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WILL INDUSTRY, ON ITS OWN, DO WHAT IS RIGHT?

 
 
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 08:45 am
Give just one example of how any industry, absent any regulation, or left to its own,without any "watchdoggery" had conducted itself in a societally responsible manner.

I havent been able to think of one.
 
georgeob1
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:10 am
@farmerman,
Define "societally responsible manner". Do you think it possible for reasonable people to disagree on the definition?

An "industry" is, among other things, a large collection of people and associations or entities created by them. Can you cite any large collection of people, not specifically selected for the purpose, that has consistently conducted itself in a virtuous manner without some form of restraint?

I suspect that even a large collection of geologists would include some disagreeable people.

It seems obvious to me that your indictment here is against human nature, and not "industry".
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:23 am
@georgeob1,
Societally responsible manner , is by my definition, "acting , in all manner to
1do no harm

2be a good steward of the planet

3produce products without usury.

Im suer taht there are other examples of components of "societally responsible" but those are just three that popped into my head for purposes of discussion.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:23 am
All I can think of is to the negative. Was listening to a radio program this AM about how General Motors and other companies bought up the electric transportation of cities and closed it down, to make people dependant on fossil fuels. They were convicted of doing this and fined $5,000.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:27 am
@edgarblythe,
The history of Gen Motors, Dupont, Ethyl Corp, and General Tireis replete with purposeful squelching data that showed that tetra-ethyl lead ws actually a product which shortened engine lives and was a health hazard.

The area of my special expertize, mining, is an industry that , without regulation, would have even more m denuded the country and trashed the lives of the workers and villagers surrounding the mines.
Today, coal companies spend lots of lobby moiney to "buy" the legislators votes so that further mine safety laws never see the light of day.


CHINA is an exam[le of how the US and UK were a hundred years ago. Cosider how the Chinese, in their food industries attempts to raise the protein levels of their cattle and human foods, had actually slipped heavy duty Nitrogen compounds into their mixes. Even after they fully understood that such additives were deadly.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:40 am
@farmerman,
AS recently as 1996, several CEO's of major Tobacco companies stood up and swore under oath before congress that they did not know that smoking was dangerous to the smokers health.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 10:08 am
there is no profit in integrity.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 10:26 am
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:
there is no profit in integrity.


That says it all right there. A scene from Pirates of the Caribbean popped into my head--Jack Sparrow says: " . . . you'll have to do it alone, mate--i see no profit in it for me."
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:05 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

Give just one example of how any industry, absent any regulation, or left to its own,without any "watchdoggery" had conducted itself in a societally responsible manner.

I havent been able to think of one.


Humankind has a long LONG history of humans doing violence to humans for reasons considered noble, mandatory, respectable, and/or profitable. Some humans, not all, eventually evolved sufficiently to reason a better way of doing things and, via social contract, have agreed to limit their ability to do violence to others with impunity except within very narrow guidelines.

Our own Constitution is such a social contract.

I agree that you cannot trust all those involved in commerce and industry to do the 'right thing' without sufficient rules and regulations in place to prevent people from doing violence to each other and/or violating the Constitutional, civil, legal, unalienable rights of others with impunity.

I cannot believe there are none conducting business, especially those of certain religious faiths, who do not have a moral and ethical center that prompts them to do the right thing as much as is humanly possible. I have worked for such people. I have also worked for some who I think would have sacrificed their own grandmothers if they thought they could get away with it and make a profit.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:08 am
@farmerman,
Does it have to be an entire industry?
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:12 am
@Foxfyre,
you and jesus are naive.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:15 am
@Rockhead,
We are? I thought we had it figured out pretty well. Would you rephrase your observation if I told you that the folks I worked for who would do the right thing to the best of their ability no matter what were not Christian?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:16 am
@Foxfyre,
they were in big business were they?

we are not talking about your friends here.

or mine.
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:42 am
@Rockhead,
Nope. I was talking about employers. What were you talking about?
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:55 am
@farmerman,
I doubt "industry" as such has the best interest of "society" at heart. Part of what happened with the industrial revolution is that the marketplace became more global and "society" became less about local people and individuals. It continues today on an even grander scale as jobs are sent to the cheapest sources and we end up importing our own goods.

