Oh look it’s Jack Welch. Former CEO of General Electric, high-profile denier of global warming, business titan revered by 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy. What’s on an industrial gobshite‘s mind today?
It’s True: Corporations Are People
By JACK AND SUZY WELCH
. . Of course corporations are people. What else would they be? Buildings don’t hire people. Buildings don’t design cars that run on electricity or discover DNA-based drug therapies that target cancer cells in ways our parents could never imagine. Buildings don’t show up at a customer’s factory and say, “We won’t leave until we solve your inventory problem.”
Buildings do leak cyanide across Madhya Pradesh, India, killing or permanently disabling 7,000 and injuring half a million. But if you want to blame Union Carbide for it, that’s a good start. Who can you arrest for the 9/11 of Bhopal, incidentally? Nobody. Because a storage facility’s wrists are too big for shackles. Still, the corporation paid out $2,200 for every child they poisoned and choked to death, so everything ended up square and legal. Union Carbide was consumed by Dow Chemical soon after, and a share of Dow stock was worth $29.71 at the close of trade yesterday. Time marches on, just like these lifeless entities that transcend fairness, jail and death.
Corporations are people working together toward a shared goal, just as hospitals, schools, farms, restaurants, ballparks and museums are. Yes, the people who invest in, manage and work for corporations are there to make a profit. . .
But most individuals working in corporations are regular people, people just like you and your friends and neighbors. People who want to make a living and want to make a difference.
Here’s the genius of Welch at work. Corporations have people in them, therefore they are people. This is disastrously wrong. Corporations have some features of the lives of American individuals, but they are not individuals per se.
It is well known that people make critical decisions based upon their essential nature: they are stuck with suffering. They are short-lived and they are dying. And everyone they know and love suffers the same way. Life’s pains and limitations are influential bargains. If the CEO of Union Carbide, or maybe the safety manager alone, had known they could be put in jail, to suffer, to be institutionally raped and then die, they’d have given the storage of cyanide the respect it richly deserved.
And while they’re doing that, people in corporations do indeed love and cry and dance. If you don’t know that, you’ve never been part of a team that has pulled together over coffee and late nights and shouting and laughing and created something amazing to hit a deadline. . .
Ever seen a flagellated bacterium under a microscope? Now that’s dancing. Still not people. Other entities that display life-like behavior without being American citizens? Ebola virus. Bacterial plague. Computer scams.
To further mock the corporate argument, consider all the people that, say, work at a Koch brothers subsidiary. How does it express the employees’ political speech when the CEO alone can donate the millions in profits they created? It doesn’t. What if they don’t like Karl Rove? Then they’re roundly screwed. And Domino’s Pizza? What if you like the taste of their pepperoni? Why should they be able to turn hungry folks’ money into anti-abortion TV advertisements by the hundreds or thousands? They shouldn’t. There’s a pretty good case to be made that vast money-multiplying entities are powerful parasites of the body politic. The Founding Fathers knew exactly what corporations were, but they chose to build a new political system centered around the concerns of the individual: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
. . this movement afoot that hates on business is craziness. It will destroy America as we know it because very few jobs get created in an environment that’s outright hostile to business. And without jobs, the whole thing falls down. It becomes a welfare state. We become a welfare state.
Corporations fail and we die, my the irony. Speaking of parasites, who is Suzy Welch? She’s the latest Mrs. Jack, about 2/3 his age. She’s best known for writing a corporatist manifesto done up in the rah-rah style. It is called “Winning: How To Fuck Jack Welch Right Out Of His Second Marriage And End Up Rich Wife Number Three.”