An Image Is Worth a Thousand Retweets

It’s a powerful, evocative image. Iconic researcher and conservationist Jane Goodall, gray and world-worn, smiles adoringly at the girl carrying on her crusade. Pig-tailed Greta Thunberg beams up at the legendary environmental warrior with look that seems to carry a promise. A wizard and her protégé, photographed as the torch is passed. One day when we look back at this miserable moment in our history, that image might symbolize the gleam of hope that carried us through.

What else do you see in that picture? Look closely.

Down through decades as people view this image, the photo credits will likely only mention Goodall and Thunberg, but our minds will register a third participant. This image was taken in Davos at the 2019 Fourth Industrial Revolution Conference. Their meeting wasn’t arranged by a government, political party or a charity, but by one of the events’ sponsors, Salesforce. In return, Salesforce got a branding opportunity for the ages.

Salesforce hosted a panel at the conference with its CEO accompanying Goodall, Thunberg, Bono and several other philanthropic or environmental leaders.

The Goodall/Thunberg photo op was an offshoot of that event. It was worth every penny.

Renaissance artists loved to play with triangles. They often composed their paintings to build a hierarchy, in which the eye was drawn to a figure at the top of a triangular composition, signifying its importance or power.

Rafael, Madonna of the Goldfinch, 1506
Masaccio, Holy Trinity, 1428
The Resurrection, Pierro della Francesca, 1460’s

What place does the corporation occupy in this image of Thunberg and Goodall? It takes the place often occupied by the Madonna or the deity in a Renaissance painting, the benevolent force tying the other elements together.

Yes, this is just a single image, but there can be profound insight in an image. As our liberal democracies descend into dysfunction, a faster, nimbler, and perhaps more powerful force is elbowing its way into social leadership.

We have inherited from the industrial experience an understanding of corporations as rapacious enemies of popular welfare. That image is increasingly at odds with our experience on the ground, as this rapidly evolving tool of human social organization begins to take on roles we never previously imagined. There is much more in this photograph than meets the eye.

Which power center is likely to play a greater role in curbing runaway global warming over the next few decades, governments or corporations? Which will do more to study, invent and deploy new tools to make people healthier and extend our lives? Which will do more to promote art, science, education and research? Neither can act alone. Neither will prosper while the other flails. It’s hard to imagine a healthy, progressive future without strong social leadership from a business sector that was once regarded by progressives as a kind of cancer, tolerated if necessary, but best subordinated and always treated with suspicion.

Life and economics have changed. Industrial era economics, in which labor was merely one more input like coal or capital, is behind us. Corporations now exist in a mesh of interests, competing with each other for talent, with brands dependent on a progressive public image. Modern corporations face social pressures that have never been exerted in the past. They are indispensable partners in human social progress.

This transformation is not unprecedented. Governments were once little more than extensions of aristocratic power, with no interest in public welfare beyond suppressing peasant rebellions. By rendering them more accountable to popular will, we converted them into tools of human thriving. Corporations are experiencing a similar evolution.

That doesn’t mean corporations will replace governments. It doesn’t mean corporations are now “good” instead of “bad.” What we are seeing in this fresh push toward social responsibility is merely a response to changing market incentives. An information economy runs on talent, meaning companies must work hard to attract and retain the most desirable employees, granting them labor power than never before existed outside the entertainment industry. And communication technology gives consumers unprecedented insight and choice, allowing them to incorporate their identity and interests into buying decisions like never before.

Corporations didn’t suddenly grow a conscience. Markets developed in ways that have begun to reward social responsibility. Companies are adapting to protect their bottom line, absorbing incentives which are tilting toward the public good.

A camera sometimes captures a truth that eludes the unaided eye.

46 Comments

  1. Game on.

    How might the House Impeachment inquiry proceed without testimony or documents vital to investigation of impeachment charges?
    Obviously the trump administration is into full obstruction because: they got away with it before; and, because exposure of real witnesses will be damning.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/pompeo-says-state-dept-officials-wont-show-up-for-scheduled-impeachment-depositions-this-week/2019/10/01/b350f8a2-e459-11e9-a331-2df12d56a80b_story.html

    1. Mary, I asked the question before a week or so ago, and no gave me an answer. The question is non-rhetorical, because I truly don’t know.

