Monday, October 17, 2011

Sure, let's thank corporations for the air we breathe

aLfReDo tRiFf

The above illustration, which is getting wide circulation in market-oriented blogs is posted by a John Hinderaker. Each arrow points to a distinctive well-known brand product. The illustration has the pedagogic aim of exhibiting the protesters' bad faith, which consists of wearing products made by the corporations they criticize. Hinderaker relishes the following platitude:
I've always wondered: where do people who don't like corporations work? Do they seriously want to turn the clock back by centuries –it would take some research to figure to how many– to a world in which the only forms of business organization are sole proprietorships and partnerships? And who do they think designs, manufactures and distributes the products they use? Elves? 
Hinderaker confounds "work," an essential productive human activity with "wage-labor," an economic category, as if the former was a sufficient condition of the latter. A more perverse conclusion of his argument is that since we're all consumers, we are forced to accept -even justify- corporative excess as a blessing. We should fall on our knees & thank Gap for the opportunity to purchase a pair of jeans at fair market price!

Additionally, we should be grateful for Gap's being-there, as it were, for as long it exists people will hold jobs. Is Hinderaker referring to those in the production-line in China or Indonesia, making $7 for a 12-hour day, or America's retail, where being a manager earns you $7.50 an hour without commission? In Hinderaker's bureaucratic paradise, people hold jobs not because they are competent at doing something. Rather, work becomes an undeserved gift bestowed on individuals by a corporate superstructure.  

Hinderaker's corporate genuflection is not surprising, but he distorts the real aim of this movement, which is not to denounce corporations for just being corporations, which is vapid, but to denounce corporate excess, i.e., unethical corporate-friendly legislation, unfair corporate tax breaks, irresponsible corporate deregulation and its dramatic aftermath: lack of opportunities, unemployment, the crumbling of American manufacturing and organized labor, urban blight, etc, etc.

(Hypothetically speaking, I don't have to thank Gap for the jeans I paid for, nor wearing Gap jeans renders me impotent to denounce Gap's unethical corporate practices).

 Occupying what?

In this context, to "occupy" shows this group's determination to seize possession of, and/or maintain control over a place. This is not done by force, but peacefully. It's a right enacted by consensus. To put it simply: There is the real space where protesters camp (Zucotti Park, Miami's Government Center, etc), and there is an symbolic space of freedom. "To occupy" is to connect the two. Occupy Wall Street (or Occupy Miami) protesters define a new political space:

1- They now dwell "outside" for the sake of all of us. 2- Their place takes over -and opposes- Wall Street's "center." 3-  Their "occupation" makes for a primal event. What is it?

Wall Street is the "center" of the 1% that rules the remaining 99%. This brutal wealth gap exposes financial capitalism's unfairness. Acting as a gate of capital flowmation into the periphery, Wall Street's inflowence erodes region, place and borders. It downgrades political space by reducing local government control and packaging whatever is left of the public sector as commercial venture. No wonder Occupy Miami has camped outside Miami's Government Center, an emblem of a democracy hijacked by the opportunistic strategies of capital.

Yeah. we've dwelt in the wrong place for too long!


Gerald said...

The number of pro-corp/banking voices spouting nonsense about the movement is staggering. It is always inspiring when an elected official declares a protest as “un-American”, especially since just a little over a year ago participants in a far right group where hailed as brave heroes of Democracy. I can’t recall the name of that other group. Something to do with British tea and the taxation of the colonies without representation, although I don’t see how that would be relevant in today’s age.
The obvious issue here is the utter lack of ethics inherent in liaise faire capitalism. The objective is to get profit at any cost with no allegiance to country, or nature, or fellow human being. The result is a hierarchical Ayn Rand society, whose philosophy even the “great” Greenspan at one point denounced. That world is structured around having a permanent slave caste in some imaginative twist of eugenics. There is no room for fairness and equality where there is slavery.
There are five words that sum up the efforts of some of the most unethical business leaders to walk the Earth in the last seventy years: The repeal of Glass-Steagal. If one reads up on why it was first passed, takes a look at those who fought (lobbied, shady dealings, etc.) tooth and nail to be rid of it, and even the year it was tossed in the trash they will have a damn clear picture of the actual class war being waged in this country.

Oceanna Dawn said...

