by Data Morphosis
demonstrates that women make up just 10.7% of all US company board members. They are best represented at Avon
, where more than half the board is female. Eighteen S&P 500 companies have male directors exclusively. (Via Forbes
, where the article
is adorned with a pink [!] bar graph.)
VC for the people
- "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
Free Money for Everyone
- "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via
) [more inside]
NFL holds Super Bowl in NYC; NYC unimpressed.
While the stadium is technically in New Jersey, it is considered equally if not primarily a New York stadium, and the NFL turned Times Square and Broadway into Super Bowl Boulevard Engineered By GMC.
Visitors can kick a football, watch television, ride a toboggan,
shop, enjoy a free slice of Papa John's pizza, play XBox, take a photo with the oversized Roman numerals 'XLVIII', use relevant Twitter hashtags,
and more. It is not decadent and depraved,
would tend to disagree. The Times discusses less vehement disapproval and disappointment,
while Business Insider wishes ill upon the city. Ticket sales are faltering relative to recent years,
with the new mayor among those skipping out.
Want to get away with not paying taxes but don't have the money to make your own offshore company in the Cayman Islands? Fret not - you can hijack an existing offshore company starting from the low low price of 99 cents! [more inside]
This shift in how companies are governed and raise money is bringing with it a structural change in American capitalism. That should be a matter of great debate. Are these new businesses, with their ability to circumvent rules that apply to conventional public companies, merely adroit exploiters of loopholes for the benefit of a plutocratic few? Or do they reflect the adaptability on which America’s vitality has always been based?
- Rise of the distorporation
- how changes in the way companies are financed and managed is changing the wealth distribution of America.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio
 actually makes a case against austerity
 and for redistribution, but also for money printing
(and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public
investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore
, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)
... [more inside]
Payday lenders target the working poor with quick loans at exorbitant interest rates. When a ballot initiative drive in Missouri threatened this lucrative business, the payday lenders fought back with everything they had
--their money. A ProPublica report
, published yesterday in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch documents the web of secret donations and intimidation that smothered the reform movement.
Game of Brands: The Game of Thrones Houses as Modern Corporations
(Article contains spoilers if you're not up on the end of the current season of the series.) Ads, logos, the whole thing, for such companies as Air Targaeryen, the Lannister Investment Group... [more inside]
Plagued by the realities threatening many retail stores, Sears also faces a unique problem (alternate link): [CEO Eddie] Lampert. Lampert runs Sears like a hedge fund portfolio, with dozens of autonomous businesses competing for his attention and money. An outspoken advocate of free-market economics and fan of the novelist Ayn Rand, he created the model because he expected the invisible hand of the market to drive better results. If the company’s leaders were told to act selfishly, he argued, they would run their divisions in a rational manner, boosting overall performance.
uses stock photography to tell a deranged tale about living the corporate life.
Trade-offs between inequality, productivity, and employment
- "The poor do not employ one another, because the necessities they require are produced and sold so cheaply by the rich. The rich are glad to sell to the poor, as long as the poor can come up with property or debt claims or other forms of insurance to offer as payment..." [more inside]
Chris Hedges interviewed by Bill Moyers
is profound, insightful and inspiring. In one of the most pointed, sweeping and personal public conversations about Chris Hedges' life and work yet, Bill Moyers speaks with the journalist after the release of "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," the book Hedges co-authored with fellow reporter and artist Joe Sacco. The 50-minute conversation is followed by a segment on Sacco, who talks about the thinking and experiences that moved him to become a "comics journalist." Previously
The current system of corporate governance is bunk. Capitalist corporations are on the way to certain extinction. Replete with hierarchies that are exceedingly wasteful of human talent and energies, intertwined with toxic finance, co-dependent with political structures that are losing democratic legitimacy fast, a form of post-capitalist, decentralised corporation will, sooner or later, emerge.
