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Analysis and own opinion on:Chapter 3 "The Externalizing Machine" of "The Corporation, the pathological pursuit of profit and power" by Joel Bakan

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Analysis and own opinion on: Chapter 3 "The Externalizing Machine" of "The Corporation, the pathological pursuit of profit and power" by Joel Bakan Sociology 1010 February 21, 2006 In todays mostly capitalistic world people who are consumers think that they have power to decide what products to purchase; people who are stockholders are only interested in the profit; people who run corporations make that profit regardless of the price others have to pay; and people who live in developing countries work for 3c per hour making brand name cloths which then are sold for $20, $60, $100, $200, $500, making at the same time the corporation's profit skyrocketing. It is widely known that there are sweatshops in developing countries, where people are treated like slaves but practically they are not slaves because they always can walk off the job. It is known that in such countries there is exploitation of child labor, but practically what can a citizen of other country do to help if they have enough their own problems. It is also known that work conditions in such 'factories' are horrible, but what one can do if those companies offer lower prices. Is it fair towards society as a whole that some people are exploited so others can make skyrocketing profits? Is it fair that your TV was partially made by a 6-year-old child? Is it fair that the product you bought harms or even kills you or one of your family member? Is it fair if this does not happen to you but to some other people in some other countries? Is it fair that infants are given harmful baby-formula prohibited in developed countries? ...read more.


The calculation was as follows: 500fatalities x 200,000 per fatality / 41,000,000 = $2.4 per automobile. To make the car safer, it would cost company $8.59 per car. Therefore, it was cheaper not to improve vehicles because GM would save $6.19 per car in production. Armstrong and her children, that had second- and third degree burns resulting from a rear-end accident in 1993 due to the fire caused by unsafe positioning of the gas tank in GM Malibu, were awarded $1.2 billion.(pg63) Two significant orders for GE to pay was �2 billion for asbestos cleanup and related pollution, and $95 million in damages for contamination from dumping of industrial chemicals. (pg75-78) The total GE had to pay for contamination of the environment alone, between 1990 and 2001 was approximatelly $3 000 106 million (over $3 billion); total for violations of safety rules at nuclear fuel plant, for design flow in nuclear plants, for illegal sal of fighter jets, and for overcharging on defense contracts was $300 million. GE was also ordered 14 times to clean up contamination of drinking water (ground water, river, water supply) and soil. The assumptin is that General Electric makes huge amounts of profit, because GE is able to exist on the market even though it was ordered to pay over $3 billion puls the cost of cleaning up contamination. The broader assumption, based on GE example, is that corporations make huge amounts of profit at the cost of environment and human lives and they continue to do so even though they are ordered to pay millions or billions of dollars in fines. Given the information regarding corporations' actions and the impact they have on developing countries, on societies, on environment we all live in, and on individuals, who should care the most and why should we care at all. ...read more.


I am asking how social construction can be helpful in changing the way the corporations are operating, if some people created those harmful corporations how other people can change the way they work.People created corporations and people let them do harm but how those people can now stop corporations in doing harm. 2. My second question is somehow connected to the first one. My point is that if corporations should have only legal obligations towards their stockholders what happens if those stockholders are harmed by the corporation. Shouldn't the corporations include moral obligations towards their stockholders? We all know that corporations have a legal obligation towards stockholders to make profit but how we should reason if that stockholder buys defected product produced by this company and harms himslef. For instance, the case of Armstrong whose car exploted becase of deliberatly unsafe positioning of the gas tank, what happens if Armstrong was also a stockholder of GM or maybe a manager at one of the GM's plants? How it would work then? If we argue that moral obligations and legal obligations are equally important towards stockholders, the answer would be easier regarding whether the corporations should be morally responsible towards the societies. My point is that if corporations should be morally responsible towards their stockholders they would not launch unsafe products because there would be a possibility that one of the stockholders could buy it. Therefore, if corporations would keep in mind their stockholders safety they would not pollute the environment as much, or they would not sell unsafe products. Furthermore, other people would be safe, because all corporations have stockholders, and if those corporations would have a moral obligations not to harm their stockholders they would not harm other people either, simply by not letting unsafe products go on the market or by not polluting the environment the stockholders live in. ...read more.

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