Corporations

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Corporations

Postby ThePermster » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Ok so we all know about the big evil corporations and their henchmen, and many of us also know how the people running these big, evil corporations aren't necessarily even the cause as there's often very little they can do.

Often the latter case is a sign of a good documentary as we - the public - like to ignore the realities in order to be able to place blame. But of course fact is, these power hungry machines are very out of our control now.

So question is, how do we go about fixing these entities that are rotten from the core when our society itself is quite reliant on them as economic pillars?
Answers on a postcard?
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Re: Corporations

Postby Sabina » Sun Aug 22, 2010 5:56 pm

ThePermster wrote:So question is, how do we go about fixing these entities that are rotten from the core when our society itself is quite reliant on them as economic pillars?

The first and most important thing is the personal contribution. Unfortunately people, in general, don't realize the tremendous effect they can have.

I stopped visiting fast-food restaurants years ago.. not just the food, I wouldn't even buy a drink there. Nothing at all to support them. I didn't like various aspects of some famous soft drinks, so I stopped drinking them all together. We now make our own, or we drink water, and other natural drinks. We pay attention to what we buy in the grocery store, etc.
When I buy clothes, I check where they were made, I try to find out more about the companies I buy from whenever I can.
What else?
Electronics are the only other biggie today, I think. There it's a little trickier... at least for me.

Our society doesn't rely on crap, even though some would have us believe that. We can always say no to crap, in fact it is our civil duty to do so.
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Re: Corporations

Postby ThePermster » Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:53 pm

All great decisions but the boycott method only ever causes any concern to corporations when numbers are involved and even with growing awareness of the situation society shows no viable trends towards ostracising these organisations as any kind of large enough minority, let alone a majority.

At best you're conserving the good ethical standing of your own actions but how might that transform into a solution? You can't rely on spreading awareness as it's too slow, and the corporations even out any losses they make by diversifying and changing their own products to garner a few hundred more customers for every one that they lose to ethical trading.
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Re: Corporations

Postby IsonaliAki » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:26 pm

Unfortunately I don't think there is either an easy or a quick solution to this issue. The problem as I see it is that a lot of these big companies are providing the "necessities" at the cheapest possible price. And in an economy that practically demands we choose the item that is the best offer for the best price. As a friend of mine put it so wonderfully the other day "I'm sorry I just can't afford to be ethical." Taking an example that someone who shall remain nameless brought up earlier that I was reading... veggie 'meats'... they are double the cost of most 'standard' meat. There are a great many of us that just simply cannot afford to feed our entire family (we have 10+ people eating every meal at my house) on that cost. Not when 2 of the 10 are working, and they aren't millionaires, and a LOT of other bills/expenses are happening. So, what can be done but by that which is the least expensive and still relatively nutritious for the family........


That being said, do I see a possible solution? Frankly, not any time soon. Awareness is, of course, an option, but until that awareness provides a reasonable alternative to the problem mentioned above, it's not going to solve the problem. So, in summation, what needs to be done and what is the only thing that can be done to even begin to resolve it, is find a positive alternative to what is being offered by whatever evil corporation you choose to conquer, and find a way to produce as much of that alternative as the big corp offers, and do so as cheaply, or more cheaply, than they do it. Give me the opportunity to buy the same types of meat, in veggie form, (as an example) as my family eats now, at the same quantity they eat it, at the same price, and I will happily give it a try.
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Re: Corporations

Postby Agate » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:30 am

I find it interesting to read this thread now, as I am currently in an economics course. I was blown away by the fact that (according to my textbook) the three key economic ideas are:

1. People are rational.
2. People respond to economic incentives.
3. Optimal decisions are made at the margin.

I'm not sure what I think of #2 and 3...but assuming that consumers are rational is quite an assumption! To quote from the book again:

"Economists generally assume that people are rational. This assumption does not mean
that economists believe everyone knows everything or always makes the “best” decision.
It means that economists assume that consumers and firms use all available information
as they act to achieve their goals. Rational individuals weigh the benefits and costs of
each action, and they choose an action only if the benefits outweigh the costs"

Firms may well consider all available information, but the average Joe buys what the TV tells him he wants. Further, an awful lot of people lack critical thinking skills. We tend to assume that if someone whose name we recognize says it's good, the thing must be good.

The big corporations know this...why do you think they pay celebrities to hawk their merchandise?

I think Sabina is taking about the only viable route out of this mess. Not to say that boycotts are effective (they usually aren't) but by educating ourselves, and choosing to not purchase goods from the big corporations we can make a difference.

The impact will not be immediately obvious...but the corporations did not come to power overnight. Less than a decade ago, I was mocked for bringing my own bags with me when I shopped. Now nobody bats an eye. It's a small change, a baby-step...but it is progress. By calmly and rationally telling others about our choices, we can plant seeds of change.

