Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 8, 2012, 5:28 p.m. EST by Nanook
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
The entire role of "business" in society needs to be reevaluated and redefined.
The term "business" can be defined, its narrowest sense, to mean: any organization created to: a. trade goods or services, b. to play an integrated role in society which provides value in relation to the goods or services, and c. to gain sufficient return to maintain itself and provide sustenance to its employees. A more complete understanding needs to include many more "missions": to make a profit (the prominent view); to create and keep customers ( Drucker ); to gain respect (Skapinker); etc.
Due to shallow and self-centered thinking, it has become popular to select only the prominent view, "to make a profit", and CLAIM it is the ONLY purpose. Despite hundreds of examples disputing that, people driven by Single Sentence Logic, and the Denial Defense, refuse to acknowledge any other view. Unfortunately, these deniers have recently grabbed control of the supreme court and government and are taking action for personal gain which is destroying the integrated nature of business and society.
History is full of examples of failed states ruled by CENTRALIZED government control. Examples would be Russia, Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, and Libya. However, lack of sufficient regulation is just as bad. The current U.S. crisis was caused by a banking industry coup of the government. Once bank sympathizers grabbed control of the government, they used that control to remove "government" enforced banking boundaries, which were previously set up to STOP a repeat of the depression. When the housing market exploitation schemes fell apart, the banks then used that control to bail themselves out with public money.
The point is, if we are going to live up to our founding principles, that, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men … are endowed … with certain UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, that among these are LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS" and to provide those rights as a sustainable, fair and wholesome quality of life for EVERYONE, then we have to change the basic models of business used across the planet. Once we figure out what changes are needed, the new structure should be CLEARLY spelled out in our new Constitution. (An assumed model for business is completely left out of our current Constitution.)
To get started, here are 3 hot buttons in current dialog. Jump in and comment on each one using the comment structure started below. Then add new business related topics of your own.
Everyone has heard the old phrase "buyer beware". But why do we continue to accept this as a "given"? Why haven't we asked the questions, "Was this accepted simply because we lived in a primitive world? Was it a "pragmatic" default because the technology and social planning skills weren't available to achieve another choice?"
I think it's time to ask those questions and get some educated answers. I believe modern technology and social structure are now completely capable of replacing the old mantra with this new one: Those who provide will be held responsible for social efficiency and accountable for their personal performance.
Here are two examples. Why is the responsibility still on the back of EVERY consumer, many who may only have a high school education or less, to make "sophisticated" decisions, often "on the spot", related to complex purchases with long term expensive consequences? Car rentals, bank loans and phone contracts, are like this. How about issues as complex as 30 year mortgages? In this case, the consumer is dealing with people who are supposed to be "highly trained, certified financial" SPECIALISTS in the subject? Who has ALL the advantage in that situation? Why isn't the responsibility to "get it right", FOR THE CONSUMER, on the back of the "certified" specialists and the companies they work for? These are things in society that are crying out for change.
Add new subtopics below starting with the words: BUYER BEWARE
A "corporation" is a form of business in which the owners or trustees are protected by law from financial loss, due to a failure of the business, up to the amount of their investment. This reduces the risk for investors so large amounts of money can be collected to found or grow a business. But, there are significant problems in how we implement corporations. These were already recognized by the founding father's ( Jefferson et.al).
For example, the concept of equating a corporation with a "person", is full of contradictions. First, corporations are creatures "created" by the state. They are not created by a supernatural power, as referred to in the Declaration of Independence. So, unlike persons, the basis for inalienable rights is NOT equal to that of humans. Second, a corporation is not an integral "physical" entity that can be arrested, or jailed for punishment. It can't be forced to go to elementary and middle school or face truancy. It is not required to have mandatory vaccinations.
While corporations have value, to maintain the "one person, one vote" principle of democracy, no corporation can be allowed to influence society to a greater extent than a single person, either through voting or access to government. The law must guarantee this. Furthermore, corporate actions, which influence politics, must be a democratic voice of the stock holders, not a decision of one or a small number of executives.
Any crimes, of either commission or omission, related to actions taken, must be paid for by ALL those voting for the action. The protection provided by corporate law cannot shield the voters from criminal penalty. It should only be limited to protection of financial loss, in the amount of their investment. For example, insurance to get around this responsibility should not be allowed.
So, to straighten out this mess, we first need to list all of the POTENTIALLY FAULTY issues. Then, we need a comprehensive effort to thoroughly understand each issue one at a time. BUT, this is not enough. People have essentially done that - even if not in a coordinated way. What is needed is a completely NEW process to understanding all of the issues working together as a system.
What I claim will happen is that fixing each issue in isolation will NOT clear up the problems. I also claim, we are not going to get simple answers. Unfortunately, we may need information and models that are not available now in common practice. That's where concepts like the breakthroughs at A3society.org are important. These are far from sufficient. But they do show that what we have now is inadequate.
Add new subtopics below starting with the word: CORPORATIONS
The explosion of non-profit corporations in modern society is a hallmark of the corruption of both business law and government. Non-profit corporations were originally established as "charitable organizations". These were organizations to collect funds and implement coordinated efforts to SOLVE problems that neither the "free market" system nor the government were addressing.
Orphanages were the model example, and provide a good model. For example, a primary rule of "charity" was that it shouldn't ADVERTISE its services to GAIN more clients. It could ANNOUNCE its services so people would know what it provided. But its MAJOR GOAL was ELIMINATING the need for those services in society.
Contrast this with the modern "non-profit" hospital. An orphanage will continuously try to reduce the number of children without homes. A modern hospital will advertise vigorously to grow and increase its patient load and revenues. An orphanage will not expect any of its children to PAY for the services provided. The modern hospital aggressively tries to improve the ratio of paying customers.
A second model is religions. These were organizations chartered to tend the "spiritual" needs of people, by providing the services of "ministers" living lives of "voluntary poverty". In return for this "benevolence", society believed they deserved special treatment, like freedom from taxation. The "modern" religious "non-profit" corporation has a very different model. They often own substantial profit making assets. These assets, like schools and hospitals, compete head to head with for-profit businesses using the same advertising practices and drawing on the same financial benefits. Their "ministers" live in mansions, drive exotic cars, and directly get involved in politics.
So, what is needed for this category is the same type of review needed for regular corporations. Lead off new subtopics with the word: NON-PROFITS
(This post is part of a collection of posts aimed at launching a new process called the National Opinion Collection System (NOCS). For more information on the process, see http://occupywallst.org/forum/occupytheconstitution-introduction/ )