Ruben Ruiz

Custody Officer, LASD

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Can corporations really interfere with the health or our world communites? If so how and what should we do about it?

If corporations' bottom line is profits for it's share holders, is there a moral obligation on their part that those profits are not at the expense of any community or it's own employees? Take for example the biggest oil corporations that have destroyed thousands of acres of fetile forests and have caused damage to our oceans again and again at the expense of many communities for decades. All the while making record profits for it's share holders. And there are many other corporations that do and keep doing similar damage at the many communities detriment. Does any entity have the power to challenge such violations on the part of such negligent corporations? If not, why not? This is of course my personal observation and I am no expert but I am simply posing these questions for the sake of the benefit of the only planet we have. If the UN is not looking out for the planet's and it's inhabitants interes' then who should the world community turn to for help? I don't even hear any plea from our world religious leaders on these critical matter, do you? If I'm wrong to assume any or all of this, can you at least guide me and show me where I might be off mark? Thank you.

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    Feb 8 2012: As you have pointed out, mr. Ruiz, the actions of the corporations speak for themselves. The only thing that matters is profit, even if it is at the expense of other people, communities, countries or the environment. The main advantage a corporation has is that it works at an international level, meaning still unregulated space. Naturally, these corporations will exploit the lack of regulations, the different law systems in different countries, the corruption of foreign governments, the poverty of other states and so on, with the single purpose of achieving their goals.

    What can be done to stop this kind of corporate behaviour? The answer might be stronger international regulations to avoid such exploitation, BUT the problem here is not only a legal one, it's an ethical one. And besides, corporations have influence over hundreds, if not thousands of politicians around the world who will help to ensure a favourable outcome of those on whose payroll they are.

    I sincerely doubt there is any VIABLE solution to this matter. I think we must wait until this system fails and collapses from inside, because only then MAYBE they will have learnt the lesson.
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      Feb 9 2012: I couldn't agree more with your statement Mr. Danzinger. I would only add that it seems to me that the world super powers' foreign poicies are for the most part responsible for opening the way and protecting the way corporations do business in these unregulated space at the international level.
      And this system of doing business as usual does in fact need to fail from within before we can really hope to find any viable solutions. And it does seem that this is already happening to some degree and more and more people are becoming aware of this unsustainable and dirty way of doing business as usual that corporations and their puppet world govenments keep telling us is the only way when is NOT.
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    Feb 23 2012: Ruben, yes in a word*
    The corporate structure was set up by taking advantage of the law set in motion to enable slaves to enjoy freedom. It was never meant for a corporation to take advantage of the masses. The sad reality is it does. With abandon. The two highest earning profit centres of the globe are war armaments and patent medicine. Both are deleterious to the survival of species and sustainability of the planet. Both have moved us away from our inherent DNA handbook of survival. We no longer create health which is established by our birth and the process under which we were born. Our high tech high interventionist medical model of industrial birth spawns the perfect smaller brain, poor health and all the requirements for a military medical hegemony success story. But not health, happiness and harmony. Those are only provided by nature. When we honour our nature rather than corporate machinery, we have physiological and psychological health, which begets harmony. When we examine the science we learn that the so called uncivilized, less developed nations, tribes, communities of the globe are the healthiest. Where as those who attempt to fall under the lock step of western Military - Medical hegemony are the consumers of our wares.
    Corporations have all the rights of a human without any of the responsibilities. They are, our undoing. The balance has moved so far from the fulcrum that we don't know who we are, why we are or what we are doing. We need to be told by a nanny state run by marketing marionettes. We the public have become consumers: the puppets of profit.
    Western democracy is an oligarchy. We need a 'Western Spring' to flush the lobbyists for multi-nationals from our so called democratic institutions; if we ever what to be real once again, born with health, fed on the elixir of life and the milk of human kindness, bonded to our life source and worthy of our species; we have to kick the consumption habit that is killing us and the planet.

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      Feb 23 2012: Wow, I am in awe for such a realistic response to my question. Thank you so much for a simple yet complex explanation of our current sad state of world affairs. And how big pharma and the military industrial complex are some of the entities that are at the source of our demise as a world community. Lobbyists from any and all corporations need to be flushed by any means in deed. We have lost our identiy as individuals for sure and this is what each one of us need to realize first if we are to grasp and comprehend what we've become, consumers and puppets of profit like you stated it. And how ironic that a corporation that has the word holy in it, mon-santo, is one of the most evil corporations on earh. It should be called mon-evil as there is nothing holy/santo about it.
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        Feb 23 2012: Thanks for that Ruben...don't know my Spanish well enough, I can see...interesting observation.

