At the heart of a business’ initial strategies are the
attempts for a healthy bottom line, with social and environmental
considerations often a second priority. However, according to Barnes (2003), capitalistic
organizations, privately owned and controlled, have caused two problems over
time – the destruction of the natural system and the inequality among humanity.
The permanence of these problems can be solved if the economic system is
re-programmed, where corporate social responsibility (CSR), ethics, corporate
values, and multiple stakeholders is fused with the corporate culture.
Owen (2009) discusses capitalism and the inequality of
money distribution found in the average American CEO’s pay reaching 275 times more
than the average American worker in 2007 (pp. 58). The biggest concern Owen
(2009) shows is that the pay that is given to these senior level workers is not
aligned with their individual performance in the company. Reports are inflated
to receive bonuses on top of the high salaries, but critics like Nell Minow
from the Corporate Library argue that there should be laws in place to have the
CEOs return bonus money if found at a later date that the reports were
incorrect due to overstatements, miscalculations, or downright fraud. Corporations
that do not instill any laws are disregarding corporate social responsibility
(CSR) altogether, affecting the economy as a whole.
We discussed this in last week’s papers and
discussions, but it is worth repeating again. Bakan (2004) states that business
is all about taking advantage of circumstance and look out only for their own
self-interests (pp.109). In the General Motors case Bakan (2004) discussed,
where the fuel tank location from the bumper was placed about half the distance
of where it should have been for safety, the calculation of a human life had to
be estimated in order to figure out the cost savings to the company and award
the victims a monetary award for accidents. As discussed in last week’s
readings, organizations are psychopathic, programmed to exploit others in order
to profit (Bakan, pp. 69). A company will try to get away with saving a dollar
any way they can. An example of this was when Enron controlled the regulation
of power in California with the lights going out forty times in a six month
period in 2000 (Bakan, pp. 98). Another example is child labor and sweat shops.
Although the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938, corporations are
still hiring the cheapest labor they can get away with.