19 August 2011

The downside of corporations (and every other organization)

Via PEG 2.0
Sex, Art and Politics | Danny

The general idea that people have is of large, (multi)national corporations that suck their employees dry and spit out waste into the environment. Most definitely, there are many of these corporations. And the lack of personal responsibility within a corporations (everybody and nobody is to blame if something bad happens) leads to a lot of horrible behaviors.
This lack of responsibility is definitely true of corporations. But it's also true of every other organization of humans. Schools, police departments, town councils, regulatory agencies, churches, armies, umpire crews: all of them give their members power out of proportion to their personal responsibility.

There's no way to get n people in a room and perfectly balance all of their combined power with all of their individual responsibility. That's part of the downside of being social creatures.

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PS This makes it sound like I am disagreeing with Danny. The thesis of his post is actually that corporations are a amoral (ie value-neutral) way of organizing affairs. I agree that they are without moral distinction.

PPS On a practical side though, their invention has made possible a remarkable amount of prosperity for the world. Morally, they're neutral. But from a consequentialist standpoint, they're Good.

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