        Holy 'Agent Orange' Batman...lets get them all at 'Roundup'...if we miss any we can fix'em with 'Posilac' (rBGH)...and if that fails lets dig out the new GM weetieOs with the nano nitro genes...when the milk hits look out...we will rule the world...'cept we are going to be a whole lot lonely...just us and the FDA left to enjoy anything thats left. What if we make this world a better chemical place and nobody comes?

        We need to find all the propagandists, spin doctors and lobbyists possible for Mother Nature if we want to turn these nano minds around.

        RE: lobbyists of the empire...a must, read if you haven't already is:
        John Perkin's books...especially....

        ...amazing exposé and polemic on the status quo...and who...what ....and why it continues...MONEY!
        He names names, corporations and details ...and gives the behind the scene scoop from a a high level managing participant...who finally found his conscience....better late than never. What an embarrassment to the honest but duped American public who think their government is looking after them.
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          Feb 23 2012: Great play of words with Monevil's killer creations and gift to the detriment of Mother Earth and us consumer puppets.
          I have not read the books you listed by John Perkin but have heard him talk on "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman. And yes, what an embarrasment for US here in the best democracy that money can buy and since the corporations and the 1%ers are the only one influencing our elected officials with their thousands of lobbyists the rest of us are just the consumer puppets of their profits like you stated. I myself served in the military for six years but had to get out as my conciousness could not bare how the all volunteer force is simply the US corporations private military. And you are right to point that better late than never for sure. I'm thankfull for having join the military as it open up my eyes to what's really going on from the inside of the military industrial complex, whan an education from the belly of the beast.
          I just hope that more and more of the "honest but duped among US" begin to see the light if we are to aim to change the status quo. Thank you Colin for your wise words and please keep spreading such tragic truth to whoever is willing to listen if they are finally tired of being the consumer puppets of profits that "they" have molded US into. I'm even willing to assert that most people from outside the US can see or are the fallen victims of the US foreign policies that the corporations mandate in order to exploit foreign markets and whatever natural resources still exist outhere. And fresh water is now what oil has become for corporations, the next frontier of profit at the detriment of the world community.
          Thank you again for your insighful comments.
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        Feb 24 2012: Thanks advice is simple: back to simple and natural.

        I am in no way a Luddite...but boy do I sympathize with who they were and the value that they brought to the world with the Industrial Revolution. They made us all think a little harder (but not hard enough) about what we were doing.

        First and most auspicious step we must take, is involving our women in the birth of our babies. When Mother nature is our midwife....outcomes are safer, happier, healthier and leaves the lawyers out of the loop and the take…along with all manner of other professions who use our medical model of industrial birth as their plump pension plan.

        98% of babies are born in a hospital. (these stats are for North America…worse or better in other areas who imitate us.)

        90% are drugged along with their mothers ( how else could you stand the mental evisceration and loss of control in YOUR child's birth.)

        1 of every 3 children enter the world through a bloody hole in the mother's belly.
        Their first view of the world is blurred with the blood of their mothers...the first thing they see is laser sharpened steel which sometimes misses its mark and leaves indelible marks in the body and psyche....(my son was born with a scar above his eye...from the needle of amniocentesis...luckily it missed his eye!)
        This is very real Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and effects much greater than ⅓ of the population. ADHD, ADD and all the other disorders we see now but never saw several generations ago are the result of our birthing practices and the trickle down effect on breast feeding dysfunction, broken bonding of the mother baby dyad and further trickle down to a 65% divorce rate (lucky lawyers again).
        If a baby is not breast fed it is not getting all the innate immunity boosters necessary to thrive…survive yes, often barely…but with horrendous baggage and health issues.
        Just one simple ‘trickle down’ is the lack of the dynamic of hydraulics which a natural birth creates.

        con't below....
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        Feb 24 2012: Con't...

        Many children have numerous respiratory problems resulting form amnionic fluid not being removed in the process of drugged high interventionist birth. Like so many things now we want it fast and easy. That imprint from birth of the ‘easy way out’ without struggle for survival impinges our health. Not unlike the parable of the butterfly and cocoon. ( )
        Without a ‘mother bear’ bond, we fail to fall in love with our babies (really fall in love like this child is the future of the planet and our ultimate survival) and so we nurture at ‘arms length’. Without the bond the natural carry of the baby goes wanting. The vital physical contact with mother or significant other is essential for neural development and healthy endocrine function and myriad other bodily processes. One result of this is we have physically smaller brains than a century or so ago. The dominos keep tumbling after we knock the first over with a scalpel, tongs, vacuum pump or what ever heinous ejection/extraction machine or medicine we devise.
        Just walking into a hospital shuts down labour for most women. Which normally is a good thing. It is a natural survival mechanism. But in a hospital thats when ‘delivery’ happens not birth. Not all women “fail to progress”, some are so confident, sure and educated about their bodies that they are able to push away the intervention when it has no value except for the bottom line. They are a rarity. Our fear mongering has turned women to unempowered consumers and tax payers rather than nature’s ‘mother bears’.
        Many cultures scoff as us…how could you possibly leave with the wrong baby…don’t we know our babies? Apparently not.
  • Feb 22 2012: I agree with your examples of negligent corporations and the raping of the planet's environment.

