It astonishes me how seemingly rational people buy into ridiculous conspiracy theories. A popular fantasy that people sucker into regularly these days is the myth of the evil corporation run amok. Bloodthirsty with greed, shadowy corporate operatives conspire to topple governments, rig wars, and wreak havoc on the environment. Having no soul, they are devoid of morals and care only for their insatiable desire for power. They are the uber-villains of the 21st century Hollywood blockbuster and the fool-proof straw-man of the left-wing hack.

But why can’t the innocent masses stop all these evil mega-corps? Well, shhh…, you see, …it’s all done in secret! Only a few, elite, powerful people are in the know. We the little, powerless people are at their mercy.

Conspiracy theorists love going after corporations because no particular person or set of circumstances need be relied upon to build up a good yarn. One can hurl the most awful slurs imaginable at a disembodied corporate entity and no business woman and her family will get hurt in the process. (Oh, yeah, I forgot, in the mythology, only grey-haired, white men are at the head of the cabal.)

Conspiracy theories are a common tool of the propagandist. Any set of facts can be twisted to suggest that some person or group is to blame for this or that. Truth is not important. Anti-Semitism and other racial prejudices thrive on contrived stories of the supposed secret plans and devices of hidden forces. One assumption leads to another and before you know it you have a mob calling for blood. In the old days, “communists” were assumed responsible for everything from bad weather (“they’re salting the clouds!”) to social unrest (“they’re stirring things up!”). Now its “multi-national corporations” that are poisoning our children (“GMOs to goodness knows”) and flat-out destroying the planet (“Global Warming”).

No one should suggest that corporations are incapable of crime, as it does in rare cases occur. That is why there exists a vast labyrinth of laws governing corporate behaviour. Often such regulations frustrate economic activity so much that they drag whole countries into poverty (eg. India, which is just now breaking free from “corpophobia” and prospering wonderfully because of it).

Here’s a challenge to anyone who thinks big corporations are evil: tomorrow, try not to consume anything that has any input whatsoever from these corrupt organizations (that means no cars or phones or electricity, for example). If you fail, hang your head in shame because you may as well be paying the country club dues of that heartless, white-haired old white guy you love to hate (news flash: the world’s richest person is now from Mexico).

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3 Responses to Corpophobia

  1. There is no conspiracy about it. Hundreds of years ago and for a long time, corporations did business, based on their own set of morals.

    The current state of affairs, is that because of changes to legislation, in some jurisdictions a corporation is given the same rights as a human being and under NAFTA for example, a corporation has (and did) sue the Canadian government because the chemical chemical wanted to set itself up in business and the Canadian government was concerned about the impact on the environment. Guess who won the lawsuit? The corporation. The Canadian government had to pay millions. This also happened with a Mexican city against a corporation. The corporation won against the city’s environmental concerns.

    Companies are run to make a profit for the company and their shareholders. Except for those corporations with single member or family owners who may still exercise some moral influence onthe company, this means that greed wins, even if it means investing in companies who manufacture weapons, or companies who are the worst polluters and ruin the environment for indigenous communities in other countries which have more lax standards than the country the corporation is from.

    Even institutional investors, including the very largest pension plans, feel that they must always make the most profit regardless of how that money is made or whether people or communities are ruined in the process. They don’t use those exact words. They say they have an obligation to provide enough money for the promised pensions. However, no where does it say a corporation must be rapacious and evil in order to do make a profit. That is just the way it has evolved.

    It is wrong of course not to count the cost of such profits – whether on people, their health, their lives, the environment, etc.

    I hope very much that it will become unacceptable as corporations try to appease investors who require companies to run a sustainable business.

    • dbrett says:

      Baumann, your comments are clearly those of someone completely out of touch with the corporate world. Corpophobs such as yourself will typically be hard pressed to come up with any concrete example of the imagined mythical monster company drunk with greed. To name names is to debate facts whereas your aim is to push an ideology famous for revisionist history and character assassination.

      Note the characteristic double-think of the leftist displayed in your post, which puts forth the following logic:

      1. Corporations are “persons.”
      2. Corporations are owned by shareholders.
      3. Shareholders are persons.
      4. Corporations are “rapacious and evil.”

      Given the above, it follows that the shareholders must also be “rapacious and evil,” since they own the corporation and reep benefits from the evil doing. Since most people own shares in corporations directly or via pension or mutual funds, most people are therefore evil.

      The only solution obviously is to do away with corporations and cede control of all assets and businesses to the state. Either that or tear down all authority structures in the society (that is, anarchy) and allow something more “pure” and good to emerge from the ashes.

      It should be no surprise to anyone that the front lines of the environmental and anti-capitalist movements are populated by large numbers of anarchists and leftist radicals. They are driven by ideology and not facts and have no problem making up stories to foment a reaction.

      Thankfully, because the world is enjoying a lot of prosperity wrought by free markets, globalization and fantastic companies making life better for everyone, raving leftists and anachists are becoming irrelevant.

      Check out The Economist this week. Excellent article entitled about Mexico: “Adios to poverty, hola to consumption.” Per the article: “Faster growth, low inflation, expanding credit and liberal trade are helping to create a new middle class.”

      People making money and having better lives, hmmm…there must be evil lurking somewhere…right?

  2. Everyone has to make a living. People tend to forget that these so called evil corporations provide tons of jobs that support our economy. There are lots of big businesses that donate to lots of great causes. People just want to blame their own problems in their life on other things or people. It’s easier to do that then to take responsibly for their own problems.

    -Mike of ontario honey

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