So today I want to discuss business, and its role in modern society. I recently got an email from a company I’ve done business with in the past and they updated me with a recent achievement of theirs, in which they received an award for doing exceptional business in the community. I was pleased to see this because one I believe they deserve it, and two I like that people are acknowledging good ethical businesses. The company which you can check out at phoenixwaterdamage.org is in the restoration business, and typically these businesses are not seen as the most ethical. Because sometimes these companies will recommend services that are not necessarily needed, but the companies are interested in squeezing as much business out of people as they can. This was certainly not the case with this company, in fact they were probably the most upfront company I’ve ever dealt with. Any who, this all got me thinking about acknowledging ethical business on a larger scale, who operate on an international level. Currently there are thousands of transnational companies that operate on a global level, doing billions of dollars in revenue, and are over seen by no one for the most part. A lot of their business is outside the scope of traditional national authorities who govern domestic business, so they operate unaffected for the most part. Though governments have the ability to stifle business and slow it down, there are beneficial aspects of governments that help to maintain ethical business. This topic is too large to cover all of it, but I will address a couple key elements that I believe need some government intervention.
Taxes – One of the most frustrating thing about these large multinational companies is that they often attempt to avoid paying taxes as much as possible. Often times they will create shell companies outside of the united states in places like the Cayman Islands, and other tax havens where they will spend little or nothing on taxes. Those companies that are doing this may believe that they are exploring the best financial options for their company (which they are), however they are acting entirely unethical and I’ll explain why. These multinational companies give little or nothing back to the country that has provided for them so greatly. They give nothing to the tax base of the country, but they use the roads railroads and all other public services that are provided by the tax base, even though they contribute nothing to it. Furthermore they are able to capatalize on the huge consumer base of a country like the united states, who’s consumers pay exponentially more in tax percentage, relative to their income. Although these companies profit millions if not billions, they are responsible to pay nothing to the local tax base, which is millions of unrealized tax dollars for the country where business is being conducted.
Regulations – Regulations are another instance where transnational corporations get away with murder. Since they operate internationally, they are able to leverage the non existent environmental laws of other countries. So they will locate their environmentally hazardous business operations in a country that does not care, like China and dump trash, chemicals and more, as well as build large pollution yielding factories in these countries. This also works to create a false image for these companies who do not reveal the extent of damage their company is causing on the environment.
Labor – Another not so desirable aspect of multinational companies is how they prey on the cheap labor force of other countries. Companies like Nike and Apple have received a lot of bad publicity for the working conditions of their employees over seas. Though many have attempted to justify that these large companies are creating jobs overseas. Often times what happens is that they essentially create slaves out of the local population overseas. They will create housing near the work facility for employees to live, and because there are little to no labor laws, will work the employees 7 days a week. Additionally the salaries are just enough to survive and there is little opportunity to advance because it is general labor, and most workers can be replaced within hours. Many of these companies are in a position where they are preying off third world countries vulnerability, and making matters worse for these countries. Like we have seen with Apple, the working conditions of their cheap labor in China is resulting in rampant suicide.
Corruption – Moreover many multinational companies have been caught in acts of corruption. Typically where they are bribing, paying there way through local laws, and paying to get out of legal trouble. Many of these countries that they operate in have corrupt governments, which makes the task of bribing just another anticipated business expense.
Though there are positive aspects of multinational companies, there is a serious void in ethics and governance. Since there is no one to govern these international business practices, many of these companies are conducting terrible atrocities. If transnational companies had the same ethics as local businesses like the previously discussed restoration company, then the world would be a way better place. I wish that there was some sort of award that could be given to large international companies that would urge local consumers to purchase their product. Because currently we just have the facade of the companies and don’t necessarily know about the integrity of their ethics over seas.
This will certainly be a topic that will receive more attention going forward. Please check back to read more in the future!