Why corporations are so destructive

I often stop mid-rant and say, “I live in a beautiful place, in the richest country in the world. Why on earth can’t I just sit back and enjoy it?” The simple answer is that money doesn’t buy happiness. In fact, money can’t even begin to measure happiness.

Once in awhile I run across an article that helps clarify the source of my discontent. Here is part of an interview from The Sun Magazine with Robert Hinkley:

“The Economy,” a euphemism for corporate profits, has become our federal government’s principal measuring stick for the well-being of the public interest. It is now almost a foregone conclusion that government should sacrifice the environment and other elements of the real public interest in order to become more “business-friendly,’ But is this truly what the public wants?

“In 1886,” Hinkley says, “the Supreme Court determined that corporations were entitled to the rights of citizenship under our Constitution. Since then, the corporation has developed into the worst kind of citizen; one that claims all the rights but shirks the responsibilities of citizenship.”

“Too many activists, ” he says, “think that corporations pursue profits at the expense of the public interest because corporations and their executives are greedy. In my view, that’s self-righteous and wrong.” Hinkley says that corporations act the way they do for one simple reason: they are bound by corporate law to try to make a profit for shareholders. This, he believes sometimes inhibits executives and corporations from being socially responsible.

Hinkley, a corporate lawyer, is seeking to change corporate law to allow corporations to behave in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. He suggests corporate law be changed to say: “The duty of directors henceforth shall be to make money for shareholders but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health and safety, dignity of employees, and the welfare of the communities in which the company operates.”

To illustrate his point, Hinkley created a perfectly legal corporation in Richmond, Virginia (tobacco country) named, Licensed to Kill . Their COMPANY SLOGAN: “The beauty of the tobacco business is that people pay us to kill them.

That’s why our motto is “We’re Rich. You’re Dead!” Our goal is that, over time, the name also will reflect the five attributes that we believe define who we are and how we grow our business: a strong commitment to profits over people; excellence in marketing death; financial pay-offs; innovation in public relation spin; and an undying dedication to making a killing.


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