    However, I must point out that we are the ONLY species on the planet who EXPECT, ANTICIPATE and PLAN to live in it without supporting it...nothing else does, without their 'daily struggle to survive'.

    My point of view' : 'Retirement' is bad for the planet, in every possible way.

    We employ economic means to maintain our existence, long after we have stopped contributing to the daily grind.
    Corporations, whether deemed 'good' or 'evil', compound this issue exponentially.

    -If we had something akin to 'compound gardening' , as opposed to 'compound interest', the world would be safe from our economically destructive tendancies.
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      Feb 22 2012: Well said Roy, I could not have said it better myself. This world-wide conciousness is what we need more of and slowly but surely we are getting there. Thank you for your comments and insights.
  • Feb 17 2012: I do believe that corporations are damaging the health of our communities in many ways. As has already been pointed out a corporation is not a person it is the CEOs and board of directors who make the decisions for the direction of the corporation as well as the value system of the corporation and the culture. This direction gets passed down the ranks for communication to its employees who then carry out the wishes off " the corporation", more often then not a few things happen, first of all the CEOs and board of directors are making decisions about the direction of the corporation when they are too far removed from the business so they really don't know what is happening on the frontlines and secondly their direction is interpreted by several levels of management before getting to the frontlines so the direction may take on something slightly different when finally delivered. The message finally received by the frontlines is then processed and based on what is really happening can be implemented or at times it is just way out there and not possible, so the employees simply shut down feel defeated before they even start.
    How does this hurt our communities, well it has an emotional effect on the people because they become stressed, unhappy, depressed they begin to suffer health issues and their families suffer as well. These employees may even lose their jobs because they aren't "cutting it" when in reality maybe the direction wasn't attainable in the first place.
    As we are now experiencing in the US and in Europe our current economic model of growth is faltering and we need to come up with something new that benefits all people and entities not just large corporations. Our governments need to be accountable to the mass of citizens that elect them rather than the large corporations that dictate policy after all we are a democracy aren't we?
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    Feb 16 2012: Corporations are just a business structure, the people who make them up are people, that includes the employees who carry out whatever environmentally damaging labor they do, that includes the customers who provide a market for the companies goods that includes the investors from large share holder to the pensioner who's IRA hods some shares./ Rather than chastise the corporations (a classic them) we should work on learning and educating each other about what is being done by what company and each of us (the classic us in the us against them) should act on that knowledge.

    There was once a country called South Africa and it had a political system called Apertied. Apartied no longer exists.One very big reason was a boycott of all companies doing business with south africa
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    Feb 16 2012: As its been said, this abuse is driven by profit. Capitalism promotes it. Our legal system supports it. Shareholders demand it and executives are measured (compensation) by it. (I know, I was one...). The entire system promotes/rewards profit, opportunity and exploitation and all levels. We are just now understanding the carbon footprint (and other resources like water) connected to everything being produced. Education is key, once we all understand the environmental impact of buying a new iPhone every 6 months or drinking bottled water. There also water footprint calculators that reveal things like it takes 500 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans. Here are some interesting links to calculating the carbon and water footprint of various products and activities. We could base our purchasing decisions on this information.

    There are also corporate "green" accountability organizations that due cursory audits on corporate activities. If they could band together, establish a well defined audit methodology, establish a easy to understand accountability grading system, get a bill passed in congress where manufacturers/service providers are required to place their grade on their products/service... then consumers could make educated decisions on which companies they want to support.
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    Feb 14 2012: There's one way to deal with a corporation that insists on sinning against the human race - gather that human race together and walk away from any and all products and services that said company offers. Make it clear that this is being done to specifically eliminate that corporation and all its subsidiaries, and due to (list the specific issues and how the corporation has refused to be responsible after repeated requests by organized petition) so that every other corporation can learn from the death of that corporation. Hire a marketing firm to handle the spectacle as the corporation's stocks tumble once the world realizes that it simply can't sell anything within the largest single market on the entire planet (The US market), and this will fuel the demise as the buzzards of capitalism circle to devour the imminent carrion that will be available soon.

