Saturday, June 19, 2010

Corporate America

I recently received an email from a friend that took a jab at "Corporate America". I believe that the jab wasn't directly from him, but part of the email that he forwarded on. I value the friendship that we have, and this email certainly doesn't change our friendship.

What bothers me are generalized statements like this that suggest that American corporations are evil. That they are greedy. That's a broad brush. Does the fact that businesses become corporations mean that they are making the decision to become evil and greedy?

No, I believe that they are just easy targets for people to blame. Corporations are vague objects. Big entities with only a few actual people involved. The "Top Cats" in their expensive suits pulling in salaries beyond our imaginations.

American corporations exist because they are a product of corporate law. This is a legal matter to give the corporation a separate identity than the members of the corporation. Corporations have rights and responsibilities like people. Because people run corporations, there is the possibility of them being irresponsible. People and corporations can be irresponsible. Are they all irresponsible? No.

People who attack corporate America can be very hypocritical. I brought up the topic of Corporate America to a coworker this week. He started his verbal attack on the greedy irresponsible corporations. I asked him how much he profited from American corporations. He said that he didn't. Then I reminded him that we both worked for one.

Those who attack corporate America tend to be their stockholders, employees, and customers. If someone fits into one of these categories are they greedy? They may or may not be. I believe that most people are greedy in their own way, but that is a separate topic for a another day.

If we did away with corporate America, what are our options?

Individual businesses? Is that practical? Cars made by small unincorporated businesses? Individually run telecommunications businesses? Individual oil companies?

Socialism?? Government run businesses?

Maybe there is something behind this attack on corporate America.


  1. My nephew Brian commented to me:

    "A lot of people don't know what they are talking about and they repeat what they hear from other people who don't know what they are talking about, and they think they sound smart. They don't do the research, they just have an assembly-line built ignorant opinion handed down to them."

    Well phrased, Brian!

  2. I had an acquaintance some time ago who was a member of the Nation of Islam movement. He spoke about institutionalized racism and often in his comments, used outrageous broad brush statements about relations between black and whites in America. I knew in my own limited way that there have been many horrible instances of racist thinking in the history of our country, but I couldn't resist challenging him about some of his perceptions. Yet I also knew I had a lot to learn myself, and it sparked a desire in me to read more about the issues that we talked about. I also learned the this man had a personal history involving a good deal of pain, and he found unity and support in this movement that saw white people as the enemy. What, you are asking, does this have to do with Corporate America? Only a personal observation that when people feel frustrated, sometimes they look for an easy target, a common enemy. A place to vent their displeasure about the hardships in life. This is a fascinating topic, because it does touch on the core issue of greed, which happens to reside in each individual heart. When a corporation, or a government, or any sort of organization involving people interested in common goals, can find leaders with integrity, that good leadership will do a lot to lessen the impact of greedy, harmful decision making.