Tag Archives: corporate

On Blood money:

I will preference this one by saying while I normally like to talk about alternatives and better courses of action, here I’m mainly focused on how shit blood money is, and how on basic logical, conceptual, and practical levels the use and more importantly the acceptance of blood money is bad.

What is blood money? Simply put its most basic description is monies paid to an injured party or their family for injury resulted from wrongdoing. The idea was (a long time ago) an ok one, as I do mark blood money as more desirable than “an eye for an eye” I also seem to recall it being recommended in the old testament for the killing of slaves. However we are NOT living in biblical times, and the concept that money can offset moral or ethical responsibility is… troubling to say the least, I’ll start with the real world examples and then get into my more esoteric ideas on the matter.

BP, as you know is a large for profit corporation that from 1995 to 2005 killed 22 of its employees, note this does NOT include the deaths on the deepwater horizon drilling platform(more on that in a bit). In an (small) effort to correct this whole making tons of money while killing workers thing, the OSHA has levied some fines, and BP has paid out a fair bit of blood money. Deepwater happened in 2010, where 11 more people were killed, and here we see the issue with blood money: It allows ( and I would say encourages) greedy assholes “business leaders” to ignore conditions that can kill workers. This is just one sad example, but there are really countless examples: GE killed 13 people with a faulty part in their automobiles, they knew it was bad and it took 10 years for the public to be informed. While this is a tragedy, how did we ensure this will never happen again? By making sure that no one went to jail and that GE paid blood money.

Ok so on a conceptual level: The idea that payment of monies can ease the suffering of someone who has suffered a loss is… tragic, but there is some truth to it. In today’s world money can get a lot, however when looking at loss it is incumbent on us to not just ease the suffering of those directly affected, but to.. I donno… try to ensure the tragedy does not happen again, and here is where blood money is working overtime against us. BP is still doing the oil thing, and they WILL kill another worker, GE is still making autos, and more importantly, the murder who made the call to use an inferior product, to sacrifice safety for profit, that person is still out there, maybe in a decision making position…

Lastly, BP has just settled with the U.S. government for some 16 billion dollars, this will cover the entire deepwater horizon incident: clean ups, payment to affected business ect… and here is where the logic fails: BP gets billions of dollars to extract natural resources, kills people in the process and RELLY FUCKS UP THE ENVIRONMENT THAT WE ALL SHARE, and as punishment, they have to give a portion of the money they got, nowhere is there any incentive to stop and there in lie the problem; accepting blood money allows really bad people to keep being bad and corrects nothing. It is basically a bribe that we are allowing our leaders to take on our behalf.

I would prefer a system where if your company kills someone, 1. That company instantly has all of its rights to operate anywhere revoked, 2. The leadership is bared for life from ever working as leadership again, 3. All earnings from the time that the dangerous situation arose (not when the death/accident actually happened) are equally distributed to the workers to assist in finding/training for new work. In truth BP never killed anyone, it was individuals making greedy decisions, and by being cool with blood money we are allowing them to just keep on keeping on…

On the corporate veil:

 

This is on a very specific and not discussed power of being incorporated, statutes and case law that protect individuals while in the service of a corporation, the corporate veil. This is indented just for protection in civil cases, but in practice it represents an entire mentality we (I’ll go w/ the entire west here) are mired in and perpetuating at least up to the time of this writing. I use the most recent case with GM as an example, it is actually so wide spread that we think it’s just the way things are or some such non-sense. So Gm made a whole bunch of cars that were not safe, GM knew them to be unsafe, but due to costs made them anyway, as a result at least 12 people died. Those are all pretty much undisputed facts, here is what I am talking about with the corporate veil, Gm is made of people, a small number of whom knowingly ( and for profit) manufactured a deadly product, but there are no indictments, no subpoenas, not at all, as I see it any attorney general from any state in which there was a fatality related to this has a case against PEOPLE, individuals who made the decision to kill for profit. But instead we have Congressional hearing with the new CEO while the people who profited of the deaths of their customers continue to live lives of extravagance, it is appalling to every sense of morality, but just another day in America. What is being investigated is did GM react quickly enough? (http://www.nbcnews.com/business/autos/federal-prosecutors-explore-criminal-case-against-gm-n50276) Note this is not a probe looking into who made the call to use a dangerous car design, which is the crime, no just to make sure that GM corrected the problem it caused… If this happened outside of a corporate setting the outcry would be loud and the justice quick, but because corporations are given rights which only living things should have I would argue. The people who run them are allowed to do down right despicable things and then get a “well I was just doing my job” free pass. Sadly this is indicative of the larger problem, the public should not be at the mercy of privet enterprise! Seriously, if you make something that kills people (especially for a base reason like profit) you should be prevented from making anything unsupervised ever again! That seems like a common sense kind of approach, but we let corporations again and again commit heinous acts in the name of profit and let them go w/ a slap on the wrist. (How is BP doing after the worst environmental disaster ever? Wait is Exon went out of business after the Valdez right?) If a random person killed 12 people through his negligence it would at least constitute manslaughter, maybe he is imprisoned for a few years. Here we have a corporation ( admit to) doing the same thing and… nothing, GM is still in business, the leaders who made this happen are still VERY wealthy people and the wheel keeps on turning…