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Study Shows 'Stakeholder Capitalism' Failing to Live Up to Promises as Corporations Continue Putting Profits Over People

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/22/study-shows-stakeholder-capitalism-failing-live-promises-corporations-continue

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Recent studies have also shown that men and women are different, physically; that big things are usually heavier than small ones; and that fish live in water. Except for economists, people were more surprised by those than the capitalism thing.


Stakeholder capitalism? Is that like compassionate conservatism, ownership society, and personal responsibility? A meaningless meme meant to numb any objections by using code words and framing. Who could object to compassion, even though conservatism is all about rugged individualism and refuting compassion. Who could object to the idea of being an “owner” of one’s place in our society, even though it’s an oxymoron.Society means a comity. You don’t have to buy your place in it, or shouldn’t have to. Then there’s personal responsibility. Puleeze…That means saying you’re sorry and then apologizing if you’ve wronged someone. That’s a show of weakness for conservatives, who blame everyone else for their wrongs and shortfalls.
Nope, stakeholder capitalism means the corporations and those who run them own it all, able to exploit everyone and everything because…well, we all have a stake in their making maximum profits regardless of the cost.
Mean what you say and say what you mean!


Gosh, I’m confused: “Corporations Continue Putting Profits Over People”

I thought that the Supreme Court told us that corporations are people. How can this be er, humanly possible?


If a CEO’s corp lost money for several quarters because he was spending too much time, energy, and capital on social issues of any kind, he/she would be tossed out the door without ceremony or remorse.

Corps only speak of these human things that we care about insofar as it impacts positively to their bottom line. If they can use our interests in environmentalism or human rights, or whatever, to market their products to us more effectively then they will use that thing.

BP is not Beyond Petroleum. Exxon is not changing the world with oil produced in tanks of algae. These are mere marketing to the muppets - us.


3 things: the article should mention that “average weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers” was higher in 1964 than in 2020, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics – ~https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031 – and you might look up the recent Rand Corporation study on Income Trends between 1975 and 2018, same story. It says that the average wage income for full-time year-round worker in 2018 was $50,000 but it could have been $92,000. And many other studies. The damning story of no raises after 54 years prompted the corporate heads to issue their implausible and unbelievable reform. And 2) mention Wm Lazonick’s work at ITEP (dot) org, who shows that 90% of corporate profits over maybe a 15 year period went to dividends and stock buybacks. Lazonick won a best of the year award from the Harvard Business Review. and 3) look at the work of Colleen Boyle at In These Times, who showed that in 2018 the Dow Jones Index corporations could have spent the nearly $1 trillion not on buybacks but on employee raises, and all 8 million would have received $46,000 of added wages. But they spent it on – buybacks, of course. What have they done in 2019 and 2020? The short story is that about 52% of workers, over 60 million, work for corporations or large entities employing over 500 people, and many issue stock, and instead of raising pay they pay themselves. My blog Economics without Greed, either part one or part two.


And who is surprised? No one.

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“the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits," which marked the beginning of an era of shareholder primacy.”

LMAO, y’all think that was the beginning of that twisted way of thinking?! C’mon…


Juridicial persons, who speak through their money.

We who speak and breathe through our mouths, are natural persons.

Until and unless we get the likes of Yanis Varoufakis, Michael Hudson, Richard Wolff, and yes I can name more, to help restructure the global political economy, we are screwed. Only when grownups who understand how things work among industry AND people AND the Planet can rehabilitation begin. Naomi Klein, too…


Yep, pretty much all of the above.

“Economists Emily Kawano, former director of the Center for Popular Economics, and Julie Matthaei, co-founder of the U.S. Solidarity Economy Network, argued that profit-maximization is intrinsic to capitalism and the privately owned corporations that characterize it, so even the “stakeholder” variety is incapable of balancing competing objectives like moneymaking with greater equality and sustainability.”

They are correct, probably the easiest “argument” they have had to defend in their careers as economists. The primacy of profit is inherent in the industrial market economy, commonly known as “Capitalism”: He who owns the capital (human-made goods used to produce other goods) owns the goods thus produced, the worker having already received his bare subsistence share. I believe the sainted John Stuart Mill was the last prominent economist (in the mid-19th century, when the field was still called “political economy”) to state that principle explicitly. And even the sainted Adam Smith, a professor of Moral Philosophy, fell under its spell, asserting 75 years earlier that the “common interest” is served only when individuals pursue their own personal interest.

Greed is good.

