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RE: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality

This sort of immorality is by no means limited to corporations, capitalism,
or any specific ideology.
Organizations of all sorts, people in the mass, will support and go along
with all manner of things. Some studies done of the activities of average
citizens in support of the Third Reich are a source of wonderment.    (01)

Beyond the herd instinct and the willingness to rely upon and follow
authority, is what happens with any group that achieves power in some arena.
"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" may be a cliché,
but it is a cliché because there is so much truth in it. Those in power can
easily come to believe that "what is good for me and my organization is good
for the world".    (02)

Add to that the fact that power lovers seem to be drawn to "good causes"
which seek some sort of power, and you have a real mess. Volunteer
organizations of all sorts can experience problems because there is usually
no way to get rid of the really eager "volunteer" who just happens to be
driving the organization over a cliff. You want to see petty tyrants, just
deal with most homeowners associations to the city council of a small town.    (03)

There are elements that we haven't begun to understand about individual
human behavior, and far more that we do not understand about human behavior
in groups or in organizations.    (04)

I have been interested for many years in determining how it is that a group
or organization can make decisions and implement policies or practices that
none of its members would consider as individuals.    (05)

Unless we gain some understanding of the forces that cause this and how to
counter them, we are going to continue to have problems with humans in
groups.    (06)

I suspect that a lot of behavior that gets blamed on one economic model or
ideology or another is common to groups of many sorts and is merely seen
manifesting in the sort of group that is most common. Note that it helps to
have a society where some freedom of expression exists - in the worst cases,
none of these problems can be know because nobody can speak of them without
fearsome repercussions.    (07)

As to why democracies haven't fixed the problem, majority rule has issues of
its own. Majorities are fairly good at representing what outcomes they might
like to see. They are far worse at determining whether outcomes are
achievable and if so how. I would be ok with a majority deciding that having
a bridge across a certain river would be desirable to improve traffic flow.
I wouldn't want that same majority to design the bridge of even to do the
traffic flow analysis that determined what impact such a bridge might have
or exactly where to place the bridge. Unfortunately, we often try to use the
majority to determine answers that are of the "how" variety rather than the
"what" variety, or best yet "here are the tradeoffs for several approaches
in terms that make sense, which is preferable for the group?"
Our institutions have problems often because of the purposes to which we put
them as much as because of the way they are structured or the philosophy
which drives them.
Having said that, there do appear to be some philosophies and organization
structures that nearly always produce worse results than others.    (08)

Thanks,    (09)

Garold (Gary) L. Johnson    (010)

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
[mailto:owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org]On Behalf Of Peter Jones
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 3:21 PM
To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality    (011)

I think it was the lab coat man that put me off track.;-)
He's an authority figure, which isn't quite the same as the herd instinct
pattern in my view.
> > > but then it fails to explain why 'democracies' have failed to bring
> > > stricter employment laws to prevent such practices - assuming the
> > > really prevail in such societies. [...]
> > > That it is some sort of mass habit?    (012)

This is herd instinct, and it genuinely might be the reason why the pattern
doesn't heal.
On the assumption that the majority support the pattern.    (013)

Things get darker if you assume that the majority don't favour the pattern.
How then does it fail to heal? Then you have to start looking at the roles
authority figures and wondering about their integrity, or whether the
process just defeats things even if well intentioned folks have a
majority.    (014)

'Moralität ist Heerden-Instinkt in Einzelnen.' Morality is the herd-instinct
the individual.
Die fröhliche Wissenschaft ( (1882)) bk. 3, sect. 116
Nietzsche.    (015)

By a strange coincidence, I have been reading the chapter on Imperfect
in Plato's Republic today.
In his ranking, democracy falls just about tyranny in the hierarchy of
types he gives - with tyranny being the worst of the five. But his argument
seems weak in that most of what he suggests as being bad about democracy
actually look like quite good things to me. Talk about historical
relativism.    (016)

And as fuel for your essays I would like to add two other things. One is a
from Gary Alexander's eGaia
(http://sustainability.open.ac.uk/gary/pages/egaia.htm) book, that to my
defines capitalism above and beyond mere trade exchange.
"Instead of being constrained and controlled by the needs of humanity,
much less the natural world, our modern globalised monetary system has
taken on a life of its own. Flows of money have become relatively isolated
from physical constraints. In 1995, only 2 or 3% of money flows were to
do with trade or investment. The rest were speculative - buying and selling
currencies."    (017)

Peter    (018)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eric Armstrong" <eric.armstrong@sun.com>
To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 8:59 PM
Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality    (019)

> The reasoning off only with respect to "intent". The majority
> doesn't intend the consequences, but getting them seems to be
> built into the system.
> This whole line of thought has led to an essay titled "what's
> wrong with capitalism?" It plunged into my brain this morning.
> I'll try to get something on paper soon.
> But the question you ask raises a corrolary issue, "what's
> wrong with democracy?"
> (The titles are intended to be read ambiguously, as in "So
> what's wrong with a little capitalism?" (it's a good thing)
> in addition to "how do we fix this?".)
> Peter Jones wrote:
> >
> > Wow. That has to be the worst piece of reasoning I've ever published.
> > I'll try again later.
> >
> > "I cite having a bad headache by way of mitigation, your honour."
> >
> > --
> > Peter
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Peter Jones" <ppj@concept67.fsnet.co.uk>
> > To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
> > Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 8:07 PM
> > Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality
> >
> > > I did intend 'corporate morality'.
> > > Certainly the herd instinct theory does seem to explain matters in
> > > but then it fails to explain why 'democracies' have failed to bring
> > > stricter employment laws to prevent such practices - assuming the
> > > really prevail in such societies. Does this mean that the majority
> > > enjoy inflicting this sort of psychological torture?
> > > That it is some sort of mass habit?
> > > Scary.
> > >
> > > For those wondering about the background to this discussion, we were
> > discussing
> > > the content of www.faceintel.com
>    (020)