    Then, when that corporation has completely cratered - including every single one of its wholly owned subsidiaries - target the C-level executives and board members for public exposure, with a campaign aimed at these men and women to ensure that they don't parachute into the top tiers of other large corporations. This campaign should continue for at least two years after the execution of their company's extended enterprise.

    Yes, this does sound radical, but if properly implemented, two - maybe three - large corporations, at most, would need to be obliterated before the rest of global capitalism would begin an effort to police itself, with an eye on survival by way of responsible corporate governance. The laid off employees would be needed by competitor companies when the large corporation and all its subsidiaries were eliminated from the supply-chain/OEM community. After all, product A is not that much different from product B, and if product A has been eliminated, then people will choose product B, or even try products C and D for a change. Product A's workers can fill those needs as demand increases.
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      Feb 15 2012: Wow my friend, I can tell and appreciate the very practical and well guided map you are giving us to follow in order to really send a strong message to all the evil corporations that exist. Thank you very much for your great and insightful words, very radical in deed but this might be the only accion and tone that is needed. And come together we must with very concrete and defined goals in mind if we are to really make our voices heard.
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        Feb 17 2012: Thanks. I get frustrated sometimes by how obvious the remedy actually is, and how impossible it seems to be that the average person will ever grasp it. Corporations live and die as a result of their customer base exercising passive choice in product selection. Yogi Berra once said "If the people aren't going to show up to the ballpark, you can't stop them." Yeah, it comes across cute and a bit convoluted, but the power in that axiom is tremendous when dealing with any entity that depends on active and constant support from a community for its survival. No protests. No civil disobedience. Just passive refusal to give such an entity the purposeful and ongoing financial support that it needs to exist.

        I'll never understand a business that doesn't see its own white underbelly as being what it is. Then again, my C-level executive kid brother has always insisted that 80% of people in a corporate environment are barely capable of actually doing their jobs. Maybe sound judgment isn't all that common in the board room either.
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    Feb 9 2012: Mr. Ruben, you should understand that economy of which profit is one of it's main terms does not belong to the category "moral" or "dignity" or "right" or "wrong".
    Final aim is maximization of influence and power, and of course profit. But simply it's not profit anymore cause corporations create enormous profits.
    You just ruin the reputation of one big corporation and it's profit will enormously decrease or increase , depending on their PR. And of course the level of how politicians are immune to corruption. But politicians are corrupted, it's a fact. They all want only one thing - money and power.
    And it's a fact that corporations buy their new statuses and buy whatever they want in the legal system.
    Once the people will be mature on conscious level, corporations will no longer exist.
    When or how it happens, very few would know.
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      Feb 9 2012: Mr. Bong, I agree and know that profits currently do not fall under the categories of moral, dignity, right or wrong. Although i would argue that most of us, consumers, can sometimes see how wrong it is for corporations to make huge profits at the detriment of our world communities and i can assume that the share holders are aware of the damage being done but birght profits blind them from the reality.
      But you are so right when you state that "once the poeple will be mature on a concious leve that corporations will no longer exist'. And this is what my attempt is, to start talking about this very sad and detrimental truth fo the sake of the world commuinities. Being aware of the problem is the first step and us discussing and talking about this is what needs to happen before we can begin to see the possibilites of what we can do to fight this issue.
  • Steve C