In my opinion Corporations are proof of a powerful united concept. A collective group of educated minds that manage great minds working together across the globe to create a strong organized business. The builders of these corporations are some of the most intelligent hard working people of our time. Just as we are the 99% and the 1% are making decisions for us in government, I like to believe in any given corporation the 1%(one in the same as our government) makes their decisions. Individual desires and laziness as a complete culture stemming from unintentional human nature has given the corporations the power to do as they will with our resources. The top 1% of the leaders of corporations that are corrupt by money are making corrupt decisions. I don't agree that people are hypocrites because they buy clothing and supplies from the places they know how to get them from because they do not do it with bad intention but to me this is an example of people fighting against themselves. We all make lazy selfish choices everyday to live conveniently and use 10 times more then we need. From the shoes in our closets to wood on our floors to the sushi at dinner. We are all a part of what is happening to our earth and situation. The top 1% have an exemplified situation because they have been given the option to make choices for the rest of us. People must get angry and gather together educate each other, find solutions and a way to make change. At the same time people have to look at their own choices in their own day to day lives and understand that we are each a part of this effect that is happening to us. I believe that we can make all the right changes in world in our budget and politics etc. but until we decide as a world that the best thing is not to have two houses and two cars and new shoes every week we will continue to be our own individual destructive corrupt corporations. We act as if we don't know any better but is that really true for us in America? Acceptance and individual change is the very first step of collective change. Please correct me if someone feels differently especially about my view of corporations maybe my thoughts are ignorant on that reality.

Anonymous said...

Triff: Excellent point. I don't believe that there are no goods outside corporations, but let's face it: they own the show.

Isabelle said...

This movement is about cooperate GREED. Every single human in the US has purchased something from a cooperation because quite frankly, its almost impossible to avoid. Unless you are self sufficient and make your own clothes, grow your own food, e.t.c The 1% that own the nation are not cooperations to be looking at for examples of treating their employees with great respect and certainly DO NOT practice people over profit. A cooperation such as Walmart whos profits are BILLIONS and which the government gives subsidies to could easily give their workers more money. They choose not to because of greed. The government giving money for a cooperation INSTEAD of schools is just absurd on so many levels and sad. Not to mention their lawsuits are endless ............capatalism breathes by the minimun paying workers doing their job while the CEOs are making more money EACH YEAR, their workers are signing up for food stamps despite the fact that they are working full time and the big boss is swimming in cash. Why not give your workers a little more money and have your billion dollar profit get cut down to "only" a few millions?....GREED. Everything is about the money and NOT the interest of the people. Unfortunately too many people let cooperations take advantage of them. Unions are a big no no with many large companies due to people being afraid, when Unions are what everyone should be entitled to, to have their voice heard and fight for the necessary change. Why is the Fanjul Family, aka, the sugar mafia doing these disgusting things to their workers while they are getting hundreds of millions of dollars richer every year? GREED. Unfortunately this family OWNS 40% of the sugar business in the US so everytime I buy sugar, I think of them and I've been debating my alternate ways of buying sugar due to giving this nasty family money. Not to mention that they are destroying our Everglades in the meantime! But why should they care? They are loaded and their main goal is profit and certainly not people. There is so much more to say about this but certainly everyone should watch the documentary called the 1%, ironically done by the grandson of Johnson and Johnson. Freedom of speech is an amendment everyone needs to practice and less harmless than the right to bear arms. I'm sick of hearing people call protesters "stupid hippies" and "riots" while they themselves are being ignorant and apathetic and in denial that this has directly affected you one way or another because you are the 99%!

Oceanna Dawn said...
This is a link to photos I took at the Occupy Miami protest Oct.15

khalid said...

The issue is not "hating" corporations, or claiming that they are evil. Capitalism here in the United States has taken over democracy. Well to be fair let's call it extreme Capitalism. In Washington DC, members of Congress (who are meant to be representatives of citizens across the nation) pass laws that govern this land. These Congressmen and woman are influenced by lobbies. Lobbies of course hired by large corporations with money to spend. It is these lobbies that sway political agendas. If a congressman ignores a powerful lobby, he or she might end up loosing their next election because of course a lot less funding and endorsement. So the point here is, our legislators, the representatives of the people, are succumbing to the demands of corporations NOT the people. Furthermore in 2010 the Supreme Court of the United States, overturned a ruling that barred corporations from spending freely to support or oppose a candidate. My friends, fellow citizens, the people of the United States were SOLD out in this measure. The US has been in the Middle East promoting democracy, when democracy in a large sense has been evaporating, and ultimately it is the Arab Spring that woke up the whole world to what democracy is all about. Think about it, the recession has been hurting this country since 2008, and now the world protests, after seeing the power of the people where no one had ever expected. So YES let these occupiers protest let them remind the government that this land was built on the will of the people. After all that ideology is what motivated the founders of this country to secede from the British Empire. SO let them occupy, and let them inspire people across this country to wake up, reclaim their rights, and reclaim their lost voices.

