Sunday, October 9, 2011

Life Inc.

The above photo was posted on Facebook the other day. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm not so naive that I don't understand the role corporations play in my life. I get my food from a corporation. I take public transit which is run by a corporation. Hell, even my doctor's office is a corporation. Most people who work do so for a corporation. The "corporation" is here to stay. I get that.

I will admit that I don't know a lot about how corporations work. I may be wrong but it is my understanding that a corporation has an obligation to make its shareholders money. If the shareholders don't think the people running their corporation are making them enough money they can fire those people.

One of the problems is that corporations are NOT required to make money ethically or in a socially conscious way. The other big problem is that corporations have gotten too much political power. They spend millions on lobbyists and contributing to political campaigns.

This political power means that the average corporation pays less in taxes than an ER nurse. I think that's a big problem. Corporations use their political power to make sure that laws do not get in the way of their profits. That is also a problem.

Anyone who has been reading my blogs or my Facebook wall knows that I have a serious bee in my bonnet about Monsanto. Monsanto currently owns more than 90% of the patents on genetically modified  organisms (GMOs.) Leaving aside the idea of anyone holding a patent on food, Monsanto is creating more and more GMOs with no oversight whatsoever. They claim that GMO foods are safe but they said that about Agent Orange and DDT too.

In truth, GMOs are too new for anyone to know their long term effects. But Monsanto needs to get more of its products into more countries. I have heard that they are looking for ways to sue countries that have voted against introducing GMO products. They are also currently fighting legislation that would force companies to label their GMO ingredients.

Monsanto is a corporation. Its reason for existing is to make its shareholders money. They've done some pretty unscrupulous things to do so. Things like suing organic farmers whose crops have been contaminated by the wind blowing Monsato seeds onto their property. Monsanto claims that this is patent infringement. The courts have agreed in some cases.

Monsanto is just one example of morally bankrupt corporations. Don't even get me started on "Big Pharma" and the race to develop a "female Viagra". Until something is done about the need to make a profit no matter what, someone will always be getting screwed. Is it surprising that some people are tired of bending over?

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