An analysis of the management and organizational style of Valve Software
The most recent issue of Businessweek contains an article about How The Mormon Church Makes Its Billions
. There has been a backlash
, mostly over the cover
Our planet is inhabited by two distinct kinds
of intelligent beings — individual humans and corporate
entities — whose natures and interests are intimately
linked. To co-exist well, we need to ﬁnd ways to deﬁne
the rights and responsibilities of both individual humans
and corporate entities, and to ﬁnd ways to ensure that
corporate entities behave as responsible members of society. (SLAX)
In 2010, the top 500 U.S. corporations
- the Fortune 500 – generated $10.7 trillion in sales, reaped a whopping $702 billion in profits, and employed 24.9 million people around the globe. Historically, when these corporations have invested in the productive capabilities of their American employees, we’ve had lots of well-paid and stable jobs.
That was the case a half century ago.
Chris Hedges: Brace yourself. The American Empire is over. And the descent is going to be horrifying
. Long, incredibly intelligent, insightful and pessimistic discussion of the current state of American politics and society, among other topics. Hedges
is a long-time journalist, author and professor, winner of Pulitzer Prize and Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism for his work at the New York Times. [more inside]
“On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world” — Jack Welch, 2009. As GE’s CEO in the 80s, however, Welch championed corporate focus on shareholder returns. “Converts to the creed”, the Economist summarizes
, “had little time for other ‘stakeholders’: customers, employees, suppliers, society at large and so forth.” What went wrong? Steve Denning describes how such a stance is counterproductive
, creates turmoil in capitalism and fosters an environment in which “CEOs and their top managers have massive incentives to focus most of their attentions on the expectations market, rather than the real job of running the company producing real products and services.”
"You're going nowhere, son. Just you, me ad the walls. So wipe that bloody grin off before it's shot off, and don't slouch. You toe rag. You
bin. Pay attention when I break you. And break you I will, boy. You're in my manor, now."
Buck up! It's Terry Finch's THE REPRISALIZER!
Follow Bob Shuter
, whose mission of reprisal against his brother's killers, their families, associates, progeny and property takes him across the desolate wasteland of 70s Britain, primarily Kent AKA FINCHLAND
. Finch, writer of The Reprisalizer and DRAW!
, the cowboy whose name means death, is soon to be the subject of a major motion picture
from Matthew Holness, creator of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
Smell is our most primitive, least understood sense. Perfume manipulates that sense, reminding us of good times past, and speaking of glamour and sophistication to those who get close
. --- "Perfume", Episode 1: Something Old, Something New
are considered by many to be the essence of Frenchness in a scent. Ancienne école comme attendez!
But the house whose founder/namesake wrote his first formulae in the 19th C. face the challenges of the 21st, including the first non-Family perfumer
, updating a classic
, and the fall of 4th generation family perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain after his openly racist comments on French TV
. We also follow the corporate entity known as Tommy Hilfigger
as it tries to bottle and market the scent of Rock & Roll
to the Drum 'n Bass generation [more inside]
is a wiki site set up by The Center for Media and Democracy which posts and chronicles leaked documents including more than 800 model bills drafted and approved by corporations during ALEC meetings. The documents have been analyzed and marked-up
for clarity. Journalists along with the general public are invited to download the documents and sift through
in order to help map the connections back to their own state legislation and legislators. [more inside]
We have explained that the matching funds provision substantially burdens the speech of privately financed candidates and independent groups. ... We have explained that those burdens cannot be justified by a desire to “level the playing field.”
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down
an Arizona law that provided public funds to candidates who have been outspent by either private funding or independent spending. Link to PDF of full decision. [more inside]
Last Friday, USA Today reported
that two people from PR firm Burson-Marsteller
had been contacting various news outlets and bloggers, pushing a story about how Google's "Social Circle
" gmail feature violates users' privacy. The pitch was made on behalf of an unnamed client that The Daily Beast now confirms
was Facebook. [more inside]
G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.
