Saturday, February 11, 2006

Evil Doers

I have a new blog called Evil Doers.

This blog was born out of a conversation with an acquaintance of mine I shall call "Pat".

In this conversation I made the hyperbolic claim that "Walmart would gladly render the entire continent of Africa uninhabitable by polluting it with plutonium if this would greatly increase their share holder value". I explained that this wasn't a literal truth (Walmart is not in the plutonium disposal business) but was meant to represent the fact that corporations regularly and knowingly make choices that result in human rights abuses (including torture and murder) and horrific damage to the environment. Pat objected to this characterization of powerful corporations and asked me to back up my claim with specific examples.

Evil Doers is my attempt to provide these specific examples. It is a laborious task to document even a single case with a moderate level of detail so I will add entries to Evil Doers slowly.

Here is a bit more clarification on my viewpoint.
  • large corporations are powerful.
  • The consequence of an entities actions are in proportion to the power they wield. The powerful are capable of both greater good and greater evil than the weak.
  • Powerful entities have a greater ability to insulate themselves from the responsibility of their actions.
The phrase "power corrupts" does not mean that every corporation or person that is placed in a position where they can wield power without accountability will behave badly. What it means is that if you consistently put people in positions where they wield power without being held accountable you are guaranteed that someone will eventually abuse their power. The greater the power and the less the accountability the higher the probability of abuse.

Corporations have a greater tendency to evil than ordinary individuals because large corporations are far more powerful and have greater means to avoid accountability than an ordinary individual. Consequently we must treat large corporations (and other powerful entities) with much greater suspicion that we treat our neighbors.