The purpose of a corporation is to provide profits for shareholders and stakeholders. The shareholder possesses a part of something, while the stakeholder has an interest, in the non-financial sense of the term, in something. Although a shareholder’s liability for the company’s actions is limited, the shareholder may still be liable for its own acts. A corporation is a legal person under the law; views of a corporation typically are of fictional person and moral person. While the corporations of America believe they are helping Americans with cutting cost on productions, they are really doing more damage by causing damages to everything they touch.
It is the moral responsibility of the firm’s supervisors to strike a suitable stability among the shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities in which the firm operates interests in directing the activities of the firm. A corporation has six priorities when thinking about producing profits: consumers, employees, the environment, potential investments, global competition and their environment, and civic policy.
The beginning of the industrial age brought big corporations like U.S. Steel, General Electric, Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Bayer AG. Yet with any new entity came issues. In the landmark 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific, a railroad company withheld a payment taxes in California, arguing that to treat the corporation differently from everyone else violated its constitutional rights. The question was raised of whether corporations were actual persons.
In reality a corporation is in the position of profits for self interest, no matter who is governing it. It’s all bad apples, not just a few. In popular belief many corporations would like to put a monopoly on any industry it’s got its hands on, no doubt. If it weren’t for the government maybe we probably have issues globally similar to the Enron scandal happening everywhere.
Currently, “companies have a lot more to lose today than even 10 years ago, simply because of the potential for being caught and exposed…”.1 So in every right a corporation ought to act according to different aspects of corporate practice and governance, law and ethics involved in business. It goes without showing not everyone follows the law, there are plenty of recent corporate scandals in the USA and elsewhere the have led to the re-examination of standards for the governing of corporations.
Should a corporation be productive at all costs?
Analyzing this question for shareholders would be quite blunt, yes! Yet, for those activists who share their lives with being as environmentally conscientious would believe it’s against odds to commit to this. Not only are the environments of the world being contaminated by corporations but people and animals are as well. The poor labor practices in developing countries, the embarrassing wages, and the ages of these workers all sacrifice their lives to manufacture goods for the exportation of these goods in unfair to many.
Natural resources are another grand issue with corporations; they want to take over everything. If it were up to a corporation they would allow the privatization of these publicly held businesses. Profit, profit, and profit in the eyes of corporations; this is all they visualize.
On page 61-62 of The Corporation, Bakan states a horrible tragedy that had happened to a woman and her three children while driving in her Chevrolet vehicle. The woman was involved in an accident and it deeply burned her and her children, and it was all due to the irresponsibility of General Motors (GM) and them wanting to save money. The family of four went to trial against GM, and “After a lengthy trial the jury found that GM had dangerously positioned the fuel tank to save costs”.2 The family suffered deeply, all due to the “savings” that GM wanted to profit off of. This is the type of incident the world needs to prevent. An analysis of this story should not be overlooked.
Social Responsibility of Corporations
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) should be known for the community developmental projects that they are associated with in their areas. CSR in a corporation should never be compromised, although there are those leaders who set out to fail, organizations need to consider the interest of society and that is by taking responsibility for the influence of their activities on their consumers, employees, shareholders, and especially their stakeholders as a well as the environment in their area.
Although, we the people do not always have a great sense of what each other needs, scandals from corporation is a great damper on our society. From the top of a corporation to the consumers who buy and are pleased with products from that company, money to pay for the legal issues is never anticipated.
Low Prices Everyday
Wal-Mart promises “low prices everyday”, or so that is what a person would see when walking into a chain store and viewing their displays. People pay a hefty price for these everyday low prices, the gasoline has gone up, the truckers are on strike, the economy is not looking so good, and we are still in the market for buying goods. Corporations like Wal-Mart are ruining society as a whole, not only by its existence but its practices. Although their stocks are up and rise every so often, should we be on their “team”? Investing in blunt lies that we will see in our future economy.
Should we side with a “psychopath?”3
Bakan uses this descriptive word for a corporation. Ethically speaking, a business should know what is does and the executive should be able to explain the every move and why. In Bakan’s The Corporation, a corporation is described to have the tendencies of a psychopath, and that its main goal is to create profit. If this is correct, where the ethics for its employees? Should they as well work unethically? Perhaps do as the company they work for and produce profits for themselves? Many could imitate the business in which they work for and it’s a fact many have everywhere in this world of profit making greedy business people. Maybe employees solicit company information to competitors for profits and this leads to the globalization of other businesses.
Do we as an individual have the tendency to exploit others for profit? Or does a corporation have the ability to exploit its workers for profit? Overseas production does just this, exploitation. No matter if a profit increases a corporation does not have the right to exploit human beings.
A business can flourish and become successful. Does it have to commit such crimes to communities and its citizens for it to grow? No, a commitment is made to society to provide for the people, it can go through with its promise and obligations. Jobs in what the economy needs at this moment, outsourcing is hurting main stream society a great deal. Corporations can help by keeping hopes alive by hiring without discrimination and serving people for the good.
A nation should be comfortable in its own companies and not feel betrayed. Should corporations see “Shareholders… that have disappeared from the corporations they owned”4, what sense would this make, if all monies have been placed in this one corporation for it to just be left desert. Would this help a community? Deserted Wal-Marts plagued the U.S., due to their much larger and produce department upgrade. A smart corporation would make use of this, not abandon it, leaving a community bear of what was once the talk of the town.
Did the corporations stand up to what they promised to the communities?
An abandoned Wal-Mart is useless as well as any building. Corporations ought to make profits of this. Keeping the moral of employees and exploring new territories maybe a new marketing tool for big corporations like Apple, Nokia, and Sony. New jobs is what many companies promise, yet they are out of the area once a new and up coming neighborhood is constructed. A commitment that let people down is what many corporations are know for, and they are finding new ways to make those lost profits.
What is Next?
Will outsourcing be the death of employment here in the U.S.? Although many U.S. corporations do begin their life’s here in this beautiful nation, somehow the word is out that profits are out there in other countries, the only inconvenience is the exporting back to the U.S. Hopefully, with this new election coming up, they will address this issue. Gawd only knows if the people of the U.S. will have plentiful of jobs, due to more power plants, factories, and the growth of more corporations in our communities.
1. Dale Neef. Managing Corporate Reputation and Risk: Developing a Strategic Approach to Corporate Integrity Using Knowledge Management. (Amsterdam, Boston Elsevier, 2003.)
2. Joel Bakan. The Corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power. (New York, Free Press, 2004.), 61-62.
3. Joel Bakan. The Corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power. (New York, Free Press, 2004) pg. 15.