Are corporations psychopaths?

Posted by in Management

Just read this review of the book The Corporation at The Economic Times. While I find these books very thought provoking – they do ask some very pertinent questions – especially about the role of people like me who work and give life to these corporations – what I find to an extent irresponsible is the high moral ground these authors take. While it is true that the system is not perfect - and in fact has lots of imperfections – just accusing Corporations and thus people like me is not very helpful. I have read quite a few books in this direction like No Logo, and books Noam Chomsky for example.

Is their job to ask questions? WHile it is important to ask the right questions, you should also acknowledge the fact that many things are actually being done to overcome these anamolies in the system. After all its an organic system – our world it lives and evolves. And just like a pendulum would go from one extreme to another before finally coming to a rest place. Many of the systems in place today are a result of such evolution. Of course this compromising evolution will leave almost no one satisfied – as as the word suggest its a compromise. But we need to accept that and move on. Otherwise we will just be living in utter chaos today.

Now another issue thats been used quite a lot these days is the example of Monsanto. Monsanto produced some products which some claim is harmful to humans and animals. A broadcaster (interesting isnt it that Balkan doesn’t name this broadcaster while naming Monsanto!) was planning to broadcast a story accusing Monsanto of this – and Monsanto threatened to pull out their ads. Now the broadcaster for whatever reasons decided not to show this programme and this led to them firing the two journalists who did this story and they went to court and so on and on. I find it amazing that Monsanto is being blackmarked for something they have not much control of. If the issue was squarely about their product – then yes it makes sense. But here its only natural that Monsanto would not want to advertise with someone who shows negative programs about it. I dont see anythign sinister about it. The broadcaster – if they live for the ads and not for the news – its their problem. Whats amazing is that whenever this story is talked about – its Monsanto and the broadcaster – not ABC and a company!

I certainly plan to read this book - and I might even recommend the same – but would also suggest that we take a much more balanced view of the world – after trying to understand as much as possible about the various factors affecting the society as a whole.

Ah one final thing - Balkan talks about share market, anonymous shareholders and the effect they have on the corporation. Yes this does have disadvantages, but on the other hand it also has advantages. Can I ever dream of being able to invest in lets say GM – with a meagre CHF 5000 without the share market? No I wouldn’t be. So lets not just attack for attacking sake - look at why do we have such systems – and accept that there will always be problems – there is no utopia anywhere.