Friday, March 20, 2009

We have met the enemy; and he is us.

There is a great outcry now from the 'people' globally that governments have been letting them down on oh so many ways. Naturally, this outcry of dissatisfaction focuses its hostility on our elected leaders - I suppose the logic of this is that if we replace our leaders, things will change.

Wrong! Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.

Those who are controlling and creating so many of the injustices that 'people' are so infuriated about are not in government - they are in business, BIG business. Big business (define this anyway you like but most certainly include all those corporations involved in globalisation, outsourcing and trans national operations) runs the world. And it is unregulated by 'we the people', whichever people you happen to identify with.

As long as people identify government as the source of the problem and create headlines and chaos towit, the real masters of the universe can operate without transparency and with impunity carrying on the ethic of 'it's just good business' alliances with the more horrid human rights abusers and war-mongering countries of earth. The distraction of our misdirected anger blinds us to what is going on in every continent of the globe, which if brought to center stage, would indeed cause a revolution.

Case in point Eircom of Ireland, biggest communication provider on the island: now has struck a multimillion deal with Israel: Isreal, the country our entire Island protested as it bombed women and children in Gaza like it was shooting fish in a barrel. Yet all of Eircom's customers are Irish.

'Good business', in big business, has no morality, only profit.

You might think this is a bad thing which we can do nothing about. Not so. It is precisely the leverage the 'people' (of Ireland in this case) need to change their government's policies (read multi-national legally pleasant climate established to encouragement foreign investments.)
Profits are derived from one source ultimately: consumers. And we the people are the consumers. This gives us control, if we can only join together and use it.

If even 25% of a corporation's comsumers would boycott its products and services because of practices contrary to the 'will of the people', (such as polluting our environment, or violating human rights standards, or doing business with rogue nations guilty of international war crimes), if 25% would simply keep their money in their pockets, people would rule corporations.

Sounds too simple, doesn't it? And yet the most effective tools are often the simplest. Corporations cannot exist without profits...if they sustain losses, their stock price drops, then the corporation loses. Study business theory for years and you will find no more critical principle for 'good business' practices that this one, used to guide today's corporate strategy. When profits decrease, corporations scramble to find out why. If the why is a boycott, the offending practice will soon be eliminated from their business strategies.

So while the Irish people are busy protesting the government, Eircom quietly signs a contract with Israel. Perhaps this argument for boycott activism is not sufficiently convincing yet.

Here is another dimension. Eircom is now required to hold every text and email (and various other electronic communications) for at least a year, but up to 4 years for every person using its service in Ireland. Any idea how much data storage that is? Will Eircom be building new data retention facilities in Ireland which would provide jobs and stimulus to our economy; Irish people do afterall provide all of Eircoms profits!? Or will it be outsourcing this function to places which cost less?

Outsourced functions employ low wage employees in whichever country they are located. Are lower wage foreign workers likely to treat your electronic personal data with the care and duty you would expect from your government? Who will be able to access all our data and what assurances do we have our information is kept private and safe?

Eircom has an abiding interest in its shareholders only; unfortunately the Irish people are not a priority.

This is but one example of how the corporatocracy dictates how the world runs. If 'we the people' disagree, we will have to demonstrate that if self-regulation does not give business practices some ethic for the good of common consumers, then perhaps some profit shock-therapy will be more persuasive.

If people feel that 'good business' should actually have some 'good' meaning to the benefit of of a civilised world, then people must redefine this term for corporations. This can be accomplished by a boycott of at at least 25% of a company's clients. It is this simple.

Getting a boycott going is actually not all that difficult; only two things are required:
  1. Keep your money in your pocket for products from offending corporations.
  2. Talk about why you are doing this, to neighbours, market owners and write a letter to the corporation itself. Email anyone you can think of.
Yep. That's it. Demonstrations and protests are absolutely necessary; together with a boycott they can be much more effective. For those of you who are Eircom customers and cannot disrupt your service, I recommend withholding payment (25% of clients will do the job) until all questions on data security and Israeli contracts are fully and satisfactorily answered.

If only 1/4 of consumers would implement this simple protest which requires no marching, sign-painting, driving to Dublin and parking, we could change not only the policies of Eircom, but the policies of all multinational corporations.

And it is the corporations controlling our laws, whether that is obvious or not. The movie Network was released in 1976.

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