Friday, June 02, 2006

Letter From a Reader

"I don't know you, so I can't really determine what kind of guy you are, but your posts and your story remind me a bit of the guy who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John Perkins). I saw him give an inspiring talk and I guess what strikes me odd about both of you is that you seem kind of human now.

Before, when you made a lot of money and had a lot of power (now referring to you and John Perkins) and were within the 'system' that you now expose, the little people out here making lower- middle class wages believe that the people working at the tops of big business are cold, money loving robots. Actually when I think of a big title (VP, CEO), I think of a building, a machine, or a bank vault - I don't even picture a human in my head. I guess your humor and human-ness you display in your blogs (and John in his talk) makes folks realilze that you can be caring and regular.

The best point I thought that John made was this (and I paraphrase): every company raping the planet in various heinous ways has at least some people sitting on their board or in top positions that know the company is doing the wrong thing ethically. Each person knows that making the less profitable decision, even if it was the more ethical decision, then they would be driven out of their position and replaced. It often takes the opposition instigator to give a good excuse to those 'bosses' to force the company to do the right thing - the bad PR starts to figure in to the financial equation. That idea is one of the most hopeful ones I've heard in a long time. He gave a true personal anecdote of that microcosm happening."

I think this reader is right, and perhaps that's the reason all those law firms and crisis management PR firms are reading my Huffington Post blog right now! See list here.


Peter Rost said...

Agree. And I like lawyers. And the fact is that legal fees for any corporation is relatively small. But of course they'd rather pay nothing. Then again, corporations are the first to sue each other, patent litigation, etc., so they don't have much credibility complaining about lawyers. Major impact is rare, Merck and Vioxx and potential to pay tens of billions even more rare. I think only Wyeth ended up doing that, paying north of $20 billion in settlements.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading the comments here and have to say that I agree with the 'spirit' of the complaints against corporations, but, not the mechanics.
Corporations are NOT living entities.

That is anthropromisation (spelling?). They are no better or worse than the people who run them. It is the 'robber barrons' who quite often operate them without exhibiting ethics or morality that we dislike because of the damage they do.

Some corporations do, actually, have ethics: I remember that Johnson & Johnson had a product, some years ago, that fell afoul of its customers and the executive in charge of distribution pulled ALL of the products from ALL stores after just a few days and without any marching orders from FDA, lawyers, or the like.

There are many well behaved corporations and they provide employment for many grateful people. Unfortunately, like car accidents on the AutoBahn, it only takes one to create a whopper that catches everybody's attention.