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The Model Corporation. Part Six of Six-Part Series. Up Against Ominous Realities

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The model sketched in Parts Two through Five and grounded in the concepts of Part One is rock solid, not in bricks and mortar you'll find anywhere, but in decades of theorizing and research on corporations and government agencies. [1]  

The model prescribes what a corporation would need to look like and do in order to meet the Gold Standard of business, consistently conducting it in a positive manner and consistently producing positive results. It is a tougher standard than it may appear and stands in stark contrast to the real nature of corporations in partnership with the other malefactor of the corpocracy, our government. The corpocracy epitomizes the worst behavior and the worst results.     

But why does a model really matter as long as the corpocracy and its ominous realities are firmly entrenched?

It matters because anything conceivable is possible. Drones, for example, were once conceived somewhere in the dark recesses of the military/industrial/political triumvirate and now they exist and are killing people.

It matters precisely because there are these drones along with all of the other manifestations of the corpocracy that is gradually ruining America and victimizing other nations.

It matters because corporations can be a legitimate and appropriate form of doing some kinds of business. They are not inherently corrupt despite what critics may think. Starting out as a legal piece of paper, corporations grow corrupt in response to temptations and pressures, some self-made but most not. Almost all of the temptations, including the removal of certain external pressures, are part of the government's corporate-welfare policies and oversight negligence.

It matters because capitalism isn't inherently corrupt and socialism isn't the solution we should be seeking. Adam Smith, the putative "father" of capitalism, was a moral philosopher and would have recoiled at the very idea of the corpocracy s form of capitalism. He thought the emerging corporations of his time posed threats emanating from their unlimited life span; unlimited size; unlimited power; and unlimited license. It is the government, prodded by the industries, their corporations, and the wholly repudiated free-market theory and its ideologues, not capitalism per se, that removed those limits.    

This last article in the series starts by showing how a real corporation might reform itself even though that may never happen because of the ominous realities the model is up against. Some of those realities in four industries and the outcomes of confrontations with them will then be reviewed. Next, a few possible scenarios of what might happen if those realities are left to follow their course will be pondered. Finally, a model of confrontation proposed for keeping any of those scenarios from happening will be summarized.

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Voluntary Corporate Reform in Any Industry: From unlikely to necessary?

There is absolutely no inherent reason why a corporation can't reform itself on its own initiative. Corporations are reinventing themselves all the time, just not in the right ways. They could even follow the model in their self-reform and I have written a book detailing exactly how they could do so.[2] I will briefly sketch here how a corporation might start what I call its turn-up (toward the Gold Standard) strategy.  

Let's suppose the corporation's board, not as "warped" as the typical board, fires the CEO and, after an exhaustive search, hires a replacement that is starkly different from the archetype. The new CEO, a renaissance type of person, has integrity, is wise and humble, deliberately shares leadership, and has a liberal-arts education. Is such a person as fictitious as the model? My guess is that there's an approximation out there and that the board would insist the new CEO measure up to the board's expectations.

Next, the board and new CEO commit to using the rest of the model as a template for corporate turn-up, and in so doing, for example, they stop their political-campaign contributions; they steer stock marketing away from speculators; they stop accepting corporate welfare; they stop their exploitation of global resources and markets; they start restructuring the organization into a lowerarchy of self-managed teams; and keep making changes until the whole model is in place and functioning.

There's absolutely no doubt about it, this model is unrealistic as long as the corpocracy exists. But take away corporate welfare, stay-out-of-jail cards and the like and corporations will either adopt the model or flounder and maybe even cease existing.

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An Ominous Reality: The Retail Industry and its Biggest Box Store

Depending on the year recorded, Wal-Mart is either the largest, second, or third largest corporation in total assets and the largest private-sector employer in the U.S. It also has a record of skimping on pay and benefits (most of its two million employees live below the poverty line and rely on social welfare costing taxpayers one and a half billion dollars annually); being sued for sexual discrimination; hiring part-time workers to avoid giving them benefits; illegally strong-arming worker efforts to unionize; and buying from criminally negligent supplier's sweatshops and infernos abroad. Have I missed anything? The cases picked to cite below all involve Wal-Mart because it basically sets the standard with a few exceptions for large retail chains.

1. Strikes and Walkouts. Protests and walk-outs have erupted periodically. AFL-CIO has spent millions of dollars and much energy trying to unionize Wal-Mart's hourly employees.

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Retired organizational psychologist.

Author of The Devil's Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch; America's Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying; and Corporate Reckoning Ahead.

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