Abuse of Power by
Corporate and Governmental Elites
Criminal Justice focus on crimes on the streets and give passing mention to
crimes in the suites, even though all the research indicates that white collar
crimes cost far more than street crime. Unfortunately, the government
collects almost no data on the toll taken by corporate crimes, even though there
are annual reports on street crime from the FBI and the National Crime
Victimization Survey. There's enough of it, though, that Fortune
magazine had a cover story: Send Them To Jail [3/13/2002] - "They lie; they cheat; they steal and they've been getting away with it for too long." Rather
than go to jail, corporations
sponsored tough on crime laws
that help a variety of industries from private prisons to telephone companies to
construction and prison supply. Three
strikes does not apply to corporate 'citizens' who continue to be called
before Congress to testify, while convicted felons loose their right to
and subsidies are not considered 'welfare' or even 'aid to dependent
corporations.' Further, corporate
crime isn't covered on TV news, reinforcing the idea that street
crime is the only serious crime worth mentioning.
Too frequently, 'white collar
crime' is about employees who rip off the employer or people who
pad their insurance claims. What gets neglected is the dynamic where the
most powerful victimize the less powerful - where corporations and government
victimize communities, consumers, workers, and the environment.
is that corporations are becoming larger and larger, plus they have acquired
many media outlets (all the major networks are owned by Fortune 500 companies).
In 1999, 51 of the top 100 largest economies are now corporations and 49 are
countries. [See the
list from corporations.org.]
This finding is based
on research by the Institute for Policy Studies, whose full report notes
that of the top 200 largest corporations, "the U.S. corporations on the list
[included] 44 that did not pay the full standard 35 percent federal corporate tax rate during the period 1996-1998. Seven of the firms (including the world's largest, General Motors) actually paid less than zero in federal income taxes in 1998 (because of rebates)."
They have a good overview of other crucial issues like campaign donations and
economic clout (click on full report - adobe/.pdf recommended)
Nader's Congressional Testimony on Corporate Welfare
SOLUTIONS? For starters,
companies should publicize
their misdeeds (rather than use all those prime-time advertising dollars only to
tell us what wonderful corporate citizens they are). We could make better use of
probation, including a 'rehabilitation' plan where the company identifies what
went wrong in the decision making process and how to correct it. There's also
more extreme measures like a corporate
death penalty - revoke the charters of corporations that have way more
than '3 strikes'.
to overthrow Corporate Rule in 5 Not So easy Steps (corporations.org)
Corporate Governance explains the history of corporate charters and how to
take back democracy
for Corporate Accountability (UK)
for Social Responsibility
ELITE DEVIANCE RESOURCES:
page of links
I have developed a companion
website for Jeffrey
Reiman's book The Rich Get Richer & the Poor Get Prison,
You can also read a talk he gave on on Ideology,
Economic Bias & (the lack of) Moral Outrage.
White House for
Sale.org (nonpartisan, campaign finance)
out Public Citizen (Nader's group)
and the Campaign for Corporate Reform.
like Nike use sweatshops (yes, there
of Allegedly Unethical Companies - the ones making the news now are
the tip of the iceberg.
Exxon Mobil ~ Expose Exxon
wrong with McDonalds, why the Gap
Sucks and about Wal-Mart
highlights many of the problems of corporate values and corporate
advertising in a humorous way.
game of monopoly for
a stratified society? [exposing the the Great Lie of
traditional Monopoly that everybody has an equal chance - great for teaching
stratification & includes instructions for teacher].
on the Tobacco Industry.
Each week The Memory Hole picks at least one particularly important new story that was reported by at least one mainstream news outlet but basically ignored by the rest. Typically, this is a story that should be, but isn't, getting major coverage on the nightly news and the 24-hour cable news channels.
White Collar Crime Center
Democracy - Corporate Accountability
Profit Without Honor: When It Comes to Ethics,
Business Schools Get an F (WashingtonPost.com)
It was in 1987 that John S.R. Shad, then chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, made a personal donation of some $20 million to
Harvard Business School to support the teaching of ethics. On April 21, 1989, after months of contentious debate, an initial proposal was put up for a faculty-wide vote. Reactions ranged from distrust to outright hostility. One economist argued that "we are here to teach science." Another faculty member wanted to know, "Whose ethics, what values, are we going to teach?" And a third pointed out that the students were adults who got their ethics education at home and at church. By meeting's end, the project had been sent back to the drawing board.
By the way: Ben
& Jerry's ice cream was bought out by multinational Unilever. The
Washington Post's columnist was sanctimonious as hell and danced on the grave
of socially conscious businesses with their 'airheaded' 'do-gooder socialist
salary structure'. People with 'hippie-dippy, lefty-loony' beliefs should pull
their 'VW Microbuses of self-righteous fervor into the parking spaces of
global capitalism'. Well, dude, look out 'cause I'll try to park my VW
bus on top of capitalist pigs. [The link goes to a letter I wrote
to the editor of the Post, but which was not published - maybe because
I used 'capitalist pig' and pointed out the appropriateness of the
of electronic voting systems,
usually without a paper confirmation that can be used to audit the results
or recount. Diebold's CEO is an ardent Bush supporter. Diebold systems
have numerous security flaws in the software that are documented by
company memos - and most of Diebold's response has been to threaten to sue
websites that post the company's internal memos about problems. Welcome to
the future of our democracy. (see
"Suppose you had a situation where ballots were handed to a private company that counted them behind a closed door and burned the results," said Dill, founder of
VerifiedVoting.org. "Nobody but an idiot would accept a system like that. We've got something that is almost as bad with electronic voting."
(E-Vote Machines: Secret Testing,
As the November Election Draws Near, Congress Should Require That Electronic Votes Leave a Paper Trail