Permster said that that route is too slow, but I disagree. This mess was not made quickly, and it will not be fixed quickly.
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Re: Corporations

Postby ThePermster » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:21 am

Agate wrote:The impact will not be immediately obvious...but the corporations did not come to power overnight. Less than a decade ago, I was mocked for bringing my own bags with me when I shopped. Now nobody bats an eye. It's a small change, a baby-step...but it is progress. By calmly and rationally telling others about our choices, we can plant seeds of change.

Permster said that that route is too slow, but I disagree. This mess was not made quickly, and it will not be fixed quickly.


Problem is, it's like a duelling pair of forces, the efforts of the one which outweighs the efforts of the other will win.
These organisations are now large and established enough that every tiny action they make garners themselves a few hundred customers, the methods of a boycott only garner one less customer for the organisation over fairly large time-frames.
We're talking about the average person too so I think it's more than feasible that the customers they lose can always be swayed back.

That being said, the only quick iconoclastic shove that I can think of is violent protest. And I'm not suuurre about that one...
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Re: Corporations

Postby IsonaliAki » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:55 pm

The problem with that particular option, the violent protest, is that it backfires in a tremendous way. First, you're automatically labeled an extremist with some kind of personal vendetta against the company, and the company is going to end up getting even more customers as a sympathy act... "Company: look at what this weird person did to us! but we're ok! we're gonna keep fighting to do what we do for YOU!.... Customer: Awww they love us! Buy more!" Second, and most importantly, you likely will end up in jail.

I'm thinkin' this wouldn't be the best option.
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This has made a lot of people very angry
And has been widely regarded as a bad move."
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Re: Corporations

Postby ThePermster » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:16 pm

Good point but maybe in that case the protest simply wasn't violent enough. >=D
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Re: Corporations

Postby Ryan » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:17 am

I think that protest... constant protest... be it violent or peaceful or through boycotting a corporation's product (or an industry altogether) or whatever... Will do quite a bit... and I also think that it will eventually "snowball". I think it will snowball because people will become more aware of things... because of televised reports of violent protests, peaceful protests, or through those who are producing documentaries to inform others... through realization that more and more people are seriously unhealthy due to the crap that is being offered to them as "relatively nutritious for the family"... I think that the corporations are counting on the "1. People are rational" aspect of economics so that when you are standing in the grocery store... or otherwise... and you are faced with the decision "Natural and healthy... or... Cloned, genetically altered and laboratory manifested" that rationally you will pick the "relatively nutritious for the family" over the other... I mean why not... it makes sense, right? I mean we need 250 TV channels and everyone in the house hold needs at least one cell phone... and we can't sacrifice those things in order to make a point, change things on a deeper level... and to be simply healthier people... (I am not pointing any fingers at anyone here... please don't get the wrong impression just because I use your words)... We can't car pool... walk or ride bicycles... they have made sure that public transportation is dirty, cramped, dangerous and just simply an unpleasant experience... not to mention socially shunned...

But... effective protest is never easy... being violent and spending time in jail for something is not easy... cutting costs in one area (or simply doing without) to be able to afford the better alternative in another is not easy... the solution to a problem that has gotten out of control is never going to be easy... the part that needs to be realized is that the longer we all wait to do something... that harder it will become... Are we really waiting on... "well... I'll be dead in X number of years... I'll just let them worry about it... Right now I'm just doing everything I can to survive..."?

You know...? If you look at the epidemic proportions of cancer cases today in comparison to... 50 years ago... you have to realize... something is seriously wrong with something out there... it's in the air... the water... or the food... or all three... and if you consider the chances that you, or someone you love, will get cancer... as a result of these things... and the amount of suffering, money, and time that will bring/take... well, you make the comparison with the alternative... grow a potted tomato, squash, cucumber, bell pepper plant... why not? It's good and healthy, you know what has went into it's growth, and it is much more "rational" than a Oleander, Rose, or Petunia. Plus, it is a step... it is a protest... it will provoke a change... a change in the environment, your mind set... and who knows... maybe it will inspire someone else... make them think... or at the very least get wedged in their mind so that some, more personal, event in their own lives will cause them to reflect and act in a more positive direction rather than passive...

I mention, and talk mainly about, food because it is an absolute necessity... and its "properties" (for the most part) are no longer natural... and to my "rational" mind everything else should be that much easier to put into place... Do we still differentiate between need and want? What is it exactly that corporations offer us that we can't live without?
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Re: Corporations

Postby mirjana » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:52 pm

Good topic and many good thoughts, one opening another...
I gave some kudos to some answers given here as I do believe that our personal approach to this topic is the only thing that can provoke changes.
Ryan’s last question shows it very well:
"Do we still differentiate between need and want? What is it exactly that corporations offer us that we can't live without?"
We have been brought to that to want things instead to follow our natural need. This "educational course" that has been lasting for decades in this commercial society was needed so that people come to the point to buy things automatically. We have systematically been brought to contribute to wrong things with our personal behavior and choices. So the same way backwards can provoke changes, awareness about what we do, why we do it and persistence in following this path.
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