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    Feb 9 2012: is an interesting site.
    Flow: For the Love of Water says some pretty bad things about Nestle, I think.
    You're on the internet, keep giving people your thoughts. Do more research, put that knowledge to use & change your own ways, & share these changes with your friends & family & neighbors.
    Kill your t.v.
    Cut back on unnecessary driving.
    Stop eating red meat.
    Cut down on using dirty electricity (including nuclear).
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      Feb 9 2012: Thank you very much Steve for sharing such an excellent example of what corporations have and continue to do to our world communities. It is so sad that a country like Colombia who receives so much monetary and military aid from the US has such a horrific record of human right violations and the country where unions and their leaders are being killed at a rate higher than in any other country. Plan Merida in Mexico like plan Colombia are one and the same and being fuled by the same entity and for the same reasons. Corporations are dictating US and other world power foreing policies to enrich themselves at the detriment of our world communities, no doubt in my mind about this.
      And thank you for pointing some good examples on what we can start doing to help deal with corporations. We make chices whenever we spend our money and this is wher we have a say in the matter no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, when being done by millions of people then corporations will listen.
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    Feb 8 2012: Sadly, this seems like a very accurate portrayal of the state of corporate and really individual greed since shareholders seem so willing to pocket money at the expense of the planet. But there is a bright spot in the news this week. The CDC found that as the level of trans fats in the food supply dropped, so did the level of plasma trans fatty acids in the bloodstream of the U.S. population. The story is one of triumph for consumer advocates and government agencies as both the F.D.A. and local governments took steps to reduce the use of trans fats. You may be aware that trans fats were banned from restaurants in some cities, including New York. So maybe there is hope that if the motivation exists to stop corporations from polluting the environment, then the means to do so will be found. It would seem we need more definitive connections between environmental pollution and health. Let's hope that the next generation of scientists will be able to build on work being done today to stop pollution in the future.
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      Feb 9 2012: Thank you for sharing such good news Kathy. And i'm sure this happened as a result of consumer advocate groups that got involved and got the ball rolling so that our government agencies do what we've elected them to do. More and more people around the globe are becoming aware of the damage that corporations are leaving behind and organizing and stading up for what is right. And this is what needs to happen if we are to slow down the damage being done to the only place we've got, our mother earth. Awareness, discussion and accion is what we all need to participate in if we are to be part of the solutions to our current sad state of world affairs.
  • Feb 5 2012: Fining and incarceration for crimes has been around for quite a while. Oil companies and others are even fined heavily for accidents. I would leave the UN out of it as much as possible. They've promoted the idea that they should have some direct super-governmental political power, but it makes no sense. The UN is merely a meeting place for diplomats. The common result we get when some of them get together to tell us what to do in the name of some cause, is that we get scammed. I should think that the global warming fraud would have made everyone aware of that by now, for those who weren't already aware for so many other reasons. Criminal and civil laws are the business of existing governments and commonly coordinated through treaties between sovereign nations. We already have that. Is there anything in particular that you'd like to see changed?
  • Feb 1 2012: we could only help eachother,cause some people upon the system are just pretending to be deaf and blind.
    but i heard of something in australia that the government or parliament there is rising the tax of the big corporations.The main goal is to rise the tax for the corporations so that they wont be able to buy much/more or destroy natural resources.

    the only solution is unity within us humans,including the big guys.
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      Feb 3 2012: I agree with your overall view. I would only add that our politicians are listenng and listening well but only to those who contribute to their campaigns and not their constituents. And that the only color they seem to notice is the green, just like corporations.
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    Jan 31 2012: I really appreciate your question ! It seems to me that "A few tend to ruin it for the rest". Five to 10 percent of the people in government and corporations (in fact 5 to 10 percent of people in general) actually do not care whether or not they are doing harm to others or the planet. I wish there was an entity that would intervene on Humanity's behalf.

    It seems that there are many organizations, agencies, and individuals trying to prevent harm, but not enough actually working together...yet. I agree that you are on the mark. Also, I wish we could move to more advanced kinds of energy, so that we do not have to burn things anymore.
  • Jan 30 2012: Of course they can.
    One Moment for example, a new project that offers ecologic shoes, is a great example for it!
    Knowing how indians protected their feet, this company has created new shoes that not only respect our environment, while spreading the word of "respect" to the world, but leads a trend that other many companies will join in a short term future.
    In we have dedicated a hole post to talk about this great initiative!
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      Jan 30 2012: Um, leather is biodegradable too.
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    Jan 30 2012: We the people!
    (first you need to get us to fight, and those here on ted are fighting ... in some way)

    Before we can start to actually fight we need to change our values away from this materialistic view.
    Then the time might come where people stand up and fight, today such companys (which are at least the largest companies) just get too much support by westerns (rich = western, europe and america, in this case at least) which are happy to be able to get theyr "stuff" for low prices and which are unaware that theyre actually supporting the exploitation of third world countrys.

