Questionable ethics, corporate personhood and all that jazz

Questionable ethics, corporate personhood and all that jazz

Cherrylane Cherrylane
So a while back there was some controversy about those trendy flat soled fabric shoes called TOMS where if you buy a pair the company sends a pair of shoes to a needy child in developing nations. What had happened was the founder spoke at an event for Focus On The Family, one of those right wing uber evangelical advocacy groups that tend to spend most of their time fighting for "traditional american family values" and railing against things like comprehensive sex education and equal rights for homosexuals etc. The founder apologized and said his company hadn't properly vetted the organization and "didn't know the extent of their beliefs" before committing to speak at their event. Apology considered, and despite the humanitarian effort, I still feel uneasy about giving money to the brand.

For me, it's hard to separate disagreeing with a company on issues that may not even be related to the actual company. The TOMS shenanigan was quite insignificant in comparison to how some larger brands throw their financial weight behind certain social and political issues, but it none the less brings the ultimate issue to mind again. I personally, really don't like giving money to companies that do things I feel are "bad," be it using a nasty chemical or ingredient, manufacturing process (child labor in south Asia, for example), or putting lots of money into various PACS.

Do the business and social/political practices of corporations and their top people influence how you view the company or whether you're willing to buy whatever it is they sell? What if a company you thought you LOVED did something you found totally reprehensible?

Furthermore, do you think corporations and organizations (unions included) should have the political sway they do today? They can essentially give as much money as they want to whoever they want for any reason they want, and they don't have to do it transparently. They can run ads, commercials, publications, hold fundraisers, and otherwise spend fortunes campaigning for people in ways that you or I, individually, are not able. Do you think this is something that needs to be changed so that the focus is back on the individuals ie american public, or is it best just to find the organizations and corporations etc that support things you agree with and do what you can to support them?

/ridiculously long post
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Errant Venture Errant Venture
The company had to apologise for talking to Focus On The Family, or did they have to apologise for something that was said at the talk?

If it's just for talking to a group, then I don't much care. They're providing awareness to as many groups as possible, and beliefs aren't contagious, so it doesn't matter who they talk to.

The only time I'm convinced to not by a company's product is if they're into the sweatshop thing, child labour (though realistically that's hard to enforce very much) or incorrect waste disposal or environmental damage from manufacturing.

And, no, I don't think these companies should hold any political sway.
Cherrylane Cherrylane
Originally posted by Errant Venture
The company had to apologise for talking to Focus On The Family, or did they have to apologise for something that was said at the talk?

If it's just for talking to a group, then I don't much care. They're providing awareness to as ...
The problem people had with the talk was that he spoke at one of their fundraising and info events, which essentially means that whether or not the company intended to, it was associating itself and helping raise money for an anti-gay, anti-choice organization, thought to be a blight on what some people consider civil and human rights.

Similarly, microsoft pulled their online store from the Christian Values Network after it was called to their attention that organizations that supported such things, such as Focus on the Family and my personal least favorite the Family Research Council (as a social researcher, they offend me on an academic/occupational level as well), were making money from things purchased through the network. Therefore, the sale of microsoft products was helping to fund organizations that promoted such thinking.

Similarly, there was an attempted gay boycott of Target last Spring due to a 150k contribution to a PAC for socially conservative & anti-gay rights politician in Minnesota.

I understand there's a point at which there are issues bigger than some, such as economic issues etc, particularly to businesses (Target's primary motive may have been elsewhere....) but there's also a point at which I still feel people and corporations should be held accountable for how their policies and ehem, "choices" affect other people.

Also, totally respect the right for social conservatives boycot businesses they feel cater to godless heathen liberals decaying the moral fabric of American society. W/e.
Ghost Ghost
I generally do pretty extensive research on brands before I consider buying from them. My husband and I have committed ourselves to buying mostly handmade goods when we can: clothes, blankets, cosmetics, toiletries, decor, etc. and we support companies that use sustainable packaging and processes for food and other things.

I guess we're stupid hippies.
Rawhide Rawhide
I'm very concerned about the influence of corporations. Corporations aren't people, my friend (here's looking at you, Mitt). They aren't held to the same standards that people are, therefore they don't get the same rights. You can't hold a corporation accountable the same way you can with a person. You can't send a corporation to jail when they break the law, like you can with a person. Sure, they might get a fall guy to send to prison, but the corporation itself runs free. It's not right.
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