the German chemical industry than about punishing Nazis and their collaborators.)

But there's a problem with the corporate death penalty. It is perfectly possible to kill the formal corporate name and formal corporate legal identity without killing the corporate culture. That culture can survive in the cadre of specialists and middle managers. And you can't simply disperse that cadre: It is the entity that operates the capital plant - if you simply dismantle the technostructure of a company, you will have to idle large portions of its capital plant and workforce while you assemble, train and integrate a new corporate organisation.

For a large corporation like BP, the cost of this operation in terms of lost production would be astronomical. And, much as we might wish otherwise, it's not like we can simply do without the stuff BP produces for a year or two while we purge its technostructure of cheapskate middle managers who put expediency over safety. That might be possible in the case of Morgan or Goldman or some other Wall Street parasite. But take BP's crude off-line, and oil prices go into the ionosphere.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 12:40:19 PM EST
JakeS:

But take BP's crude off-line, and oil prices go into the ionosphere.

all together now... Too Big To Fail

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 03:01:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yeah.

In any capital-intensive business with highly inelastic supply and demand curves, even a moderately sized business is too big to fail.

It's not like a stock brokerage - these guys actually do useful stuff for a living, so you can't just take them out of circulation without having some kind of contingency plan.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 03:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
these guys actually do useful stuff for a livingdying

better...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 08:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to work for the DTI fraud investigation branch, and we had powers to go in - with 'good reason' (which was pretty broad and flexible) - to any Company and to 'demand explanations' of their accounting records and business. These powers still exist and are discreetly exercised quite frequently.

It was a pretty useful power actually, and quite often - if the company was a scam or bucket shop - the DTI would then apply to have the company wound up by the court "in the public interest".

This was (and is) a UK corporate death penalty of course, usually followed by some corporate pathology (ie fraud investigation).

Great fun. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 02:07:58 PM EST
My proposed solution for top executives following the sort of intervention you describe combined with a defined "due process" and ongoing supervision/surveillance might be a workable way forward. But first we have to re-educate most of the public.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 03:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and its sociopathic tendencies greatly reduced. I see the 'capital punishment for corporations' frame as advancing the idea that corporations are a single static concept with irredeemable and permanent sociopathic tendencies, and that the only way to deal with this is to make the sociopath very afraid of severe punishment.

We might better think of corporations as still in their childhood and capable of great positive changes as they mature. But it will take the rest of us, the voting public, to force that maturation into the law of corporate governance and form. That's where the real problem lies: in most political systems 'the people' are feeble and corporations and those who benefit from their socially detrimental behavior are very powerful.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 02:56:11 PM EST
fairleft:
We might better think of corporations as still in their childhood and capable of great positive changes as they mature.

that's a very mature re-framing. it de-polarises the debate.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 03:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem lies beneath this reframing. Corporations aren't humans, and work differently than human single or group/social brains.

It is, possible however, to displace profit as the ONLY legal motivator, possibly by hobbling pure-profit corporations.

As for corporate lobbies, bring back bribery laws.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 06:13:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As it stands now it's institutionalized sociopathy.

Any corporation can fit this profile without having any individual sociopaths within the organization, although almost everyone in a leadership role will have to engage in sociopathic behavior.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 07:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think corporations are in their childhood, and I don't think they're likely to improve, any more than unfettered monarchy or artistocracy were ever in a childhood that could become a public good.

There are good organisational reasons why corporations act sociopathically, and also good psychological ones. Effectively corporate culture breeds sociopathy - it's a direct and predictable outcome of the corporation as a political structure.

I'll explain why in a future diary.

Corporations are a feudal throw-back. They were originally created by kings as special rewards for supporters, and have always been inherently artistocratic and anti-democratic.

It makes no sense to allow corporations in a nominal democracy, because their existence completely subverts any pretence at democratic accountability.

This doesn't - obviously - mean that groups of people shouldn't cooperate for mutual social and economic benefit. But there are certainly far better models for that then the corporate one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 22nd, 2010 at 05:57:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You will still have a 'corporation' no matter how you constitute a corporate board of directors, so I don't think it's easy to say a corporations will be sociopathic no matter how its board of directors is constituted. If a society said that the majority of corporate board members needed to be elected by the firm's employees, then, well, that would be a very different corporation and possibly a less sociopathic one than the 'shareholders reps only on the board' corporation that exists (in most places) today.

I think boards of directors of corporations above a certain size should be a mix of elected employees plus representatives of shareholders, creditors, management, and local, regional, and national governments. In any case the design and re-design of boards of directors would be placed in the hands of the national democracy. If, of course, democracy is terminally corrupted by corporate influence, and it is, forget it.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 10:45:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the board has very little actual power. Power resides only where it is exercised, which means that it resides with management and specialists - the technostructure, in a word - rather than with the directors.

Now, that's not to say that electing half the board from the employees wouldn't help. It almost certainly would help, particularly because it would serve to break the tendency for upper management to insulate itself in a bubble world of yes-men that see no evil, hear no evil and speak of no evil. (Although one would have to be wary of the kind of outsourcing shell games that always seem to crop up when a prerogative is made conditional on employee status.)