Anthony said...

You can only do so much to people before they decide to actually do something about it. I was talking to an elderly white lady a few days ago and somehow the discussion about the protests occurred. She said to me "it's unbelievable what theses people are doing, wasting precious time and resources we don't have and occupying private property" The lady was sitting in a chair at at the store i work at while her 3 grandsons went on a shopping spree totaling a little over a $1100. I told her that some people barley live paycheck to paycheck and that it's our right as stated in the constitution to peacefully assemble. She told me I was young and had a lot to learn, these are the kind of people that need to have their eyes and ears checked.

A.T. said...

Hahaha. Funny story, Anthony.

Anonymous said...

I am a converted financial sloth seeking redemption.

Jesus Rojas said...

The Occupy Wall street movement is a great beginning to unmask the reality of corporations and how corrupt and organize they work. Some of the biggest corporations have people for them working at congress and hundreds of lawyers working full time to protect their interests. Now, despite i support the Wall Street movement, i recognize that they are missing the main picture, which is the master of all corrupt institutions 'The Federal Reserve Bank". The wall street movement are focusing on something important, but they are not prioritizing.

I even visited them in Government Center and I had the chance to talk to a few of them, and none of them payed much attention to how crucial the issue of federal reserve bank is, and none of them even knew about it.

Now the reason why the Federal Reserve Bank is the most corrupt institution in this country and should be our main concern, is because this institution is the one who prints the money and loans it to the government with interest. On addition, this bank is not public as the majority of the people think, THIS IS A PRIVATE BANK. and while we let this private bank printing money and loan it to the government, this country will be in eternal debt and debt = slavery. In fact, this institution is enslaving America, like Thomas Jefferson said " I believe that banking institutuions are more dangerous than standing armies... if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency... the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered". Unfortunately this message was short lived.

Anonymous said...

Before I say anything I would like to establish my prevalent opinion about coorporations: I believe they are a nessesary part of any healthy economic system, a country where is impossible to open have and sustain a major company reduces considerably, the well-being of their economy. However they are not fulfilling that roll in the United States, they are not just business created by free-lancers anymore, the major companies in the united states have become a political and environmental danger.

The U.S lack of the correct content of ethics in its way of running a faceless capitalism, where big money controls the goverment and the people, and where the parasites of wall street rule over the lives of millions of people (I did called them parasites, from the point of view that out of every single profession in the nation, wall street brokers do not generate even a single dollar for the country they are in, the do not generate new services, or new products that can be use, their only function is to go around selling other people's debts and taking out big chunk for it).
After the visit I payed to the occupying force in Gov. center last friday I had the chance to see and talk with many of the people in there, and it was because of that, I came into account the fact that many of them, are not even aware of what they are protesting about, some of them wanted equal rights, some others where just screaming about legalizing pot, and very few of them had an actual well established reason for being there.

this leads me to believe that despite the fact that there are fighting for the right reason, they execution of it is no exactly "flawless". I do share their point of view, corporations have become an abusive power over the later years and something should be done about it, and ethics should be always a part of any good economic system.

Hector Toranzos

Carina said...

I believe the issue with “corporate greed”, is just a reflection of who we have come to be has a society. I think the focus of this protest needs to be towards the government rather than corporate greed. We have a substantial amount of studies showing the individualistic mentality of the western world. It can even be found in our children during their developmental process. The fact that 1% of the population gets to amass huge quantities of moneys is due to inheritance or innovation but at the end of the day, they are the result of a culture of competitiveness and money driven mentality above all. If we were to select a random 1% of the remaining 99% and replaced the current 1% population, I doubt we would end up with different results. I believe this is a concern of government rather than the 1%, and even though the government voice is that of the 1%, it is their obligation to the people to address this issue and take responsibility for the global community.
We have seen throughout history that new times call for new measures and I believe this is a time when we need to have more government regulations to control the detrimental effects of a capitalism model that has proven to be defective. And no, I am not a “communist”; what I am referring to is a “mixed, regulated economy,” where people are not left to fend for themselves in a pool of sharks like the laissez-faire model.

