Corporate Social Responsibility

You Owe Us, Corporations: Four Reasons Why, and One Way to Pay by Paul Buchheit, Common Dreams, March 30, 2015   The distorted belief that wealthy individuals and corporations are job creators has led to sizeable business subsidies and tax breaks. The biggest giveaway is often overlooked: corporations use our nation’s plentiful resources, largely at no cost, to build their profits.
There are several factual and well-established reasons why corporations owe a great debt to the nation that has made them rich. 1) Our Tax Money Pays for Much of the Research… the state has played a central role in producing game-changing breakthroughs, and that its contribution to the success of technology-based businesses should not be underestimated.” 2 ) Fewer and Fewer People are Reaping the Benefits of Our National Productivity … Big firms use intellectual property law (another gift from the taxpayers) to snatch up patents on any new money-making products, no matter how much government– and university-funded research went into it. 3) Corporations Use Our Resources but Avoid Their Taxes  Stunningly, over half of U.S. corporate foreign profits are now being held in tax havens, double the share of just twenty years ago. 4) Corporations Have Stopped Investing in America corporations are spending most of their profits on themselves, rather than on job-creating research and innovation. An incredible 95 percent of S&P 500 profits were spent on investor-enriching stock buybacks and dividend payouts last year. In 1981, major corporations were spending less than 3 percent of their combined net income on buybacks…

America’s Obscenely Rich Know Full Well That They Are Destroying America By Jim Sleeper, AlterNet, December 9, 2014  …more than a few of these writers resigned and these students marched because they’re indignant as citizens. The eerie dislocations of journalism and criminal justice are only the most recent developments since the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the perpetration of the Iraq War, the capitalist predation and regulatory defaults that have thrown millions of Americans out of their homes and jobs, the revelations about Orwellian state and corporate surveillance that have coalesced into a crisis of legitimacy for the American constitutional system and capitalist republic. Hannah Arendt described the importance of “speech acts” in politics, warning against letting words and deeds get so far apart that the words become empty and the deeds become brutal. Consider first today’s journalistic vortex of increasingly empty words…transformation of American news and opinion outlets into what his CEO Guy Vidra calls “vertically integrated digital media companies.” These ventures break down voices of the American republic into market-driven metrics and repurpose them …to maximize profit, not public deliberation…The answer isn’t that they misread what journalism, politics and capitalism in America are becoming. They read it only too well. The answer is that, like so many other young, market-molded Americans, they don’t understand how the perversion of public life by tsunamis of marketing, financing and technological innovation has decontextualized and overwhelmed thoughtful writing, reading and the habits of mind and heart that sustain republican deliberation and institutions. It is impossible to exaggerate the physical as well as moral danger we are in as a result. We’ve been sleepwalking or dancing up the garden path into it. The American republic – and therefore our expectation that we can express controversial political opinions without going to prison – depends on those habits.…their own lives are spun so finely around commodification that they’ve become its creatures. They may crave a token or two of civic credibility…they lack the civic grounding, the nerve ends, the viscera and the body scars that enable most people to distinguish surface gestures from substantive struggles, and bought speech from real political speech…Although we like to think of ourselves as free men and women, many people’s pressing needs and fears prompted a foot-shuffling deference to power…Leadership to interpret and address the crisis of legitimacy that’s upon us will have to come from people who’ve shared their neighbors’ experiences of expediency and dependency and have found the strength and talent to see past the usual snares and delusions. But in a republic, some citizens have to uphold codes of honor and civic loyalty that are strong enough to keep power responsive to social purposes that can’t be met by markets and can’t be bought off or finessed by them. If capitalism becomes predatory and insinuating, citizens’ codes and trust of one another become empty, the stuff of slick videos and click-bait that lead to slavery. And the predators lose their ability to tell the difference: “Few tricks of the unsophisticated intellect are more curious than the naïve psychology of the business man, who ascribes his achievements to his own unaided efforts, in bland unconsciousness of a social order without whose continuous support and vigilant protection he would be as a lamb bleating in the desert.” That was written by the British economic historian R.H. Tawney in May 1926, in the New Republic — whose present owner is bewildered and bleating. But journalism isn’t justice. It would take a lot more disciplined defiance to make prosecutors and police officers bleat, too. From Nathan Hale and Thomas Paine to Jonathan Schell and Edward Snowden, some Americans have always emerged to announce the need and others to lead in breaking ties that had to be broken and framing new understandings and courses of action that had to be tried.  