    Well thats at least my opinion.
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    Jan 29 2012: companies don't have any obligations to anyone, because they are just structures created by people for the sake of organizing economic activities. all the value judgments come from the people. it is similar to asking whether a ladder has any obligation not to fall on something. no, ladder is a wooden or metal structure that allows you, the user, to climb up. you have obligation to use the tool for good, and don't hurt anyone with it. the company is a tool of the shareholders. shareholders are responsible for their decisions what they do with their company. only people have responsibility. things, organizations, societies don't.
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      Jan 30 2012: Hey look we actually agree I am so pleased. :) Seriously you have been an eye opening contributor from my perspective Thank You.
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      Jan 30 2012: You state a great truth about companies Pinter, and I guess that we shold simply learn and live with such a fact, right? All I was trying to do is simply pose the question that we as a world community need start organazing to fight this mode of operandi that companies and corporations impose upon the rest of us. And now that corporations and companies are being allowed to grow and grow to the point that they are deemed "too bing to fail' is a very scary proposition in my humble opinion. But I guess the same could be said about the so called "war on drugs' that many countries simply roll over to the US and take thier money and military aid that comes with agreeing to join forces to combat such an expensive and elusivie enemy.
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        Feb 1 2012: Corporate structures and people in them are ruining the world stock holders and bankers are getting rich by "giving us" a tiny fraction of what our work produces the best way to move I think is to transform stocks to federal t-bills of equal value give the stock holders the t bills, give the shares to the people employees by the company (spread to those who have no shares ) Make the shares worth 80% of what they were and have the company required to buy the shares of any fired retiring or downsized employee at time of separation. The shares are then available to be used in new hires new hires get small inital share stakes and gain shares overtime.
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          Feb 3 2012: It sounds to me like we should decrease the share holders take and increase the share to the employees. But I think that what someone ought to be doing is keeping something like a % of the total profits just in case down the line that corporation causes damage to a community or it's residents and/or employees. But you point out some good points and new ideas. Thank you for your comment.
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        Feb 22 2012: i would argue that the relationship between owner and company is similar to that of between genes and phenotype.

        another way to look at it is any tool has a function. a ladder also has one, it does some things well, but it is really bad at other things. a company is good at making money. that is, a company's function is to transform capital goods to other goods in an efficient manner.

        but it still does not have responsibility. how could it be? it can not be punished. it can not be argued with. it does not make choices. only board members or owners do. they bear full responsibility for their own actions. how could they not? can they argue that they only made those choices as board members, as not as human beings? or they can say if they hadn't done it, someone else would have? these are not valid arguments.
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        Feb 23 2012: and that's what's happening :) no companies went to jail ever.

        another example is a car. is the car responsible for anything? yet we still can say that a car is dangerous, it can kill, it can run over things, etc. but it is metaphorical of some sort. actually, we understand that not the car, but the driver is responsible.
  • Feb 24 2012: I'll just post up a quick link addressing the healthcare question, TedX gives some time to an MD and Masters of Public Health named Jay Parkinson who has used the Internet and computing extensively in his practice in NY.
    He does a good job answering parts of your questions.
    The one bit I would like to highlight is the section where he talks about how much money is made per patient in the last 6 months of the dying process. I believe this is a crucial area of abuse 99% of the general public doesn't know the truth about (both the cost and the conditions in our "ethical" treatment of death in hospice or palate care clinics are in)
    One extra fact that should speak volumes- many palliative care clinics have given up on pain management(as it doesnt work well over long periods of time) and simply place the patient under 24/7 heavy sedation until they pass.

    Jay Parkinson TedX talk:
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    Feb 17 2012: The direction of the corporation is primarily set my the CEO and somewhat by the Board of Directors. Everyone else is subject to support that vision or be terminated, subject to the egomania of the CEO. A corporation is not a democracy internally. How do you think that ENRON got to where it did, by the total commitment to dishonesty of all the employees? Of course not. The opinions and vision held by the CEO and his first line of executives regarding sustainability, respect for or against the environment, concern or disinterest of product impact to the health of natural persons, greed or charity, are what really determines the direction that a corporation takes. Corporations need to be accountable for disregarding the rights that natural people were granted in the Constitution, not the other way around.
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    Feb 16 2012: Our Founding Fathers were fearful of Corporations and power - they initially limited the term of existence of the corporation; and the purpose of the corporation had to be clearly stated and not strayed from; also , the corporate charter could be revoked if the corporation violated its charter or the laws of the state; Corporations could not contribute in any way to politicians of the day, or andto local state or federal officials, elections or laws. Lobbying was considered to be bribery and was not allowed. Very few corporations were granted charters, initially. Slowly, through the decisions of the Supreme Court, Corporations came to where they are today: controlling our government through controlling our politicians; promoting laws and regulations (or lack of them) to further their power and profit.
    (See - a non-denominational site)

    1st Amendment Free Speech rights. Corporations use these rights, meant to protect human beings from the power of the state, to influence elections through political "contributions" (more like "investments"); to advertise for guns, tobacco and other dangerous products over the objections of communities; to avoid having to label genetically modified foods.
    * 4th Amendment Search and Seizure rights. Corporations have used these rights to avoid subpoenas for unlawful trade and price fixing, and to prevent citizens, communities and regulatory agencies from stopping corporate pollution and other assaults on people or the commons.
    * 5th Amendment Takings, Double Jeopardy and Due Process corporate rights. Corporations must be compensated for property value lost (e.g. future profits) when regulations are established to protect homeowners or communities. Corporations cannot be retried after a judgment of acquittal in court. The granting of property to a corporation by a public official cannot be unilaterally revoked by a subsequent public official or Act of Congre
  • Feb 14 2012: We cannot rely on folks in corporate governance to be good people, nor can we rely on them to be concerned with the greater good. We have hundreds of years of history to back this up, and we have only exceptions to prove otherwise...