      Precisely what powers does the House have to compel testimony when they are outright refused, like they have been many times? Can they have the person arrested and dragged in chains before them, can they simply send nasty letters, or are their limits something else?

      1. Jail, fines, contempt citations, court. Jail has rarely ever been used. Don’t know history of other remedies. House Committee Chairmen have vowed to levy an “Obstruction of Congress “ charge to the other impeachment articles if the trump administration continues to avoid testimony.

      2. Congress regularly gives itself the power to withhold the salary of anyone who “prohibits or prevents, or attempts or threatens to prohibit or prevent, any other officer or employee of the federal government from having any direct oral or written communication or contact with any member, committee, or subcommittee of the Congress.”

        Dems have been moving uncharacteristically aggressively since impeachment began. We’ll see if they’ll hit these people right in their wallets.

        https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/house-oversight-chairman-elijah-cummings-threatens-withhold-salaries/story?id=62887563

  2. Business can help change the ethical framework if our nation. I applaud these banks for their resolute decision to deny loans to GEO Corp, one if the nation’s largest for profit prison industries. I hope they will expand this philosophy to lending to other businesses whose business model depends upon increasing incarceration for gain. This is a huge step forward.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/morgansimon/2019/09/30/geo-group-runs-out-of-banks-as-100-of-banking-partners-say-no-to-the-private-prison-sector/

  3. Speaking of the impact of one photo, I find the possibility of any foreign “deal” cut by trump with N. Korea extraordinarily problematic. Trump is cornered. He “needs “ a win. (Note – “he”, not “America). Kim holds all the aces here. He has trump where he wants him. (This is not lost on Iran and other countries who are in the negotiation queue.)

    It is extraordinarily dangerous to have trump at any negotiating table anytime, but especially now. Everyone he is authorizing to speak for America are compromised by association with this deeply flawed person. Pompeo and Barr et al all are seeking a win to save themselves.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/news/north-korea-announces-new-nuclear-talks-with-us/

  4. Are you aware how much like a copywriter’s wet dream this essay is?

    You know, the dream that takes words when the big annual sales meeting is on the line, and the company needs inspiring film, and the CEO has to walk on stage with spotlights following his every gesture.

    That dream. On a good day, it can really move some people, make them feel affection for whatever product or company is being promoted.

    Personally, I really like how you attached both art and god to the company. Skillful.

    Yes, you used the word triangle but that triangle has meaning because of God, the Father, sits at the top of triangle with Jesus on one side and the Holy Spirit on the other. The art is holy and so is salesforce.

    And then there’s the word nimble. Over-used, seldom experienced and yet technocrats claim it like a life raft in Imelda.

    To me, this essay is so over the top I wonder if you’re bucking for a new job. Or is this a spoof?

    It takes two seconds to crop salesforce out of this picture. I guarantee you it’s already happened as the photo is passed around.

    Corporations will not save us. Historically, we save them. Over and over.

    1. ***Are you aware how much like a copywriter’s wet dream this essay is?***

      I’m not that clever. Essays or observations like this are downstream from the marketing process, a consequence of someone else’s effort. Think it’s an accident of photography that the Salesforce logo appears in that position just over the heads of the participants? It repeats over an over on the backdrop, just above human height, so that a photographer will catch it from just about any angle, and cropping it will result in an awkward composition.

      The whole event was engineered for market effect. See their own account:

      https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/01/salesforce-at-davos-recap.html

      Why is this interesting? I’m old enough to remember a time when no corporate entity would have let their brand appear within a hundred miles of an event like this, or in front of figures like this. Ask Jane Goodall how many corporations were inviting her to speak in the 1970’s or 80’s.

      This picture is interesting partly just for the cleverness that went into creating it. Of more significance though, is the massive shift in costs/incentives that inspired it in the first place. Everyone who still sees Economics in terms of high school level supply and demand is being swept from the field. Companies’ incentives structures have become very complex.

      If I’m in the habit of personifying institutions, applying human characteristics to a non-human entity, then it can be mind-bending to imagine an institutional form which I once characterized as “bad” doing things which are “good.” If I recognize that institutions are organic entities, struggling to survive in an evolutionary context, which must adapt to a changing background of costs and incentives, then when I see institutions successfully evolving I recognize the natural beauty of the process.

