Companies are machines and must be treated as such.
IIRC, SCOTUS decreed long ago that corporations rank above people. Probably true; they can kill will pollution and toxic, unhealthy foods. If we did that, it would be an illegal killing. They commit medical malpractice by reducing and eliminating health care availability while individual health care providers can be held liable. They buy politicians in a way we can’t (or enough of us try). And so on and so forth.
Preach. Corporate Statements aren't about values. They're about marketing and customer retention. Signaling a certain set of values is a way to attract a certain group of people (or to retain a broader, bland group of people). Corporate Statements are tools Capital uses for further capital accumulation.
I think, at least originally, the purpose of a corporation was to shield individuals from liability. This invented “corpus” could act like a “person” conducting a business, but would not expose its investors to bankruptcy if the business should fail. A cute idea, in a way, but ultimately it’s caused much more trouble than it has saved. Thanks for presenting such a clear picture of what we can expect from (and what will never happen with) a corporation.
"from the grim cement factory to the most welcoming technology firm."
I dunno, a bunch of tech firms are pretty grim these days.
My last job was at one of the Big Four, and they're the antithesis of a working environment. They have "values" Kool-Aid and the people who buy into it, will stare at ahead of you and repeat them like the benevolently radicalized. When George Floyd died, there was a post by the CEO about caring for black people and anti-racism training (that was stolen from the US office) we had to take, etc. It was all a bit performative. Then when there was a hike in Sinophobia due to COVID, there was a post by the CEO. It was pretty easy to switch the words around and get the George Floyd post. This was also really performative. Then we had some Sustainable Earth Month thing, and the CEO decided to go vegan for a month. I hope he didn't really hurt himself, coz I did see him eat chickens. Also, performative.
I really hated the hypocrisy and fakeness of the whole thing. I loved the work I did though, I just didn't love the place. The pay and benefits were also great! I think the reasons people work there, are the same reasons that people join terrorist organizations.
I can't wait to get my copy of Hammer! Pre-ordered and looking forward to reading, this is one of the great things about Substack: I get to find wonderful new books and authors!
I agree. Companies are not citizens. They have been endowed by law with commercial “personhood,” but they should not have political rights as if they were actually citizens. They cannot vote and their influence on elections ought to be much more tightly regulated than it is now. It is wrong for corporate interests to “own” office holders, as in practice it appears they do. The idea of “good corporate citizens” is nice but naive.
Thanks Hamilton. Very clear, as usual. The business' nature is to do what they do, profit. It should be up the the government to regulate these bloody bastards, but the government is corrupted and paid by them. They are pay partners. So? Who can help us? Possible answer: us.
Joining effort to limit the money making machine. Stay safe and keep on fighting.
Bravo for every word.
Money is what motivates them and we feed it to them. We must stop feeding the monster. Just cancelled my Apple TV subscription upon hearing about Jon Stewart ordeal. Small step sure but making many other larger ones too. Unlearning a lifetime of consumer conditioning is not easy but a task worth pursuing for the reasons here and more.
Hamilton, one more comment. I re read your article. Is great, is true, but in addition to spit in the ceo's sandwich, what action do you suggest to fight these bastards? How can we limit their power if not by affecting their interest, i.e. bad PR?
Less of it at the federal level. Less of it at the state level. As little as possible at the local level. Reduce the potential for corruption.
The change I’m seeing lately (notably since 2020) is this: “Companies are very good at doing the specific things they do...” Even that’s becoming less and less true.
Feels like companies have been eating their own tails and it’s catching up with them. Cutting costs and alienating labor in the name of profit have resulted in worse and worse products and godawful service. I wonder whether we’ll get fed up enough to stop buying their junk, or we’re just too used to letting them call the shots?
Reading this brings to mind the grey goo and paper clip AI* thought experiments that are darlings of tech bro doom prophets. These ideas are illuminating, but couched in such fantastical terms that it can be difficult to see how applicable they are to already existing systems and technology.
We have already created self perpetuating machines that, left to their own devices, will destroy or reshape the world in pursuit of ultimately pointless goals. I wish the elon musk types would stop worrying about how a hypothetical AI could destroy the whole universe in 1000 years and focus on how existing technology is already well on its way to causing millions of deaths through climate change, not to mention the atrocious quality of life for so many who already are alive.
Sadly they would rather spend their time discussing masturbatory power fantasies where their technology saves/destroys the human race in an existential sci fi epic.
*see instrumental convergence
depressing but spot on...its so frustrating to see how many working class believe the shit fed to them by these companies and their mouthpieces. Fight back, join a union!!!
I've grappled with this philosophy and then mapped it against my own, more on the lines of "conscious leadership," aka where people leading with mindfulness, empathy, and a holistic understanding of a leader's impact on individuals, teams, and the broader world. The leadership style aligns desires with reality by pursuing one's "whole YES," where genius, purpose, passion, and excellence intersect. It integrates whole-body intelligence in decision-making, valuing intuition alongside rationality. Conscious Leaders take full responsibility for their actions, remain self-aware, and cultivate a collaborative culture.
I don't know. I like to live in a world where this could be true. IS THAT SO WRONG OF ME?!