News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Corporations not set up to promote ethical behavior

To The Daily: Your June 27 editorial was on target. It is obvious that Delphi used Alabama taxpayers with no intention of keeping its promise of staying in Alabama. Delphi Corp. got what it wanted at the moment, and thumbed its nose with not even a “by-your-leave” upon abandoning its promise.

But actually, that is normal corporate behavior. Although a legal person by court fiat, the corporation is an amoral entity, its only consideration the bottom line. Corporate CEOs are required by law and custom to maximize profits. That is his/her only mandate. To expect moral behavior from a corporation is like waiting for the tooth fairy to materialize.

In the past, before globalization, when our government protected corporations from foreign competition with higher tariffs, corporations thrived in American communities and acted like loyal citizens because it was profitable. Now with globalization (a corporate demand), capital mobility, and the availability of cheap foreign labor, corporations no longer feel it necessary to act like loyal citizens.

Before globalization, corporations migrated internally in our country, always on the lookout for cheaper labor. The Rustbelt in our Northern states is evidence to this phenomenon. Corporations moved from Northern states to the Sunbelt where corporate/state action had more successfully suppressed unionization and kept wages low.

Now, with corporations controlling governments by financing elections, they have an essentially free hand in their pursuit of profit, no matter the consequences to the citizens who pay most of the taxes that support the governments that provide police and military power to protect corporations nationally and abroad.

If we flesh and blood citizens do not demand of our elected officials representation at least equal to what they give those legal Frankensteins called corporations, then democratic government will become an increasingly vague and distant dream.

Wayne Holliday

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