      Companies aren’t benevolent or rapacious out of some inherent trait. They are, in fact, never entirely either of those things. They are organic entities that adapt to the demands of their environment, that is, the ones that survive adapt.

      What’s in that picture is evolution, and it is a wonder to witness.

  5. Chris,

    Fair argument. I have no connection to corporate America and I believe you when you say that it is overwhelmingly liberal. However, how would some of the stuff you’ve written pass muster with your HR department? Would all of your company’s clients agree with some of the racist, homophobic, misogynistic opinions you’ve espoused in the past? Would they agree that since you only target conservative minorities and that makes the bullying okay?

  6. Really, Mary? I’d be disappointed in myself if I didn’t say anything. The discussions on this blog meant a lot to me at one time. But now, Chris’ hate-filled speech goes unchallenged here. Who stuck up for Lindsey Graham’s rights when he was described in the most homophobic terms? Who stuck up for Diamond and Silk when their content was described in extremely racist language? I’d go on about how women including myself have been characterized, but I’m sad enough!

    1. Are you going to tend to the beams in your eyes??? You are supporting a pathetic excuse of a man who spews hate. Who rips little children away from their parents. Who acted like a mafia boss trying to get the president of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 elections. Who has ramped up the spewing of lies and debunked conspiracy theories in a despite attempt to distract from his impeachable offenses. Who not so subtly hinted that a whistleblower who acted in accordance with the law was a traitor who ought to be hung. Who’s now dropping the same hints about Adam Schiff because he DARES to question the great and powerful Trump. Who’s tweeting about Civil War if he gets impeached. Do you endorse that? Do you even have a drop of moral courage??

      I don’t make fun of Graham for whatever his personal life might be, and I’d call Diamond and Silk “your Black friends for hire” instead, but I still have to shake my head in disgust over what trips your outrage meter and what doesn’t.

      1. Fly,

        Yes, I’ve got beams in my own eyes … or maybe the start of cataracts. However, I’m not talking about Trump here. Chris’ last piece was about striking against bullies and hitting them hard. I fail to see the connection between hitting back at Trump and denigrating Diamond and Silk, or Melania Trump or trying to out people like Lindsey Graham.

      2. It’s called priorities. The bully who is wrecking our system of government, acting like he should answer to no one, and quite likely is stirring up the next wannabe domestic terrorist is the big clear and present danger. He needs to be dealt with first.

        Just like a GOPer, you completely evade my questions. So I’ll put it to you in the simplest terms. Do you support Trump’s re-election or not?

      3. Okay, while we’re on the subject of outrage meters…

        The accusations of children in “concentration camps” are an instance where I feel outraged. Yes, the conditions at the border were awful, and yes, kids did suffer but is the solution really to hand some of the children back to coyotes to be recycled for further border crossings? Should they go with the human traffickers who claim they are family?

        It’s a complicated situation. Temporary detainment is less traumatic than taking the chance that the child will be placed in a situation of abuse. DNA testing and controlling border crossing would do much more to alleviate suffering than simply allowing children to go back to those who would abuse them to gain entry into this country.

        https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2019/05/10/dna-testing-border-best-way-protect-families-and-kids/1162587001/

      4. When I went with my nieces to ChuckECheese, all people in the same family group were given coded wristbands to insure that no unauthorized adult left with a child. If a pizza restaurant could figure it out, there’s no excuse for the government not to have a clue. Now you would use the excuse of coyotes??? The cruelty was the point. Those are the people you side with.

      5. Fly, the cruelty is in using children for adult gain. Up to 30% of so-called family units were made up of nonrelated individuals. This is okay? Will putting ChuckECheese wristbands on the kids before they cross the border make it okay?

        The facilities at the border were stretched to the breaking point. Yes, that’s horrible but those ate not the current conditions. The photos most commonly seen were taken during the Obama administration. Detention of children took place then as well. Are you seriously contemplating handing over children to anyone who claims they are their parents?

      6. >>Fly, the cruelty is in using children for adult gain. Up to 30% of so-called family units were made up of nonrelated individuals. This is okay?

        Which would then mean that at least 70% were related individuals. You would justify cruelty to the overwhelming majority based on alleged transgressions by a minority? That’s OK?