Anonymous said...

If one believes that all corporations are bad, then let one believe that nonsense. It is about as meaningful opinion as saying that all Germans are Nazis, all hybrid cars are slow, and all government members are corrupted. I like to believe that I do understand why Occupy Wall Street(OWS)became a reality. Corporate greed, unfair trading practices, exploitation of workers, and other dirty practices are basically legal way of conducting business these days. As was said in the class, the gap between voters and lawmakers is just way too large, and almost impossible to overcome. Because of that we live in something that could be called "corporate countries," where the CEOs and board members are deciding the decisions that the elected "decision-makers" will do next.
I do support OWS and I know that there are many others around the world that do the same. Now do I have time or means to protest myself. Unfortunately I do not, just like many others. I can show my support by financial donation, but I always found that little bit hypocritical. It's like buying a belief and consciousness - "I donated money, I am in." One problem I see in OWS is the support of those that can actually make the difference - the top 1% or the lawmakers. To occupy Lower Manhattan, or Government center in Miami is a very noble thing, but without support from those who can actually do something about it is pointless to me. In the 1960's during segregation, freedom riders, had support of certain decision makers. In 1989, Fall of Berlin Wall and consequently whole communist regime, had support of certain decision makers.
To sum it all up, OWS has a support of many ordinary citizens, yet not much support from those that can change the laws. Once they get it, they will need to point fingers on corporations that are being unfair (in any way), so these corporations are punished, and those that were being fair all along will continue at their good job. Unfortunately, I am not sure if that will happen any time soon, since we are going to a year of elections. Ultimately it's all about politics.
Matej Kasala PHI2010 TR 9:50

geovis18 said...

Agree or not agree we should recognize that most of the people are individualistic; I mean, if we open a corporation is because we want to make money, and we will look for the way to get the most money possible, reducing expenses, doing a good marketing ,etc. I know most of the time it is not fair for some people such as employees (because they do not earn the money that they would like),or customers (who think prices are excessive);However, we shouldn’t complain about the companies because the decisions of buy or not buy something is in our hands; I understand we want to get the last things in the market, we want to be on trend, but if we analyze these things are not necessaries, so if we want that luxury we have to pay for it. In case of the employees, the most cases they don’t have the salary wished because they don’t have the knowledge necessaries, the degrees, or the wish of overcoming themselves. It is a long topic to talk about it, it was just a part of an opinion but it always have their exceptions; I only believe that in these difficult times we should leave our comfort of getting everything easy and stop complaining about things that the solution are in our hands.

Gracia A said...

i have a chance to talk to my friend regardthe protest. From our point of view, it's like history repeat itself. They are a lot of reason peoplea are protesting now against the bank that got baillout, the federal system, the millionaire thart squeezing the middle class and many more. I happens to learn most people that been protest are the one without no jobs, and that cant find jobs out there. i dont know what direction that protest might take all i know they will be some changes. They re growing stronger everyday.

Wesler Aime said...

What I find interesting about Wall Street is the fact that people are unemployed. They are suffering because of Wall Street’s and the government’s inability to manage money. What makes it more interesting is how the government is managing our money. This country is supposed to be the land of opportunity. Yet, many people do not have jobs. I find it odd that certain businesses are booming while people with no jobs are trying to make due of what they have. Certain things are taken away to ensure that this “debt” is handled effectively. However, the things that are taken away or limited are things that are essential for future generations to be more productive and independent in society. I think we‘re still in debt because certain people with higher economic status are refusing to give up something for the good of the majority. Instead of them giving up something, the government gets desperate and starts limiting things that are important to us. The only way we can fix this is by exercising our power of democracy.

Reynel Mirabal said...

The people who are protesting in Wall Street and Government Center I give them all thumbs up. Although, I don’t really thing that protesting would make a different because, as you can see all those protesters are still buying the products that they are protesting about: Sony, Samsung, Gap, Cannon, & Crew. So even though they are making everything hectic and donating a lot of their time on the protest I personally think that it wouldn’t make such a difference; especially as Christmas and Chanukah around the corner.
I personally think that the only way we make a difference is if we cut down on buying all these products. We can just all of a sudden stop buying the products because everyone needs razors and cameras. I am almost certain that this will not happen because we don’t want to jeopardize our own things for something that probably won’t make a difference.
I pass by Brickell every day to go to school and I see protesters outside bank buildings and hotels, though I don’t know why they are protesting, I am almost certain their protesting for equal rights and pay. They have been protesting since the beginning of August. November is about to start and they are still protesting. So in my opinion wasting our time protesting outside of Government center would not really make a difference.

