Sunday, March 13, 2011

Business As Usual

Big Business is at it again.

Koch Industries, currently run by the Koch brothers--the same ones who financed the campaign of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and who are currently financing the gutting of public employee rights there--has organized several "guerrilla internet training" courses. In these courses, Naive, clueless TEA party rubes are taught how to use internet book-selling sites like to increase negative opinion for "liberal" books and increase positive opinion for conservative books. Here's a video:

In other words, this giant, multi-billion dollar corporation, is using its financial resources to create a fake conservative grassroots movement designed to look like a people-powered movement similar to REAL people-powered organizations like Moveon. This faking of grassroots movements is called, appropriately enough, "astroturfing".

The TEA party is entirely a creation of the Koch Brothers. Each one of them has accumulated more money than they could ever possibly spend in 1,000 lifetimes. Both of them are over 70. And yet they aggressively pursue even more wealth by financing movements and campaigns designed to elect politicians that will enact policies that will be friendly to their interests at the expense of others.

I realize that this is by no means the first time in history that wealthy businessmen have sought to control public policy to their benefit. But just because a thing has happened before, that doesn't always make it an example to be followed over and over--and over--again.

I realize that it is tough to behave ethically if you are a business. One thing I learned from my various business ethics courses is that before undertaking any action, a business will always ask three things, in this order:

1) Is it profitable?--No business will ever undertake any action that will cause it to lose money. Not if it wants to stay in business
2) Is it legal?--Even if it isn't, often businesses do not consider that a deal-breaker.

Then, and ONLY then, will the final question be asked:
3) Is it ethical?

That last question is the one that is most often overlooked, if not downright ignored.

And every time it is, it diminishes everyone a little bit more.

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