    So, we must ensure that laws and regulations keep the societal good in mind, and the short term goals of corporate governance in check. But, there are ways to do this that are not in conflict with each other.

    High tax rates force governance to keep capital within the organization, to reinvest it, to build upon the existing. If we allow folks to do otherwise, we deprive businesses of the opportunity (albeit forced...) to build upon existing technologies and grow for future opportunities.
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    Feb 14 2012: The primary objective of a corporation was clarified by the Michigan Supreme Court in the 1919 case "Dodge V. Ford Motor Co. where the court stated that " A business corporation is organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders. The purpose of the directors are to be employed for that end". ( This information is from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

    Corporations have gained many of the rights granted only to natural persons in the BIll of Rights. These rights have been granted by the courts, The Supreme Court being the primary one. Now, Corporations (particularly the Mega-corporations) have tremendous influence over many of our politicians, and thereby control our 'democracy'.

    Over 75% of Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters polled wanted a Single-payer health care system. Why did this not ever get anywhere. You might want to look at who the lobbyists were and who was being lobbied.

    Corporations can do what they do because they have the constitutional rights to do it.

    Why isn't GMO food (Genetically Modified Food Organisms) labeled on our food? Over 95% of people polled want it - well, the Corporations have the right to 'NOT" speak - granted by decisions of the Supreme Court. (see for more info)

    The founding fathers were well aware of the dangers of corporations and were very wary of them. For many years legislative bodies would not allow the chartering of Corporations, except for limited amount of time and for a specific purpose. That has all been changed over time, by the Supreme Court.
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      Feb 14 2012: "Why isn't GMO food labeled [...] Over 95% of people polled want it "

      no, they actually don't. they answer on a poll that they want it, but it is not the case in the mall. it would be easy to buy the food that explicitly states it is GMO free. if that would be an advantage on the market, all products without GMO's would be labeled so, since it sells better. but it does not happen. and it does not happen because people actually don't care. they just want cheap products, and they want the products they like. people won't stop buying their favorite cereal or dairy products if they turn out to have GMO in it. GMO hysteria only exists in public opinion and media, but not in people's actual choices.

      the marketplace is very precise in serving people's actual wants. it completely ignores their announced preferences.
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      Feb 15 2012: If "corporations can do what they do because they have the constitutional rights to do it", then how come if i poison another person i'll be prosecuted and if found guilty i'll be looking at some jail time, or if i empty millions of retirees savings i'll expect the same result. But how come when corporations comit this crimes they are allowed to pay a very small fine and without ever admiting any wrong doing? I know that they do this because they've got our government in their pockets and that's why they pay all those pesky lobbysts to do all that dirty business behind the curtains. And BTW where are the lobbysts for us the people? This is the best demorcacy money can buy and this is why even today our government have not prosecuted anybody involved in the housing bubble debacle. This of course is my humble opinion and how i see this whole mess of ours.
  • Feb 10 2012: there is no moral obligation as far as they are not following any moral obligation that i can see. the bottom line is profit... in general... the bottom line for many people as individuals is also is something within us all...for instance youa re using a computer i perume or i phone to type these wrods the factory that made the computer was likely in sen xin the chinese factory city where most electrical goods come from and where people are working 35 hour shifts getting carpel tunnels syndrome etc etc etc the list goes on... so have you no moral obligation to boycott all products that cause damage to epople and the environment? is only a little thing but all the littel things add up to a big corporation..we want cheap laptops the way to get them is to produce them in a country that doesnt care whether its people or environmnet suffer we want cheap feul so unless you have never used petrol how can you accuse big corporations of self interest... if you cant change yourself who can you change ? if you wish to profit above the suffering of anyon eevn in a small way then a corporation is just the sum total of allwe can hope is thpeople doing so in small ways ...but obviously if we coudlnt type on our computers we couldnt have this converstation and share what we have...if they werent burning and destroying the wetlands of my country home to man yspecies i could not have electricity to power this exchange. i am not willing to give up this profit i am making for the people whoar esuffering ro for the land or for the birds and neither is anyone else...but the best we can do is to demand better and better fo our corporations untill such time as these things even out and we can use the energy we have no which is exploitative to create better energy supplies.. really it is hard work and self sacrifice to give up something you like which is produced unethically inthe hope that someone will produce it ethically instead.but alternatives are being born support em!
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      Feb 15 2012: Lots of truths in your well thoughtout response and I appreciate it, thank you. And yes, I we are all resposible for the daily choices we make, some are supporting those same corporations that are damaging our envrionment and our world communities directly and indirectly. And I posed the question as a way to bring awareness of the problem and to start a dialog on what each one of us can do to start demanding better and better from our corporations like you've stated. And supporting the few corporations that at are trying to do the right thing. Again thak you for your reality check on what's going on and what each one of us can do to help with the cause.
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    Feb 9 2012: Well said Mr. Erik, my great respect to you.
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    Feb 6 2012: It is easy to demonize at them. It is easy to demonize an it. I think we(not thats a non distinct group too) should get together and stop the Corporations, its because of them (who are they) that all this (fill in the blank) is happening.