Finding Common Ground Between Progressives and Business Is Essential By Rob Kall, OpEdNews 1/6/2015 l

Corporate America, meet ‘Generation C’ by Brian Solis, Washington Post, June 28 2012 – But, while these people may seem distracted, they are, in fact, very much a part of the occasion. Multitasking is a way of life for them, but there’s something more to it than just a love affair with smartphones and tablets. These “always on” audiences share real-world experiences as they happen with friends and acquaintances who, in turn, respond in real time. This means word-of-mouth has evolved from one-to-one to one-to-many conversations. Shared experiences become a formidable currency in the networked economy where the influence of an individual is significantly augmented. And, it’s this influence that changes the game for how consumers and organizations connect in the future. In the age of social media, we are witnessing a C-change (as in “C” for customer) in the balance of power between consumers and businesses. This increasingly empowered generation of connected customers, which I often refer to as Generation-C, is changing the face of engagement and is re-writing the book for how businesses market and serve them in the future. Today, customers realize that social networks give them influence over how other consumers view a company and they are learning how to influence companies to listen, respond and resolve problems directly. At the center of this evolving customer landscape are shared experiences. People share just about everything and, whether we believe it or not, the activity around these shared experiences influences the impressions and behavior of other consumers in social networks to varying effects.

Corporate Espionage and the Secret War Against Citizen Activism by Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams, November 21, 2013

“The Dumbest Idea in the World”: Corporate America’s False — and Dangerous — Ideology of Shareholder Value by Lynn Stout, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Published on Alternet, August 29, 2012 For at least the past two decades, Americans have been duped into believing that the sole purpose of a corporation is to maximize value for its shareholders. That belief, first promoted in business schools, has been absorbed in the media, in academic circles, and in the political realm.…But in reality, it has no basis in the law or American precedent. The maniacal quest to raise share price is bad for eveyone — even shareholders themselves. This is why scholars, journalists (most recently, Joe Nocera of the New York Times [2]) and even corporate leaders are coming to the realization that the American corporation has made a wrong turn based on a false ideology. No less than Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and a former enthusiast for shareholder value ideology, has done an about-face, calling it “the dumbest idea in the world.” Fortunately, there’s new movement aimed at challenging the destructive ideology shareholder value…  

The Corporate Coup d’Etat is Nearly Complete By Harvey Wasserman, Common Dreams, November 05, 2014 — Nothing is clear now except that it won’t be easy …Our electoral apparatus is thoroughly compromised by oceans of dirty money, Jim Crow registration traps, rigged electronic voting machines, gerrymandering, corrupt secretaries of state. The internet may be next.  Above all, if there is one thing that could save us a shred of democracy, it’s preserving net neutrality…  If we now lose the ability to freely communicate, we are in the deepest hole of all…Thus the GOP has been enthroned by a half-century of Democrats who’ve helped drag us into endless war, ignored our electoral rights and sold their souls—and the nation’s—to a zombie army of corporate operatives…The money power has ruled this nation before.  This time it means a whole new level of all-out war against social justice, our basic rights, our ability to live in harmony with our Mother Earth.

Meet the Elite Business and Think-Tank Community That’s Doing Its Best to Control the World By Andrew Gavin Marshall posted on Alternet.org June 19, 2013 – “The corporate-policy network is highly centralized, at both the level of individuals and that of organizations. Its inner circle is a tightly interwoven ensemble of politically active business leaders…” — Academics William K. Carroll and Jean Philippe Sapinski

Millennials to business: Social responsibility isn’t optional By Michelle Nunn, Washington Post, December 20, 2011 — ….As consumers, employees and entrepreneurs, Millennials are shifting the norms of corporate America’s conduct, ethical imperatives and purpose. In his book, “The Way We’ll Be,” pollster John Zogby documents how these “First Globals” are more conscientious consumers than their predecessors, demanding greater honesty and accountability from businesses. Millennials are bringing their values into the career equation by placing a premium on employers’ reputation for social responsibility and the opportunities those companies and organizations provide their employees to make a positive impact on society. .. Millennials, as consumers, are pushing companies to change the ways of doing business to align with the values of civic and global responsibility largely held by Millennials…While Millennials are transforming established businesses, they are also starting a new breed of businesses with built-in social missions that are resonating with the marketplace and revolutionizing their sectors…The values behind Occupy Wall Street are manifesting themselves in the marketplace and companies that are failing to take notice should start…A new generation of employees, consumers and entrepreneurs is stepping forward with a better way of doing business — putting its bets on the goodness of people rather than loading the dice in its own favor.

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel, polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor - excerpt from a book review by Decca Aitken­head, guardian.co.uk, May 27, 2012 …We need to rea­son about how to value our bod­ies, human dig­nity, teach­ing and learning…

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