        >>The facilities at the border were stretched to the breaking point. Yes, that’s horrible but those ate not the current conditions. The photos most commonly seen were taken during the Obama administration. Detention of children took place then as well.

        Those children who were mostly in their teens and unaccompanied but an adult. Not little toddlers and infants who would be harmed by separation from their parents. The Obama Administration firmly rejected the notion of deliberately separating families. The Trump Administration deliberately chose to do it, because cruelty is the point. Don’t you dare try to gaslight us on this.

        >>Will putting ChuckECheese wristbands on the kids before they cross the border make it okay?

        You miss the point, which was for ICE or the Border Patrol to put on the wristbands when they detained family groups. You do remember that there were issues with trying to reunite children and parents, because nobody kept adequate track of people, don’t you? It was something that could be avoided/reduced with some simple planning, but competence and compassion are short supply in this cruel Administration.

        >>Are you seriously contemplating handing over children to anyone who claims they are their parents

        No I’m expecting them to keep adequate track of people, as explained above. But that would interfere with the cruelty, which is the point.

      1. So you’re the American counterpart to the conservative Germans who decided that Hitler fellow was uncouth, but we’ll overlook his bad points.

        Just know that anyone who votes for this dangerously unfit fool a second time, especially in light of all the authoritarian ranting he is doing now, will not be forgiven. You would trash the Republic, rather than see your political opponents have any say. You claim concern for the economy, but you side with those who deny the biggest threat the economy, climate change. Makes me suspect the economy is mere excuse.

      2. Good grief, fly. The Hitler comparison is way off base. Trump isn’t about to invade Poland or Canada or Mexico …. 🙂 I’m assuming that Ivanka and Jared won’t have to wear yellow stars.

        If you were really interested in cutting down on carbon emissions in this country, you’d want to limit immigration. Every person in this country contributes to greenhouse gases. Every person produces a tremendous amount of trash from their first baby diaper to their last adult diaper. If climate change or the environment were such a big issue to you, you’d want to limit population growth. Makes me suspect climate change is a mere excuse.

      3. Way off base? Trump and his minions are pulling plays right out of the Hitler/Goebbles playbook. They’ve found their scapegoats, they are using the language of dehumanization. They are like early 1930’s Nazis, but this treason rhetoric Trump is screaming is eerily like mid 1930s Nazis, when they started moving against their political opponents after they got power. History rhymes, and it can happen here if people insist on sticking their heads in the sand. Trump doesn’t believe in American style checks and balances and that ought to frighten you.

        As for limiting population growth, I’m all for the best method of all- educating girls, emancipating women, and letting women, not the government, control if and when they have children. Also recent immigrants from poor countries are not the ones living extravagant, high carbon lifestyles. Not many of them buying a new gas guzzling car every year or jet-setting all over the world or building wasteful McMansions or any other “keeping up the the Jones” consumption for the sake of consumption stuff. And even if they did act just like so many well-off Americans, there is no justification for Trump’s Nazi-like lies and hate speech and cruelty. What a morally bankrupt argument you make.

      4. fly, I’m all for women being educated. I’m all for women being able to limit family size.

        I’m bringing up facts in regards to the US lowering carbon emissions. Everyone would have to lower consumption. Unfortunately, the US is a heavy user of energy. (I don’t think that’s a good thing.) Almost every person moving here would use more energy than they did in the country that they left. That’s just a fact. Hence, if you are truly worried about climate change, you would be worried about uncontrolled immigration.

        Personally, I’m all for immigrants who go through the lawful process and I think the US benefits positively from immigrants. I’m concerned about climate change but don’t think that it is the worst problem facing us today. In any case, the push would have to be worldwide and I don’t see China and India wanting to limit their prosperity anytime soon and I don’t blame them.

        Again, Trump is no Hitler. He may have nominated a couple of supreme court justices you don’t agree with, but he hasn’t abused executive power any more than Obama did … now that guy really worried me.

      5. >] “Again, Trump is no Hitler. He may have nominated a couple of supreme court justices you don’t agree with, but he hasn’t abused executive power any more than Obama did … now that guy really worried me.

        Ah yes, who could ever forget the Executive Suit Scandal of 2014? Damn that Obama, corrupting the very fabric of the Constitution and rending the country asunder with… gah, his TAN. SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUIIIIIITTTTT!!!