    Who makes up a corporation? Employees and their families management and theirs stockholders and theirs and the consumers and theirs plus the people whose banks have loaned them money and on and on.

    Do you have and IRA or other mutual fund or stock account?

    Does your money sit in an account drawing interest?

    What is your money invested in?

    What Corporations are you calling them that might be you?

    Granted the power and abuse available to the people who are running corperations is to great but who do you think that power comes from if its not you?

    Do you all who chastise corporations boycott their goods and services?

    Not work for them?

    Understand I think what corperations are doing is criminal and terrible, but unlike you it seems, I accept that that makes me a terrible and criminal person until I can make it right. Its not them its me. and its not just me, its all of you.
  • Feb 1 2012: But above all:
    Let's not fight for our rights, which are really our needs.
  • Jan 31 2012: As I pointed out in a related discussion, corporations were created by Roman civil law and "baptized" int English cmmon law by the king of England(see Blackstne on corporations). Common law did not accept Roman law or civil law as an authority, but it DID adapt the corpratin as a useful tool, with the king;s regulation by scholars on the "King's Bench" which was the highest level of court authority at that time. Under E nglish common law, and ONLY by authority of the king, could a corporatio n be a "person". There is no such authority given to US government.

    In the US, cproprations were rejected by the founders of the Constitution, and Jefferson advocated that we destroy in its infancy the "aristocracy of the moneyed corporation". Corporations were NOT approved by the founders. When Madison, Wilson, and franklin tried to develop a federal corporation for "internal improvements" the congress quickly votd it down. Civil law was to have no authority over common law. Since corporations were produicts of civil law and christened or baptized into common law, the power to cntrol corporations was to be kept within state auithority, and there was no power to declare it a person, except by authority of the king, and that authority was rejected by the colonists. There is nothing in the onstitution granting corporations the status of "personhood", nor can there be, since no such authority was ever transferred from the king to any branch of state government.

    This means that the "due process" clause of the 5th and 14th amendments can not refer to corporations, nor grant protection of due process to corporations, since there is no authority whatever given to them as persons. What tis further means is that persons within communities have due process protection against corporate power, but this is ignored by SCOTUS.
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    Jan 30 2012: Corporations like countries are a structure that individuals enter into and lend some portion of their sovereign power to and get something in exchange for. The people in the structure have ultimate responsibility for the entire structure despite having power over only a small part. In this way I am personally responsible for the war in Iraq, Afghanistan and the actions of my country in violating its own laws and international treaties. Yes structures that we empower can do great harm, the more we empower them the more harm they can do. Only by building a thought out structure that makes it possible for people to exert enough power over these great constructs can we avoid them doing great harm.

    The bad news is the most likely answer to this problem relies on the people (you and I) to be so involved informed thoughtful and deliberate that it will become the main part of our daily lives this exercise of responsibility. I am afraid we would quickly build some construct where we ceded this task to others for us and be right back where we are. The fundamental change in the world must be you, and of course me.
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      Jan 30 2012: Really, you take responsability for wars that our government got us into based on lies and decit? I'm not ready to agree with you there and I served in the Air Force 6 years, but having joined I realized how rigged and deceitfull our government really is. And I am thankfull that I served in the military for it made me realize that I was willing to putting myself on the line for this country when our government had the interests of some corporations at heart and not mine or the ones of the citizens that elect them. But that might be a stretch since it is now obvious to me that it is not us who elect our leaders it is the ones who have always had the upper hand, the money sources and not our individual votes.
      But do agree with you that it is up to us, you and I and everyone else who sees a stake in this battle, to fight and try to organize in some way to put and end to it. And this is where the problem lies, in that most of us don't see things for what they really are and therefore don't feel the personal stake in the challenge. Thank you for your insight and participation, I really appreciate and value your opinion.
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        Jan 31 2012: really its every citizens respponsability. Just as its every stockholer employee or customers for corperations.