Thursday, December 17, 2015

#WallStreet & Corporate #SocialResponsibility / #CSR #business #community #America

(updated 12/22/15)
Behaving as if all that matters is profit, as if we are on our own, an island, let me get mine and you get yours, that this is a race of some kind were money is king and lord over our hearts and minds. That is a sorry life. A sad life straight out of William Randolph Hearst’s life as portrayed in Orson Welles’s classic masterpiece film, ‘Citizen Kane.’ 

In a world beholden to growth through monetary profit, as it is for all companies on the stock markets of the world, what messages do we send each other and the community when we make money lord over common sense? How much money is enough? How much financial security shall we shore up for ourselves?

This post is not about taking from the rich and giving to the poor. It is about how we conduct ourselves in relation to others. It is about what we allow to drive us as we seek to live life. Do these ‘drivers’ benefit our hearts and minds, do they benefit the community? Are we not free to live our life as we please as long as we respect the law?

If I had the backing of a mega company and they were interested in getting a sizable return in investment from the product-line the company offers, it would be my duty to effectuate processes that would maximize corporate profits as much as possible. This is raw capitalism. 

But now, herein enter CSR….

Corporate Social Responsibility.

The ends do not justify the means. How we achieve success is more important that achieving ‘success.’ It IS NOT about winning or scoring touch down after touchdown. It IS about doing your best. Would I be doing my best if I was the playing ‘running back’ for a big pharmaceutical company and kicked people out of the way with my cleats as I ran towards the end goal? Can professional football players karate kick each other as part of the rules of engagement? How about if I pay the referee off to make ‘calls’ that benefit my team winning?

If I had a medicine that may have some potential to alleviate and mitigate or cure a disease, is it alright if I jack up the prices on the medicine simply to bring in more profit? What is wrong with making money? This is America. What is wrong with making lots of money? Nothing. If I walk into a candy store and the clerk tells me that all candy bars are now $100 each I can just walk out of the store and go elsewhere. What if though… what if I created a medicine with great potential to alleviate suffering and made the price per pill absurdly high? The price would be way above what it would cost me to make it or make a decent profit. Provided the medicine works, who loses out? What segment of the population is locked out from receiving the medicine? Should I care? I may stand to make millions and down the line after the patent wears off, the pill could be made generically, right? Then everyone who would need it would have access! Wrong.

That is not doing the right thing. That is not corporate social responsibility. That is acting inhumanely. There needs to be a balance.

It is okay to make money and lots of it, yet doing the right thing is more important than getting rich. Will a person like this sleep well at night in the long run? When we try to take advantage of a situation for short-term gain it never pans out well in the long-term.  Somehow we shortchange ourselves from the inside out. What do our actions do to our hearts? We can deceive our minds, yet can we lie to our hearts? We just don't know when we will find ourselves at the short end of the stick and then start hoping that those with the ‘long stick’ practice good corporate social responsibility. 

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