When the shoemaker was living in your town, the shoemaker made sure his customers were satisfied because he had to look across the aisle at them in church, down the bar at them in the saloon, or live next door to them. "Industry" can be unresponsive to society because they represent forces outside of the daily lives of their customers.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:14 pm
I have read that when Las Vegas was owned/operated by the mafia, the mafia went to extreme lengths to insure "the best interests" of the employees and the community because it was good for business but when the mafia was run out of town and major corporations became the owners, "community best interests" fell remarkably. Interesting I think.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  3  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:22 pm
The implicit, but unproven, point in this dialogue is that there is something about "industries" or perhaps profit-making companies that uniquely makes them subject to the evils cited.

However this flies in the face of common sense. In fact we are dealing with the underlying facts of human nature and the behavior of people whose duty or proclaimed objectives conflict with any aspect of their self-interest, however they are organized - as individuals, members of a professional association, a non-profit NGO dedicated to some particular cause, a government bureaucracy, an environmental group, or any other association.

Examples of misfeasance and malfesance among such groups are as common as they are in industry. Indeed in each of the examples farmerman cited there were codependant or coconspiratorial government bureaucracies, labor unions, community groups and many others whose self-interest propelled them to support and augment the denial he cited. Why exempt them from the sweeping condemnation of "industry"?

Do you suppose the virtuously green advocates of "cheap, abundant" wind power have no self-interest in the government and public subsidies and mandates they so assiduously lobby for? Is there any fault to be found in their refusal to acknowledge the fact that their favored option has a real cost about twice that of current sources and has no practical prospect of ever providing more than about 20% of our needs; or their persistent denial that the cheapest large-scale source, nuclear power, is itself renewable in that we have enough fuel for many centuries (even without reprocessing) and that it generates no air emissions and less waste per unit of output than any other source, including wind ?

Given the far-reaching economic consequences of these choices, this is right up there with farmerman's other examples. However, it is less vivid and immediately significant to one who merely reacts without thinking.
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:36 pm
@farmerman,
An example of how an industry, absent any regulation, or left to its own, without any "watchdoggery" has conducted itself in a societally responsible manner?

Space exploration!

Given that space exploration may well represent Man's best chance for a securing a long-term future, I would argue that it is by default "societally responsible".
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 01:13 pm
@georgeob1,
In fairness to Farmerman, however, he didn't omit other factors (trade unions, government, personal self-interest etc.) from the equation, but rather focused on one aspect of the whole.

Each one of the components of free enterprise could provide adequate fodder for lively discussion on its own.

In my opinion the four most compelling factors in keeping industry socially responsible is 1) reputation and image translated to customers and profit, 2) enforceable government regulation, 3) fear of lawsuits, 4) conscience.

But I think you can't apply blanket commendation or condemnation for any industry apart from the individual entities within it. I have run across businesses for which #4 was sufficient to keep them socially responsible and I have run across some who managed to circumvent all four of the components that restrain most people from blatant irresponsible behavior.

How many of us would hold it really close to a suggested speed limit if there was no consequence for going faster?


georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 01:23 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

In fairness to Farmerman, however, he didn't omit other factors (trade unions, government, personal self-interest etc.) from the equation, but rather focused on one aspect of the whole.
He did OMIT the other sources, however, I'll agree that he did not explicitly EXCLUDE them. That's why I noted the omission was implicit. Besides, what's so important about being fair to farmerman?

Foxfyre wrote:

.... How many of us would hold it really close to a suggested speed limit if there was no consequence for going faster?


In short you agree with me.
 

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