Oscar Henao said...

What is important is public opinion on the streets. More and more people are standing up to say that they agree with the goals and ideals of the movement: The world’s financial system is broken and needs to be fixed. The important fact here is that there are Occupy groups all over the world now, shows that a large number of people around the world are angry enough to take to the streets and an even larger number quietly support them. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. I think that the reason why we still have occupacy everywhere is because all of those who have come together can agree on the same general idea: the system is not working, so things need to change.

Anonymous said...

How is it possible for a group of people - which happens to be the one percent of the population – to rule the other ninety nine percent? Money has turned to be an essential part of the Americans’ lives. We many times even think that money can even buy happiness, not realizing that this kind of thought is what makes those CEOs, Bankers and billionaires so powerful. Occupy wall-street is a movement that wants to face those individuals, and of course that wants to show to the rest of the people that something can be done, that something needs to be done, because it’s time for changing. I’m personally not against corporations because it has become the main source of employment in America and we need to work, and to earn a wage or a salary if we want prosperity for our society and country. What I am against is the Monopolistic positions those magnates hold, positions that have been given and sustained by us (the ninety nine percent of the population).
-Armas, Randy- (PHI 2010/9:50 TR)

Alejandro Rostoker said...

in my opinion we live in a consumerist world in which the materialist things are what matters, the intelligence of a person has a price, the social status of a person makes them famous. these reasons has all influences with something big, something that is s big that dominates the world and ths are the big corporations.
These companies not only govern the world economy but use people who work countless hours for extremely low wages. These people are the fabric of all the material thigs that society values , and by that I mean that both labor and raw materials are completely overrated and this is why these big companies manage to make large amounts of money to dominate the world economy.
The solution to this problem is worldwide dilemma which may include economists, sociologists, psychologysts, lawyers, etc. And its because the people who criticize this situation will never stop being consumers and they wont stop working for them. So is there a real solution in the world and society that we live today??

Alejandro Rostoker

Sasha Philius said...

I admit that I know very little about the Occupy movement but I get the general idea behind. That being said, I do not think the movement will succeed. At least, not in its infancy as it is right now. Like a lot of people are pointing out, the majority of these protestors do not seem to really know what they’re protesting against. Yes, everyone is frustrated and big corporations are unfair, greedy, etc. but few seem to really understand the political and economical factors involved. This movement can succeed but it needs some leaders. People have to be educated on just what exactly is at risk here and how they are suffering from the policies currently in effect. I think that the Occupy movement has the chance to really grow into something substantial and have a lasting impact. Right now its members need to focus on understanding their motives so they can properly educate the rest of us and creating a figurehead for others to rally behind.

Chris.arias said...

Christian Said,
I believe that the actions that Occupy Miami and Wall street are just. These big time corporations are receiving many things from the government. It is enough that they are over charging for the product that is made at least ten time cheaper. I don’t believe that these corporation should receive tax breaks. Mainly because I doubt that they will provide more jobs. These companies might actually intend to keep extra money for themselves. These selfish acts is what have them in control over the other 99% of the nations. I believe that this is unethical of the corporations to do all the things that they do.

Chris.arias said...

Christian Said,
I believe that the actions that Occupy Miami and Wall street are just. These big time corporations are receiving many things from the government. It is enough that they are over charging for the product that is made at least ten time cheaper. I don’t believe that these corporation should receive tax breaks. Mainly because I doubt that they will provide more jobs. These companies might actually intend to keep extra money for themselves. These selfish acts is what have them in control over the other 99% of the nations. I believe that this is unethical of the corporations to do all the things that they do.

Daniel L said...

Many corporations are now powerful with inspiring benefits towards any individual that's living in society. By having big time corporations many people benefit from each other, and around the globe nationwide. The protest against corporations should be looked at twice, because the corporations done their part. We benefit from them in a major way. You could say most corporations run the show not the government. People should sit down and think before making a decision on corporate greed. Look at the government for example; the environment we live in is only getting worst and they reply by saying a change is coming soon. Nobody brings up the government. For many years this has been going on we should take a look at the government for the things that they do not provide at all. Many individuals are not helping out each other, jobs are not available, and people are dying every day. It’s like the money and the power it brings control the older generation, and the younger generation are corrupted. These societies need more unity among each other.