Bulletproof Blues: Corporations

An excerpt from ”Bulletproof Blues”…


A corporation is a legal entity created to shield the people controlling it from liability. The ultimate goal of a corporation is to make as large a profit as possible. Other considerations, such as the quality of the product or service the corporation provides, the health and welfare of its employees and customers, the integrity of the environment, the survival of future generations, and adherence to the law are discarded when it is cost effective to do so. For example, if the fine associated with violating a government regulation is lower than the cost of complying with the regulation, the corporation will violate the regulation and pay the fine (or challenge the fine in court, if that seems more cost-effective). Similarly, if a product may result in the deaths of a percentage of those who use it, and the cost of defending against or settling any ensuing lawsuits is predicted to be lower than the cost of altering the product’s design, the corporation will produce and sell the product as-is rather than sacrifice profits to prevent the deaths.

Corporations accrue political power by funding politicians who support the corporation’s interests. Typically, political influence is used to increase incomes, eliminate competition, or externalize costs by either enacting or eliminating laws and regulations. For example, the multinational corporation Lastimar used its political influence in the USA to ensure the addition of riders to a multi-billion dollar agricultural appropriations bill. These riders required the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for the planting or cultivation of a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement could be completed.

Many corporations present a carefully crafted persona to the public designed to increase sales and engender trust. For example, the corporation may contribute to highly publicized environmental causes (while causing massive damage to the biosphere elsewhere), it may donate funds to children’s charities (while paying Indonesian children three cents an hour to work in its factories), or it may run commercials featuring a friendly mascot with an innocent smile and gentle, self-deprecating humor. Corporations employ teams of marketing analysts and psychologists to ensure that the consumer perception of the corporation is that of a trusted friend who provides essential goods and services. As the current Nexus-McKesson slogan states, “Nexus makes life better!”

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