        Then again, unlike a certain fat and lazy f**k in the WH, at least Obama could pull off wearing a suit, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      6. >>Almost every person moving here would use more energy than they did in the country that they left. That’s just a fact. Hence, if you are truly worried about climate change, you would be worried about uncontrolled immigration.

        And it never occurs to you that the real issue is a wasteful lifestyle? Deliberate cruelty to refugees is the answer, rather than Manhattan Project style push for cleaner energy?

        >>I’m concerned about climate change but don’t think that it is the worst problem facing us today. In any case, the push would have to be worldwide and I don’t see China and India wanting to limit their prosperity anytime soon and I don’t blame them.

        Prosperity which depends on droughts not withering your crops, storms and rising oceans not flooding out your cities, and the wet bulb indices not rising above heat-humidity combinations that take out even the young and fit. They are going to feel those changes first and worst, but we’re not far behind. Our choice is whether we start to address it now or address it later. Guess which one will cost more.

        >>Again, Trump is no Hitler.

        I didn’t say he was Hitler. I said he was following Hitler’s evil playbook. He’s telling lie after lie after lie, and demanding that you believe him and his toadies over the evidence of your own eyes and ears. He’s scapegoating minority groups, and fanning the flames of hate again them. He’s trying to undermine a free press, which is absolutely VITAL to a free society. He’s equating himself to the state, calling anyone one dares to oppose him traitors, and not so subtly encouraging violence against them. That ought to be setting off everyone’s alarm bells.

        >>He may have nominated a couple of supreme court justices you don’t agree with,…

        You miss the point. The judges are way down on my don’t-like list. ANY other GOPer would have done the same. This has to do with Trump’s unique unfitness for the office and the danger that poses.

        >>but he hasn’t abused executive power any more than Obama did … now that guy really worried me.

        Really?? Let’s look at what Trump has done with his executive power:

        He tells outrageous lies, then expends resources to retroactively justify the lie and/or demands underlings support those lies. Remember the damned lie about 3 million illegal votes and Chris Kobach’s bogus voter fraud committee? Remember the sharpie on the hurricane map, and meteorologists getting reprimanded for correcting that lie in the interests of sound science and public safety? Now the State Department is wasting time of some of Trump’s favorite debunked conspiracy theories.

        There are too many “Acting” officials, which bypasses the prerogative of the Senate to vet and approve them.

        He overrode the justified objections of intelligence officials to give a security clearance to his unqualified and likely compromised son-in-law.

        His Executive order for diverting funds from the military to fund that boondoggle border bypasses House’s power of the purse, is unprecedented, and ought to be ruled unconstitutional.

        He hasn’t made the relevant financial disclosures, and he charges the Secret Service exorbitant fees when he’s staying on his own properties. He uses his office to divert business to his resorts- foreign officials, the VP on a trip the Ireland, even the military.

        He has not only ignored the intelligence community’s warnings about foreign election interference, but now he’s been caught trying a mob-style shakedown of Ukraine, withholding aid that was approved by Congress and demanding that they help him by digging up dirt on a political rival.

        He’s trying to bully the Federal Reserve, because he thinks their job is to help him in the 2020 election by giving the economy a sugar rush, rather than keep the economy steady.

        He tried to demand a loyalty pledge from then FBI Director James Comey. He has a similar attitude towards the AG, the White House Counsel, etc. This is especially grotesque, as public officials swear to protect the Constitution, not slavishly obey the President.

        He constantly makes false claims of executive privilege to forbid testimony before Congress.

        That’s not anywhere near a complete list, and it doesn’t even touch on all the grotesque character deficits that make him dangerously unfit for the office. So exactly what did Obama do that was WORSE that all of that?

      7. “So exactly what did Obama do that was WORSE that all of that?”

        Fly,

        Easy. Remember the “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone” Obama?

        Obama managed to screw things up big time with his executive actions. Case in point: DACA. He left young immigrants in a pseudo-legal state where they have no permanent right to be in this country.

        Obama tried to bypass Congress by executive order. His intents may have been compassionate, but it didn’t work out that way.Obviously, the solution is to get congress to pass immigration reform.

        Trump was willing to legalize up to two million people earlier in his presidency and do it through Congress. All I can conclude is that Democrats so hated Trump that they didn’t want him to make any progress on immigration that he could take credit for.

