Friday, January 24, 2014

Anti-Social Corporations & The Governments That Enable Them; Assemble at World Economic Forum

State of Business


Corporation: a large business or organization that under the law has the rights 
and duties of an individual and follows a specific purpose
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental condition in which a person's ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional — and destructive. People with antisocial personality disorder typically have no regard for right and wrong and often disregard the rights, wishes and feelings of others.

Those with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others either harshly or with callous indifference. They may often violate the law, landing in frequent trouble, yet they show no guilt or remorse. They may lie, behave violently or impulsively, and have problems with drug and alcohol use. These characteristics typically make people with antisocial personality disorder unable to fulfill responsibilities related to family, work or school.
Mayo Clinic Staff

If corporations are people, as they claim to be, then it is clear by the clinical definition above that large multinational and transnational organizations, as well as Wall Street firms, display remarkable signs of anti-social behaviour, most notably, “to antagonize, manipulate or treat others either harshly or with callous indifference. They may often violate the law, landing in frequent trouble, yet they show no guilt or remorse.”

When I was young and starting out in the world of work, my manager taught me that the purpose of business is to serve the customer or client; that was 30 years ago, and how things have changed. There is no better example of how corporations, with the aid of governments, have changed than the example of the World Economic Forum (22–25 January 2014), in Davos, Switzerland, the yearly event of the wealthy, powerful and influential to meet and discuss how they’re doing.

David Cay Johnston writes (“Inequality may spark unrest, Davos elites worry”; January 22, 2013), in AlJazeera America:
The four-day Davos conference, which begins today, will draw six dozen or so billionaires this year as well as several hundred other people rich enough to have their own jets. Davos will also draw a far larger crowd of government officials, vendors of financial services and journalists.
In this year's event, the overarching theme is “Improving the state of the world,” another of those meaningless feel-good slogans thought of by high-priced PR agencies; the obvious question is for whom. The answer becomes clear enough. Against the backdrop of this conference is Oxfam’s annual report,  which states what many of us have known for years: the rich are getting richer, and the poor remain so.

Graeme Wearden writes (“Oxfam: 85 richest people as wealthy as poorest half of the world”: January 20, 2014), in The Guardian:
The world's wealthiest people aren't known for travelling by bus, but if they fancied a change of scene then the richest 85 people on the globe – who between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together – could squeeze onto a single double-decker.
The extent to which so much global wealth has become corralled by a virtual handful of the so-called 'global elite' is exposed in a new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world's population.
Source: F. Alvaredo, A. B. Atkinson, T. Piketty and E. Saez, (2013) ‘The World Top Incomes Database’, http://topincomes.g-mond.parisschoolofeconomics.eu/ Only includes countries with data in 1980 and later than 2008.Photograph: Oxfam

The wealth of the 1% richest people in the world amounts to $110tn (£60.88tn), or 65 times as much as the poorest half of the world, added the development charity, which fears this concentration of economic resources is threatening political stability and driving up social tensions.
It's a chilling reminder of the depths of wealth inequality as political leaders and top business people head to the snowy peaks of Davos for this week's World Economic Forum. Few, if any, will be arriving on anything as common as a bus, with private jets and helicopters pressed into service as many of the world's most powerful people convene to discuss the state of the global economy over four hectic days of meetings, seminars and parties in the exclusive ski resort.
No doubt, some of those in attendance expressed alarm that the masses are restless, what with high youth unemployment, staggering poverty and huge inequalities, are these cruel arrogant ones surprised.I doubt if any is genuine concern for the average Jill or Joe, but a nervousness about how their rapacious and insatiable appetites for money and profit has killed the golden goose of market capitalism.

Johnson further writes in the same article:
The forum’s 14th annual assessment of risks, issued just ahead of the Davos gathering, makes clear that social instability, whether measured in mere riots or in bloody revolutions, is the likely outcome of increasing inequality.
The report speaks of a lost generation of young people worldwide who are finishing school only to find a paucity of jobs, which in turn creates pressure to lower wages.
“Widening gaps between the richest and poorest citizens threaten social and political stability as well as economic development,” the report said.

Three of the report sponsors are specialists in pricing risk, the American insurance broker and risk advisory firm Marsh & McLennan and the European insurers Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance Group.
Of course, nothing will come of this report; it will be filed away as with many other similar findings that view things as dire; it will be business as usual for the most part, with only lip service paid to how the economic system has failed the majority of the world’s citizens.

That the social contract has been ripped up is considered a good thing; that workers are paid low wages is considered a good thing; that people can be used, as needed, and tossed away like yesterday’s trash is a good thing. Today, such pathological anti-social behaviour on the part of corporations and its managers has become normalized, considered necessary to improve the state of things, and strongly enabled, in the language of human psychology, by the very governments that are supposed to prevent such behavious; it’s a classic co-dependent relationship, a form of serious mental illness. Such are our economic and political leaders.

 In the future, when historians look at what caused the collapse of capitalism, only then will the report and similar ones get the recognition it deserves. By then, of course, it will be too late; the goose is long dead.

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