But it's not a magic bullet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 03:38:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boards of directors have potentially all power, they just need to exercise it. It's economically sensible for shareholders to allow managers all corporate power as long as managers are heavily 'incentivized' to pursue shareholder profit uber alles (even though that approach to corporate goals is sociopathic and usually economically irrational). But, for any of the other stakeholders I mentioned, that approach toward latent/actual corporate power is irrational; it would not stand if most board of directors' power were in the hands of non-shareholders.

fairleft
by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 04:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boards of directors have potentially all power, they just need to exercise it.

The board does not have the information that it needs to exercise effective control of a large company. Hell, upper management does not normally have adequate information to exercise effective control of the large company.

The fact that it possesses the formal prerogative to exercise control is about as relevant as the Queen of England's prerogative to appoint the Prime Minister.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 07:25:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we have huge corporations rampaging over the Earth and - no one is in charge?

No wonder there are problems.

Although in fact many of the more aggressive and pernicious corporations are run as personal kingdoms. You don't need to know what the foot soldiers had for dinner to run an empire - you only need them to charge when you order them to. So the required information density can be quite low.

The core issue is really one of values. The battle is between democratic, pluralistic communitarianism, and oligarchical narcissistic quasi-monarchic self-aggrandisement.

There's no reason why you can't have a democratic, pluralistic and communitarian business collective. It's not a difficult thing to organise.

But the problem at the moment is the moral lockdown on the idea that this is a good thing to aim for. Narrative space is so poisoned with narcissistic individualism that it's like dealing with a culture of solipsistic sleep walkers, all of whom believe that reality doesn't apply to them - and that success is defined by the ability to impose reality on other people, rather than by allowing a rational consensus balanced by adventure to emerge.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 08:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody is "in charge" in the sense that there is somebody (or a small group of people) you can shoot to make things better.

If society wants to make corporations "better," it first has to figure out what it wants to use corporations for. At the moment, society has decided to deploy corporations in the service of ever greater material consumption, and the personal aggrandisement (and enrichment) of top corporate executives.

If we want corporations to remain in the service of "more," but cut back on the enrichment and personal aggrandisement of top executives, then management reform on the lines proposed above would probably do the trick. But if we also want the corporation to serve (or at least not obstruct) broader political and social objectives than the ever-faster conversion of raw materials and labour into consumer goods, we will have to engage with the levels below the top executives as well. Because the creed of "more" is quite well established in these lower levels (and it serves the organisational interests there very well, so it's not going to go away on its own).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 09:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is that creating "a democratic, pluralistic and communitarian business collective" might be even easier than you think: simply reform who gets to sit on the corporate board of directors. Corporate law is completely free and loose on this matter: anything you can think of is legal and easily doable, if there is the political will.

I agree with Jake S below, though, that it is difficult to get workers not to prioritize their own incomes and benefits over wider community and/or national/global interests, even if there is a minority community/regional/national representation on corporate boards. But that's why you will still 'always' need a government independent of workers' and capitalists' (and creditors') narrow interests.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue May 25th, 2010 at 12:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're making the expertise argument against democracy. It's not a good one.

Anyway, boards can get the information they need (that currently they don't want), and can be expert enough to know when things are going horribly wrong. And, even if they cannot become experts (no one should expect democratic representatives to be experts on everything they make decisions on), boards can incentivize upper management in a socially beneficial direction and/or hire outside experts who can regulate upper management in that direction.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue May 25th, 2010 at 12:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not arguing against democracy. In point of fact, I am on record arguing for a half-and-half distribution between shareholder representatives and employee representatives in corporate boards. (Having representatives of various government levels directly on the board is a cute idea, but the revolving door is revolving quite fast enough for my taste already...)

I'm just pointing out that it is not sufficient, not arguing that it is not a good idea.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue May 25th, 2010 at 01:27:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good. I see we really don't disagree, and I probably should've seen that sooner.

I'm not as confident as you about what would result from various corporate board reforms/revolutions, and think it's best to say "we don't know" the effects would be of reforming corporate boards in various ways.

My thinking, any of this sort of thinking really, assumes an environment where corporations and the wealthy would not be allowed to corrupt democracy with money and similar things. In that non-corrupted dream context, the people we elect to handle overall community interests are ideal people to have as insiders voting those interests on corporate boards. We might even want to give them the majority of 'votes'. But everything decided preliminarily has to be tentative, and communities and nations should be expected to learn from experience and keep modifying until they get things still imperfect but as good as probably possible and way the hell better than the current anti-social madness.

fairleft

by fairleft (fairleftatyahoodotcom) on Tue May 25th, 2010 at 02:42:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A freakingly brilliant concept, narrative, even a new mythology in the making..

Time to spread it!!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 21st, 2010 at 05:08:30 PM EST
Profitable Action without Accountability is bad human economic policy. I stick "human" in there to avoid a lot of "rational decision maker" paleoeconomic crap from being presented to me, as I am losing patience with it.

Humans joined together in an enterprise lose their social morality in proportion to the size of the enterprise. Nice dads riot at soccer games.

Somewhere at the BP offices will be found, or offered up as sacrifice, the person who dismissed the Schlumberger crew before the cementing was assessed.

And the mud crew boss who dismissed the rubber pieces of the annular seal when they were presented as evidence of trouble.

BP corporate culture is being microscopically examined, but it will not change, but merely resiliently return to corporate ideals, which are to maximize profit to shareholders and bonuses to executives.

Profit cannot override social responsibility, and citizens assume the government assures this. The rage comes when that assumption is revealed false.

Obama is the child at the dike, running out of fingers.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Mon May 24th, 2010 at 06:43:52 PM EST


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