- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 10/14/20
Something’s broken in corporate America. I’m not suggesting we scrap the system or materially alter the economic and legal framework undergirding our complex economy. But corporations are becoming more powerful and more extra-national than was originally intended. Government struggles to keep up with corporations’ efforts to take profits overseas and not pay U.S. income taxes; internet companies are in control of the dissemination of information and enforcement of basic rules of free speech and decorum; “disrupters” like UBER and Airbnb willfully violate laws in place to protect employees and consumers; and revisions to the tax code that are intended to further corporate hiring, innovation and investment, are instead used to boost executives’ salaries and engage in stock buy-backs.
Add to this that many companies pollute the environment with impunity, continue to sell unhealthy food to unknowing consumers, and engage in lobbying to further their purposes—often in opposition to the common good.
There is a move afoot to suggest that corporations must stop viewing themselves as the slaves to shareholder returns (and executives’ compensation) and begin thinking about employees, consumers, and even the communities in which they do business, as real stakeholders, to whom some duty is owed. The Supreme Court has determined that, for purposes of political speech and campaign finance, corporations are entitled to the same rights as individuals. Ought they not be held responsible for good citizenship, as well?
I stumbled again upon something I had read about a year or so and that’s the movement to elevate the duties of corporations. Here is the “B Corp Declaration of Interdependence.” I haven’t studied it much but think it’s interesting and a step in the right direction. Curious the thoughts of others:
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation - the B Corporation - Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
• That we must be the change we seek in the world.
• That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
• That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
• To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.
The Washington Post had a great article this week on corporate responsibility and trying to clear a reasonable path: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/05/shareholder-capitalism-business-roundtable-esg/
A LOT OF THINGS ARE BUGGING ME…
Maybe it’s just COVID fatigue, but even more things are irritating these days than normal. Here’s a list of irritating things, sent by a friend:
1. Tik Tok videos
2. Jimmy Fallon and his exaggerated giggles, facial expressions, etc.
3. Those who say "like" 4 time in every sentence, like, constantly.
4. Those who say "literally" without having any idea what it means.
5. Political memes...sorry, bumper stickers don't influence me either.
6. Those who can't hold a conversation without looking at their phone every 10 seconds.
7. Those who place an apostrophe after every plural, especially their name (e.g., a return address label that says "The Porter's").
8. Mr. Hairy Arms who sits in the middle seat on a plane, uses both armrests, and then takes off his shoes.
9. Those who engage in loud conversations on their cell phone and then give you a dirty look when they realize you can clearly hear every word they're saying.
10. All things "tech", including constant computer updates, passwords, figuring out how to get on Netflix, etc. I'm a technology illiterate.
MY FAVORITES: When people use the work “literally” when they actually mean “metaphorically.” E.g., “I, like, literally died.” I don’t think so; you’re still here. “It literally took a million years.” I doubt that… Like, you know what I mean?
As to the phone calls in elevators, I had one of these experiences. A woman in the elevator was breaking up with her boyfriend and I heard it all. I wanted to disappear… When she hung up, I didn’t say anything. But she looked at me incredulously, as if I intentionally had insinuated myself in her private life. For heaven’s sake…
ANOTHER QUIRKY BALLPLAYER—ON LSD
Ken Millman reminds us of the great Dock Ellis, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was something of an “outlier,” taking his warmup with curlers in his hair and regularly and openly playing under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The most famous of his games under the influence of LSD was when he pitched a no-hitter against San Diego in 1970. It wasn’t a pretty game (no doubt the drugs had an effect…), with him retiring the side in order only three times. Baseball fans know that no-hitters do not necessarily mean there are no baserunners. Usually, one or two batters will get to first base as the result of a walk or an error. In this game, however, several players made it to second base (unusual in a no hitter), because Dock made no attempt to hold the runner or prevent anyone from stealing base.
Among the Ellis trivia, he was a roommate of Roberto Clemente’s, Bill Mazeroski saved the no-hitter with a “shoestring” diving catch, and Ellis pitched for the National League in the first All-Star Game in which both pitchers were people of color (Vida Blue, of the As, was the other). Mazeroski, everyone will recall, hit the walk-off homer in the seventh inning of the 1960 World Series. He and Clemente were the only players in both the Pirates’ 1960 and 1971 World Series victories.
Have a great day,