Corporate Ethics in a Tough Place

The thought for the day. If corporations are people, too, they why should they not follow a code of ethics that do not harm people? The first and primary responsibility of a publically traded company is to increase value of it’s shares. So the shareholders may profit. First. The Tough Guy is having a problem with that lately.

As a Tough Kid, the assumption was that corporations helped people live better. By and large they still do. But too much muckety muck has been put in the way for that to be priority anymore.

Corporate responsibility. Big words. No meaning anymore. Let’s make food with unsafe chemicals for our citizens, even though we cannot sell this stuff in the rest of the world. Really responsible ethics. What ethics, you ask? Yea, The Tough Guy has been asking himself the same question. More examples? Sure! How about creating a way that realeses trapped oil and gas underground? When the contiguous surronding properties become uninhabitable, deny all allegations and hope you can wait it out. Or build a faulty machine that ends up killing people. Cover it up and when exposed then do something about it.

Seems to me another God is around. The Corporate God of Greed. Gotta fufill the first responsibility. Feed the shareholders. Don’t get me wrong, stock ownership is a good thing. But it takes money to make money. And major shareholders have money. Not all shareholders are rich,The Tough Guy being a prime example. But when looking at the overall (big) picture, this first priority should actually be third or fourth. Priority one has been and should always be the customer. The health and safety of employees and customers should always be #1!! Always!! Then the process and improvements. Then shareholders and their money.

Like people, corporations tend to follow the flock and lose their way.    This, my fellow Toughlings, is the crux of the biscuit. Corporate America has lost it’s morals and ethical direction. Cutting corners to appease activist investors is plain wrong. And activist investors who try to increase value in a company, without spending significant time at that company are fools.

All these actions are done for one reason. Greed. Mo’ money. There is a growing gap between the rich and poor. The middle class is becoming the new poor. And the poor are dying from starvation. Or disease. (The ACA is a different blog. Not today.) Corporations need to reprioritize. And not listen to the greedmongers. Look what happened to Hostess. Have you noticed? Everything is a little bit smaller now? The customer is not first and that is where corporate America fails all of us, the consumer. Until this changes, The Tough Guy leaves you with two words. BUYER BEWARE!

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