Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Corporation: excerpt 4

we have many thousand such creatures among us now - legally prohibited from sharing in the milk of human kindness, and increasingly free of social (regulatory) constraints because of modern "free trade" legislation (NAFTA and GATT) - corporations are now poised to transform the planetary ecosystem on a scale and at a pace unimaginable just 30 years ago -- there seems little doubt that the majority of corporate decision-makers are well meaning people, as individuals - nevertheless, the need for constant growth (on average), and the need to externalize costs, combined with an enforced freedom from personal responsibility and liability for the corporation's actions, add up to a corporate culture that is prone to cut corners, shrug off responsibility toward its neighbors, and exhibit behavior that could only be called, at best, selfish and antisocial and, at worst, sociopathic.

humanity is clearly endangered, and we face two hard paths: business as usual, or real change adopting pollution prevention with its attendant dislocations - down the one path very likely lies the eventual destruction of our species - down the other, at least a hope of salvation -- naturally corporations will not sit by while fundamental controls are imposed upon their behavior - it is their nature that they must fight to retain their present privileges - they have to - corporate managers are not bad people - on the contrary, they are, most of them, good people - but they are ethically imprisoned by the corporate form - even if a majority of decision-makers inside American corporations agreed that they were destroying the planet, industry would not be able to make the needed shifts - existing incentives are simply all wrong.

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