        If that is not cruelty towards those in the DACA program, I don’t know what is.

        Do you think that there is any hope that Democrats will try to do anything on immigration before the next election? All I see is them trying to use immigration as a cudgel against Trump.

      8. “And it never occurs to you that the real issue is a wasteful lifestyle?”

        Fly,

        Yes, we have a wasteful lifestyle in the U.S. Personally, I try to conserve energy. I recycle. My husband and I moved to a smaller house and we consolidate trips to town.

        If everyone in the US did that, would it be enough?

        There are about 4.55 BILLION people living in Asia
        There are about 332 million people living in the US
        There are about 747 million people living in Europe

        We, in the western world, grossly overestimate what we can actually do on climate change. Asian lifestyles are rapidly approaching our own. I’m not saying we shouldn’t conserve resources, but the ball is in Asia’s court no matter what we do.

      9. I’ll have to ask you to pardon me for butting in on this, Fly, but you’ve gotta stop this. Objv is a Trump Troll that is not open to being convinced on how misplaced and disgusting her faith in the Maximum Leader is.

        Crush her at the ballot box and isolate her side politically so it doesn’t matter what she thinks. We all know it. Her mindset’s a danger to the safety and security of the Republic and to the future of us all. Just outvote her, forever.

      10. I know she’s a lying troll Ryan. She craws back here periodically with a “can’t we just all get along act” but falls into the old pattern of refusing to debate honestly and turning a blind eye to the growing mound of Trump transgressions. Just confirming that she isn’t repenting of her devil’s bargain.

  7. From the comment page two posts ago we were discussing Democrats’ clientelism and I asked whether that’s not how the system was essentially set up, to which you implied the founding fathers would shoot me.

    I would like to know how the founding fathers intended for Congress to appropriate funds, as it still remains my understanding that appropriation is Congress’s purview and that the Senate oversees state and interstate funds whilst Congressmembers specifically represent population based regional appropriations. That may not be the Constitution as written but it does make sense to me.

  8. Yes, brilliant work by some Salesforce exec or employee to orchestrate that photo. Some individual or group of people Salesforce made a conscious decision to put some funding into Davos, and months later, it has paid off spectacularly, on the same level as Russia’s investment in rigging the last election.

    You have stated many times that corporations are the new shepherds out of the valley of darkness. Sorry, but no…just no.

    Until a corporation is no longer beholden to shareholders to maximize profit for the shareholders, at the cost of everyone else, including the environment, then corporations should never, ever be handed any more control than they have today. And any corp that steps away from the model of “share-holder first”, then they are no longer, by definition, a corporation.

    Capitalism, by definition, needs an ever growing consumer base. You can sell only so much toothpaste, or cars, cell phones, or banking services to a static consumer base. And the only way a consumer base grows is by increasing the population, consuming ever larger amounts of natural resources, creating ever more waste products. That model is utter madness, and completely unsustainable. A 7 year old child can grasp that. Unfortunately, it is the model that best fits the needs of a selfish and thoughtless species known as the human race.

    Now, when you have utterly dis-functional governments, that are puppets and employees of the giga-corps, (and now tera-corps), yeah, a business-led society looks good. But those same corporations (and remember, a giga-corporation is really a handful of sociopaths in the C-Suites making decisions for their personal benefit.) are the ones that bought and corrupted every politician.

    Those corporations created this mess, and now you want them to take the lead in getting us out of that same mess. Once again, no…just no.

    1. Corporations in my industry (software) have already basically sloughed off a shareholder-first ethic. Other companies are following their lead. Dozens of states have already implemented a formal “public benefit corporation” status. Companies are signing up, including some major names.

      You don’t have a way out of this mess without the highest-functioning institutions in society playing a part. They are already doing more than governments to implement the left’s agenda, and their influence has yet to truly bloom.

      https://benefitcorp.net/faq

      1. Chris, when I see Bezos announce that Amazon just raised the minimum wage they pay to 22 bucks, and they no longer track warehouse workers’ movement, including bathroom breaks, and Google announces it has stopped creating facial recognition software for the gov’t, then maybe I will have some faith in this movement. I noted that in the FAQ, point 3, said “except Delaware”, where huge amounts of companies are incorporated.

