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Occupying my mind

October 15, 2011

Amber Grace Brown

I hear people ask about the Occupy Wall Street protesters, “Why do you hate corporations? What are you wearing Nikes for, then? Don’t you drive a car? Huh? Huh?”

Here’s my answer. I don’t hate corporations. I work for a Fortune 500 company. I’m proud of my work and proud of my co-workers and extremely happy to be employed at a job I like. Every bite of food that goes in my mouth, every month’s rent, is thanks to that. I’m also glad to have a car and telephone service and food and electricity and all the lovely goods corporations bring to me. I’m not ignorant of all those things.

But I do have a few issues with corporations. I expect them to obey the laws just as I expect my fellow citizens to obey the laws. I also expect them to be punished when they don’t. I’d love for there to be a death penalty for corporations, so the really rotten ones could be killed off, instead of living forever like Dracula.

I have heard that publicly held corporations have a duty to provide value for their stockholders. This is generally held to mean money. The more the better. They need to do the thing that provides the most money to their stockholders.

Defining value only by money is like defining the worth of food only by calories. So if a corporation were a mom feeding her kids, she would be applauded for feeding them fried mozzarella sticks and shamed for feeding them broccoli. Sure, she’s providing the maximum caloric value, but what about other important values like health and longevity?

I have one suggestion. Corporations should stop trying to provide value for stockholders, and start providing value for stockholders’ children.

Instead of making sure stock values go up, get bigger values. Make sure that everything they do contributes to a better life for the next generation. Pay their fair share of taxes so education and infrastructure will be not just good, but excellent. Make sure they keep the environment clean and safe so the next generation won’t be sicker than ours. Create manufacturing processes that use renewable energy and resources. Provide high quality jobs with humane working conditions, so parents will be able to provide for the children we are all trying to benefit.

That’s my simple suggestion. Add one word to the value equation. Add the children.

  1. Rachel permalink
    October 16, 2011 09:04

    *applaud* Too many people my age aren’t as well off as their parents were at the same age, even. There’s something wrong with the “progress” we’ve made.

    • October 16, 2011 14:55

      I think it’s hard to make progress when you’re heading in the wrong direction.

  2. GrandeMocha permalink
    October 16, 2011 09:50

    Amen! What an amazing country this would be if half the corps did what you suggest.

    • October 16, 2011 14:56

      All anyone says they care about is their kids, anyway…so it just makes sense to me.

  3. October 16, 2011 20:07

    Simple and brilliant. Especially the death penalty part. If you don’t play by the rules, you shouldn’t get to play at all.

    • October 17, 2011 09:39

      You rob a bank, you go to jail for 20 years. You rob the American people and you get…bonuses?

  4. October 17, 2011 05:03

    Agreed. Benefiting from the laws of the country should not allow a corporation or person to avoid contributing to the country.

    • October 17, 2011 09:40

      I think the American people are generally reasonable, but a lot of people are fed up with the corruption and lawlessness and greed.

  5. October 17, 2011 06:33

    Agreed. Very well said. Now how do we make this happen?

    • October 17, 2011 09:40

      If I had that answer, I’d be on the covers of Time and Newsweek.

  6. October 17, 2011 06:59

    It’s simple. They should not be above the law. Some how things got flipped around. The mindset went from “the corporations need the people” to “the people need the corporations”. The truth is that 90% of the crap produced by some corporations, we just don’t need. There’s a big difference in wanting something and needing it.

    • October 17, 2011 09:41

      It’s because the corporations own the government now.

  7. Lisa permalink
    October 17, 2011 08:06

    Brava! Thank you for being a voice of reason. I absolutely love what you have said here.

    Everyone should think about how their actions now affect not only the present, but also the future.

    • October 17, 2011 09:41

      It would make sense, huh? But we’re all about this quarter’s stock earnings. Sad.

  8. October 17, 2011 19:26

    Very well put. I am amazed at the folks who say they don’t understand the reason for OWS – or who feign that they don’t understand the reason.

    Just do the right think. Be an ethical corporation that gives back to society. Henry Ford was a fascist bastard, but even he understood that you aren’t going to sell cars unless you pay the people who make the cars enough money so they can buy the cars you make.

  9. October 17, 2011 19:27

    Beautiful photo, too, SueB0b.

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