The Business Roundtable, a group of influential corporate leaders, claims they have suddenly changed their views on the purpose of a corporation. Rather than corporations only maximizing profits for the benefit of shareholders, now they claim in their statement on the purpose of a corporation that corporations should take all stakeholders into account.
What could possibly have caused that sudden "change in heart"? The writing is on the wall, and they see it. Their pro-corporate right-wing “populist” politicians have been elected in many parts of the globe, fooling people into believing that governments (corporate puppets) and powerless people are the problem, but rather than improving social-economic conditions, they are causing further damage. Their attempt to fool the population into supporting their right-wing politicians is losing steam. With Sanders and socialism gaining in popularity, they want to look like the good guys. Instead, they have just exposed themselves. They see themselves as the rulers of society.
“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.”
Who are the stakeholders? The stakeholders are society as a whole, including their workers, customers and everyone else. How do they serve stakeholders? Do they ask the stakeholders what they want? No. This is not a democracy and they certainly don’t want a democracy. Notice the implication that the corporate CEOs are, in fact, the rulers of society, making all the decisions on behalf of all stakeholders. They are the kings of the neofeudalist system we live under. We don’t make any of the decisions, they do. Furthermore, it was never about the shareholders anyways, it was always about the MAJOR shareholders, which includes the CEOs and the owners of the companies, sitting in the Board of Directors and ruling society through their boards. Not people who have their life savings in corporate shares but have no voting rights. We get no say in their rule, they make all the decisions, and then they implement those decisions in their respective companies. They lobby the government and hold the government hostage to their will, so the government certainly has no power over them either. Whenever they want to change something with the way the government works, they just demand their puppets to follow their will. If they want to buy government assets, they just get their puppets to privatize public assets. They control who gets in power and what they do. Therefore, corporations rule society.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the other claims they make in their statement. I will use the USA in examples because the USA provides a good example of corporate rule.
“We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.”
What is a free-market system? A free-market system is one in which businesses make decisions without any interference from governments. In such a system, there are no government regulations, which means they are the ones who decide how society is to be governed. Over a century ago, we had economic systems that have been more “free” than the ones we have now. For example, in the late 1800s, there were very few regulations in industries, and there were no taxes. Corporations were free to pay workers whichever wages they wanted, working conditions were up to them, they could grow as big as they wished and they were free to dispose of pollution whichever way they wanted. As a result, corporations left workers destitute, working conditions were often dangerous, corporations got very big and the environment was filled with toxic pollutants. As Henry George wrote in 1879 in his book “ Progress and Poverty”, in the USA “amid the greatest accumulations of wealth, men die of starvation, and puny infants suckle dry breasts; while everywhere the greed of grain, the worship of wealth, shows the force of the fear of want”. This is life for most people in a truly free market, with no government regulations, which were only first established in 1887. In the USA, the EPA was created in the 70s. Before the EPA, when corporations were allowed to regulate how much they polluted, there was far more pollution than after the EPA was created. The evidence is very clear that when corporations are allowed to regulate themselves, they couldn’t care less about their stakeholders.
“We commit to:
Delivering value to our customers. We will further the tradition of American companies leading the way in meeting or exceeding customer expectations.”
Which tradition? Does that mean they will stop using planned obsolesce to force us to buy more of their products? Will they actually produce what the market actually wants, or will they continue to use nefarious psychological marketing tactics to push the products they want to sell? People don’t buy what they want, they buy what they can afford out of what is made available to them. The whole idea that consumers shape the market is utterly ludicrous. In reality, they, at best, have a minor effect on demand.
“Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity and respect”
Really? Then why corporations fight against minimum wage increases when they aren’t even enough? Why has employee compensation not risen for decades? Support education? Why is education debt so high? In 2019, it’s at $1.5 trillion in the USA. It's very profitable for them! Are they going to stop robbing students blind? Is that what they are saying?
Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers. We are dedicated to serving as good partners to the other companies, large and small, that help us meet our missions.
They don’t even treat each other fairly and ethically, especially smaller suppliers and smaller competitors. Here's just one example with Amazon. “One supplier, who declined to be identified due to privacy concerns, said Amazon reviews its contract every year and plays hardball tactics to put pricing pressure on its deal. Some of the concessions include forcing the supplier to take on more of the freight cost between warehouses, or to buy more ads on Amazon, in return for remaining a major wholesale partner.
“It’s just a never-ending ask on every line item,” this person said. “Every year they try to get more, so we fight with them every year not to give it up.”
It’s very clear corporations could care less about stakeholders. They control the market, the government, and society as a whole. Through their private banks, they decide what gets invested in. Governments rely on them for funding, so they control the governments by controlling who gets their funding. They make all the decisions that affect us while putting on a show to pretend that we live in some sort of democracy where people actually have any say. When did they ever ask us what we want? They don’t want to do that, because they don't want a democracy, they want to continue to control us and continue to control society. If they really cared about their stakeholders they would democratize the workplace and the market. We have no democracies in this planet, we are ruled by multinational corporations, who make all the decisions behind closed doors in their Board of Directors and their hypocritical non-profit organizations. They want to maintain their position of power, and that is why they claim they care about all the stakeholders – in their mind, they are the rulers. The real purpose of the corporation is to enable them to rule over us.
The corporations are as good at lying and deceiving as their political puppets.