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Corporations versus Citizens; Profit before People

Corporations versus Citizens

Profit before People


Corporations are involved in virtually every type of human activity today, be it legal or otherwise.

As a legal entity, a corporation has in its charter one and only one goal, to create profits for its shareholders, without legal or moral obligation to the welfare of workers, the environment, or the well-being of society as a whole.

Indeed, special dispensations, exemptions, and privileges of every kind imaginable are the life's blood of the corporation.

Over the centuries, these privileges have been entrenched and expanded.

You can get some idea of this corporate favouritism when you realize that no American corporation was indicted — let alone convicted — for murder until 1978.

Criminal law is really a sideshow, though. The place where corporations enjoy their biggest advantage is tax law.

To discover more regarding the history of Corporations one good source is Bruce Brown's book.

It shows how the tentacles of corporations reach into public institutions.

Corporations in the past have ruled countries and some carry on today doing the same.

There are Some who consider corporatate meddling in the affairs of certain governments of the New Europe as positive.

As a result corporations have often successfully hijacked governments, promoting free-market solutions to virtually all of the concerns of human endeavour.

Competition and self-interest dominate, and other aspects of human nature, such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to live in harmony with the earth, are suppressed and even ridiculed.

The main human attribute that corporations lack is a soul, as Roger Manwood, chief baron of the Exchequer, noted as early as 1592 in his famous quotation: “As touching corporations, that they were invisible, immortal and that they had no soul, therefor no supoena lieth against them, because they have no conscience or soul.”

Due to the fact that the corporations themselves, and not their souls, were immortal, they were not held accountable to the moral standards that applied to individual people.

"Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed," wrote the great English legalist Edward Coke, "for they have no soul." Or as Irish lawyer Howel Walsh put it, "a corporation cannot blush".

Thus the corporations' moral inadequacy amounted to a significant legal advantage, one of many they have accrued.

Often SID has witnessed European Commission declarations of deregulation when it comes to apply laws to corporations.

SID questions the logic of deregulation when it finds so many examples of corporations causing harm to world citizens.

"While the rights of private property are sacredly guarded," wrote Jacksonian Chief Justice Roger Taney in 1837, "we must not forget that the community also has rights."

But the corporate form that emerged from the 19th century takes the romantic individualism of that era and transplants it into an institutional machinery geared exclusively to self-enhancement, without regard to implications for the context in which it grows.

That is a definition of a cancer.

Let’s look at activities of a sample of corporations that have broken the law while reaching that necessary profit margin to satisfy the shareholders' greed:

In the ENRON affaire a dissenting judge summarized, the ruling “(it) immunizes a broad array of undeniably fraudulent conduct from civil liability . . . effectively giving secondary actors license to scheme with impunity, as long as they keep quiet.”

Merrill Lynch purchased Nigerian barges from Enron on the last day of 1999 only because Enron secretly promised to buy the barges back within six months, guaranteeing Merrill Lynch a profit of more than 20%. As a result of this fraud, Merrill Lynch ultimately paid $80 million to settle with the SEC.

Barclays entered into several sham transactions with Enron, including creating a “special purpose entity” called Colonnade, a shell company to hide Enron’s debt, named after the street in London where the bank is headquartered.

Credit Suisse First Boston engaged in “pre-pay” transactions with Enron, including serving as one of the stop-offs for a series of round-trip, risk-free commodities deals in which commodities were never actually transferred or delivered.

Take the extreme case of SUBPRIME LOANS as another example during the bull market for financial fraud.

Imagine that you find your dream home. But your credit is a bit shaky; however you manage to get a subprime loan with an adjustable rate mortgage.

A few years later the interest rates jump and you are no longer in a position to pay up. You become desperate. You see an ad for a business that’s willing to help—it’ll pay your mortgage for a modest monthly fee while you get back on your feet. But here’s the heartbreak: it’s a scam. The con artists just take your money and run…

“Greed is definitely not good for our economy right now,” said a top criminal investigative executive; Ken Kaiser following the briefing. “It’s hurting homeowners. It’s hurting honest businesses. And it’s hurting investors and markets around the world.”

Google's China search engine not only censors many Web sites that question the Chinese government, but it goes further than similar services from Microsoft and Yahoo by targeting teen pregnancy, homosexuality, dating, beer and jokes.

"It will leave the Chinese populace with less and less ability to think for themselves about some of the issues facing them today," Spiegel said. "They are going to have a restricted diet of info and that is going to colour how they view the world. It's a big story, and it's a stain on their image."

Yahoo executives feel "horrible" about political arrests of Internet users in China but Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang believes: “ . it's better to operate in that market and cooperate with authorities than not be there at all…”.

It is noted that Nokia Siemens Networks, the cellular phone giant, has cooperated with Iranian security to enable the latter to arrest students, including bloggers.

Telecom giant Nokia has a spiffy slogan: “Connecting People.” But a new report reveals that Nokia Siemens Networks has helped Iranian security agents to put in detention grassroots dissidents.

Nokia Siemens Networks has helped Iran install electronic surveillance equipment to intercept text messages, emails, and more. Several activists appear to have been jailed thanks to Nokia’s technology.

Cisco, SIEMENS PLESSEY , Microsoft, Google (including YouTube? and Orkut), Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Skype, Secure Computing, Nortel and many others actions have directly resulted in detention, torture, and even death of dissidents.

Cisco CEO John Chambers said recently, "Anytime you've got a good exchange of information, citizens benefit as a whole."

And Microsoft has argued that a censored Internet is better than no Internet: Although the company's Chinese MSN Spaces web-log software prevents users from writing words like "democracy" and "human rights" in the titles to their postings, it encourages a central value of democracy by promoting self-expression.

Reza FARDOOM

S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans


SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Saturday 11 of July, 2009 [20:49:05 UTC] by admin

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