Corporations are run by human beings.
To hear this tiresome, idiotic argument that can be found in every second Slashdot discussion from you is a disappointment -- but maybe I have confused you with someone else. Yes, Microsoft is run by human beings, so is Apple, so is IBM, so is Nestle, so is General Motors, so is Lockheed Martin. The land mine some kid in Angola is tripping over as you read this, guess what, has been made by humans, in factories built by humans, just like the bombs that may soon fall on Baghdad.
And you know what? The humans who made them either don't give a shit, or they give a shit and suppress it, or they are fired. The whole structure of a corporation evolves through the natural selection process of the free market to tolerate only those people who are unlikely to cause the corporation to lose money. On the higher levels, that means people who are willing to make decisions that cost other people lives. If a corporation's leaders are not willing to make such decisions, they are replaced, by the people who own the corporation. And don't give me any bullshit about shareholders with moral values. Yeah, right. Look at your friends and colleagues who have stocks and then tell them that company did something morally unacceptable. Watch their reaction. How many will sell their stocks, and how many will rationalize the actions of the company? Money is the most addictive drug.
Would you truly be shocked if some of them really believed that moderate amounts of coffee weren't dangerous?
That is absolutely irrelevant. The people who "genuinely" believe cannot be distinguished from those who believe because it suits their personal interest to do so (you always justify what you do -- path of least resistance, selective perception and all that) or from those who pretend to believe. From the outside, they all look the same. The essential point is that a corporation will not tolerate the unbelievers, especially outspoken ones. It will fire you if you make claims about a corporation that could hurt its bottom line. And you know what? Many people would even consider it illoyal to do something like that. To "tell on" "your" corporation. When Nestle killed children in Third World countries through their irresponsible formula campaign, I bet many people working for Nestle were genuinely convinced that this was all a sick "think of the children" campaign against "their" company, by some evil "environmental whackos".
Your beloved people working in corporations are building bombs that will kill and cripple people right now. They are funding local wars to get diamonds, oil and other resources, they are building monopolies, suing people out of existence. For each of the corporations I named above, I could show you a register of their "sins". Yet I am sure in each of these there are people with presumably strong moral values. That doesn't change for a second the fact that as soon as these values get into the way of the corporation's profit interests, they will be trashed, eliminated, trampled, and the people in question will get their asses kicked. If that wasn't the case, please explain to me how a monstrosity like a landmine factory can ever be built? Why do not the people in the company raise their hands, sing songs and resist the orders of their masters? Or better, why do not the masters realize the errors of their ways and start manufacturing socks instead? Maybe some of them have. But as long as there is a market niche for landmines, there will be people who make them. And as long as lying is more profitable than telling the truth, corporations will lie to you whenever they can get away with it. They have evolved that way.
Any journalist who does not realize this and treats corporations as yet another "side" whose opinion should be uncritically reproduced is not a journalist, he's either a whore or a complete idiot. I for one don't think that the BBC employs complete idiots in its higher ranks, but YMMV.
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