This is part of a propaganda campaigh to lull people to sleep while the world is stolen. They will wake up freezing outdoors finding that their homes, jobs and even the clothes off their backs have been taken. All that will be left are the bills for the various means by which the stuff was carted away, left where the mailbox used to be, along with an eviction notice to please be off the land by 9:00 am that day.


Why should they care, no consequences for this behavior.


Most people are looking in the wrong direction for answers. We are talking about corporations lining the pockets of its top level executives and shareholders with massive profits. The solution is to create a way that allows average everyday people to become owners and majority shareholders of the corporations that make and sell the products and or services that their money is being spent on. Anyone here smart enough or care enough to engage in a intelligent conversation to figure out how to make this happen?

It is happening all over the place. There are several different processes, but it is becoming fairly common for the owners of a closely held business who wish to retire to sell the enterprise to its employees on a time payment plan. Once that point is reached the business becomes a worker-owned coop. Two example that come to mind are King Arthur Flour and an old publisher of technical books the name of which escapes me. I thought it was Wiley, but that is not correct. There are a lot of details as well as other pathways, but this is just one of myriad ways that ordinary people are creating the future as we go.

That’s a pretty good start! You might add Stephanie Kelton, and old-timer Herman Daly.


Yep, exactly to the point:

If there are no consequences for a behavior, there is no reason to change that behavior

Place an equal number of employee representatives on all corporate boards.

The people who set this system up centuries ago did it so that the owners would be able to evade liability and responsibility for misdeeds and debts. Now they are creating massive costs - for example, endocrine disrupting chemicals threaten human reproduction and cause a huge number of cancers, already taking up a significant amount of GNP to treat. This threat is increasing rapidly.

There are probably at least a dozen different areas where they are quietly creating risks of huge almost insanely high costs which could occur and destroy society. Another is the risk of grid collapse that would occur after a massive “carrington class” solar storm like the one in 1859.

Such a storm will cause massive blackouts if we cant take the power grid offline in time.
Huge costs that they fully intend to dump on all society. In addition that could trigger multiple simultaneous nuclear meltdowns, all around the world, due to a phenomenon called “loss of the ultimate heatsink” . So we really must address that risk, soon. We narrowly missed a solar storm in 2012 that would have caused this loss of power globally had we just been a bit further i our orbit than we were. As it was it hit a space probe that luckily was hit by it and measured it. It was off the charts.

At the same time jobs are going away so quickly that by 2045, according to the IEEE more people in the US will be unemployed than working. Unemployment will be the norm. Actually mass unemployment will likely come much sooner than that because of the unfortunate fact is that treaties now trade jobs like money. Our oligarchs have therefore traded a lot of jobs away and we’re told there is nothing we can do, this is already beginning, and the limitsthatwe had put on it are being challenged. So one day, perhaps quite soon, (as soon as the WTO Dispute Settlement Board has a quorum, it lacks today because Trump has been holding up the Appellate Judge nomination process) we may wake up and find that those limits are gone and our good jobs will start vanishing in large numbers to subcontractors, starting with public jobs in sectors that have been committed. Also we’re likely to resume trying to extend the previous existing treaty with a new one which is like it on steroids. .

Everything having to do with government or tax money at all levels could be impacted, except government itself. Healthcare also may be impacted, allowing Americans to go overseas for healthcare, if its less expensive.

Its clear that the more right wing elements of our business community are happily anticipating this change, it cant come soon enough for them. they say we’re wasting trillions of dollars a year paying wages that are way too high. SOme countries in the Middle East make heavy use of a similar system, where workers are kept in limbo by this disempowered status.

The oligarchies are looking at a dispute thats been brought against the US - accusing us of dragging our feet to delay the process, which we already signed into in the 1990s.

A case which will also be binding against other countries.

They countries bringing this dispute intend to globalize a great many jobs, even if they lose their dispute, which would keep the rate of outsourcing much smaller because with quotas they limit the jobs to the most profitable ones, where job categories are being converted and not just individual jobs.

Eventually, even without this scheme, (which is likely too much to expect, because its in treaty and has already been going on for years ) most Americans wont have jobs because we’re alleged as too expensive, even for jobs here in the US. Also automation is saving lots and lots of labor.

What can we do? leaving is not a viable option as Americans often are prevented from traveling and working, this system may change that if we’re employed by corporatios to work for them, if they get control over the visas as they hope, but the wages may be very low.

Because corporations are legal constructs, designed to remove legal liability from individuals, there can be no moral purposes attributed to corporations. Their only interest is to pursue profit. The pursuit of profit is a "right:; profit cannot be guaranteed. Corporations have no other purpose than to, possibly, profit, or increase their member’s or shareholder’s income. Morality is not in the province of incorporation.

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