Justifications for corporate actions

Written by Michael Lerner

Corporations traditionally have justified there actions by saying they only try to satisfy the desires of the people.  They argue that markets are supremely democratic and efficiently communicate what people want.  The argument is misleading in three ways.  First, it is misleading because people do not vote on the basis of "one person one vote" but on the basis of "one dollar, one vote."  Second, the argument is misleading because it does not factor in the complex ways in which corporations can use their economic power directly and indirectly to foster needs for their products.  Third, the corporate argument is false because the market has no mechanism for registering desires by a majority that a certain kind of product not be produced, as long as there is a small minority that wishes to purchase it.  Of course, most corporations do not set out to destroy the environment.  Their goal is profit, and environmental consequences are simply irrelevant within their hierarchy of values.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, The Politics of Meaning, pp. 132-3.

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