        I couple more things:

        1. I worked for a long time for a software company (think 3 letters), and watched first hand as they ruined lives, all in the name of higher profits.

        2. I am a huge Coke fiend. The stuff is poison, and it will kill me, but love the taste and effects. What do you think the odds are that the Coca-Cola company is going to announce “Folks, we have done the math, and have figured out the ecological footprint of all our plastic packaging outweighs the ecological impact of glass bottles. We are going back to glass bottles. The cost of your bottle of Coke is going to go up a bit, or a lot, in some places, but we know you will understand, as will the entire third party distribution network all food companies use. Oh, and all our trucks are now going electric.”

      2. Businesses of yesteryear adhered more to the benefit corp model you linked. That’s where it needs to move to counter the harsh, profit-driven models that dominate today.

        One can “see” the faults and greed of businesses without giving up on the prospect of change that will balance profitability goals with more humane objectives. Things have gone too far in the direction of greed, but that doesn’t mean change isn’t possible. In fact, the wonderful video of the Davos discussion profiled world leaders who are working to achieve change that benefits all people and our planet. There is good out there – we’ve just been staring at evil for too long. This must change.

        I have no illusion that all businesses share the principles or goals of a benefit corp but I also do not see a world that can survive without businesses. It’s easier to rail against what is broken than it is to fix it. The luminaries on that Davos stage remind us that there is hope. Our jobs as individuals is to do the best we can in our own spheres of influence and responsibility, which includes supporting change that reflects our values. Companies like Salesforce and others can help lead the way but it is up to each of us to do our part.

      3. Yes, but what does that mean for you personally? What would the company you work for think of some of your past posts? In the process of targeting bullies, you’ve become a bully yourself. I realize that your raging against white, southern, conservative, religious men would hardly merit a blink of an eye to most in the corporate world, but you’ve made some rather incendiary remarks about conservative women, African-Americans and gay people.

        Diamond and Silk are called a “minstrel show”. Ben Carson is characterized as an unintelligent fool. Melania Trump is accused of being an escort. I still can’t get over the homophobic slurs you lobbed at Lindsey Graham when you took it upon yourself to out him as gay. (I mean … who really cares if he is or not? isn’t Graham’s own desire for privacy reason enough to leave the matter alone? )

        How is smearing them anti-bullying? I’m just curious. Aren’t you worried that the rage and desire to hurt people who don’t think like you – especially minority conservatives – bite you in the end?

      4. Objv,

        Like most remaining Republicans, you’d last about ten minutes just about anywhere in corporate America, (outside the oil and gas industry). And in software or any other talent-driven business? Fuggitaboutit.

        About 2000 employees of my company have made political donations in the past few years. Four of them donated to Trump.

      5. “Dear Ms. Objv

        We’d like to remind you that WhateverCorp is a welcoming, tolerant environment for all. Our inclusion policies are meant to create a workplace open to the contributions of WhateverCorpers from all backgrounds, genders and orientations.

        You are receiving this message because your comments expressed on [insert date], and brought to your attention by your manager, have left co-workers feeling threatened or demeaned. Coworkers have also expressed concerns about political comments and forwarded emails with racially hostile language.

        Maintaining a healthy work environment depends on everyone’s efforts. As mentioned by your manager, please refrain from playing videos with harassing or racist content at your desk. Any comments, communications or actions perceived to denigrate other races or sexual orientations will be interpreted as harassment and could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

        Thank you for your cooperation.

        Signed
        [The HR Rep who is preparing the paperwork to fire your bigoted ass]”

      6. Yes, I suggest you behave yourself, Mr. Ladd!

        For all its worth, I owe my brief appearance here to Malcolm Gladwell’s new book “Talking to Strangers.” You’d enjoy it. The current political climate hurts us all not only as a country but the hate rots our souls.

      7. Will we find that there’s a Gresham’s Law undercutting these so-called benevolent corporations, where these benevolent corporations can’t compete with corporations focused only on shareholder return (or more likely management returns)? What I expect is that when push comes to shove, too many times low price will get market share and benevolence won’t.

      8. And is software an outlier in this aspect too, in that a software company is competing as much for talent as it is for clients? Does this dynamic work for companies like Amazon who hires warehouse bodies, or Uber who hires drivers?

        (Apologies for being on-topic here)

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