'General Electric, the nation’s largest corporation, had a very good year in 2010. The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E.
claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.' [more inside]
Will shareholders want to invest in companies that don't have a laser-like focus on profit?"
"In one US state, they've just brought in a new law which protects companies who put social responsibility before making money [companies referred to as "benefit corporations"]. . . . Shareholders can't [sue] if the company takes decisions to, for example, protect the environment or buy locally, even if that hurts the bottom line
" [7:30 BBC audio report]. One way for entrepreneurs to walk the socially responsible walk is to get certification from B Lab
, a non-profit that issues trust marks [the "B Corporation" label] for entire companies, not just individual products
: "The B Corporation legal framework bakes your values into the DNA of the company
so they can better survive new management, new investors or even new ownership." [more inside]
One year after the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
decision, which, overturning over 100 years of precedent, opened a floodgate of corporate money into election campaigns, Virginia Lyons (D-VT), has introduced legislation
(full text of bill not yet available, articles here
) in the Vermont State Senate to amend the United States Constitution to explicitly state that corporations are not
This would overturn the controversial notion of corporate personhood
which was established in the 1800s. Controversial not only for the unequal distribution of rights and responsibilities among humans and corporations, some, like Thom Hartmann
), have claimed that the notion of corporate personhood was established as an intentional misinterpretation
of the decision as recorded by court reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis, former president of the Newburgh & New York Railway Co. [more inside]
Right Wing astroturfing
A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change
, public health
and corporate tax
avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
The latest attempt to mitigate the impact of the Citizens United
decision has failed, with an attempt to pass transparency rules for corporations funding political advertising failing to reach cloture
. Obama comments on this vote in his most recent weekly address
Citizens United v Federal Election Commission
(2010) held that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. [more inside]
Is the United States becoming a third world country? Macleans
thinks so. So does Arianna Huffington
. Chris Hedges talked to Ralph Nader and they figured out who's to blame.
Thank goodness Michael Kinsley has a solution to the problem.
Merchants of Doubt
is a new book that reports how a small group of scientists committed to an extreme free-market ideology have been employed by large corporations over several decades to cast doubt on such different environmental issues as the risks of tobacco smoke, the dangers of DDT, the effectiveness of the Strategic Defence Initiative, the regulation of CFCs, and the causes of global warming. A review
in the Christian Science Monitor calls this "one of the most important books of the year. Exhaustively researched and documented..."
How Karl Rove
, a few corporate millionaires
, and the Citizens United
Supreme Court case will overwhelm American elections and rule the Republican party from the shadows: Rove Rides Again
The myth of shareholder capitalism.
It's commonly believed that a company's primary duty is to maximize shareholder value
. Anything that might reduce the returns to shareholders is questionable, including giving employees good wages and benefits
. According to a recent article
in the Harvard Business Review
, this is a misconception, and corporate management is being taught the wrong lessons based on obsolete
case law. [more inside]
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a corporation's principal place of business is where the executive's work (HQ), not where the company does business.
The practical effect
of this ruling is that it will be harder to sue corporations in state courts, which are often more plaintiff-friendly than federal courts. For example, in this case Hertz employees sued the company in California, where they worked, for unpaid overtime and vacation wages. The company tried to move the case to federal court, but it was returned to state court on the basis that most of the company's business was done in California. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed
. Justice Breyer, writing for the court, reversed. The Court's decision
(pdf format) essentially holds that a company's headquarters is where it is located. [more inside]
The Disposable Worker
- "In contrast with the past, what is good for America's global corporations is no longer necessarily good for the American people." (single-page print version) [more inside]
Ammonia-injected centerfuged fatty trimmings = pink slime + E. Coli.
Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.
"This is an America that has transferred its allegiance to spectacle
, to pseudo-events, that no longer can determine what is real and what is illusion, that confuses how they’re made to feel with knowledge, that confuses propaganda with ideology
, and that’s exceedingly dangerous
. All totalitarian societies are image-based societies, and that’s what our society
The NYT reports
that GE has brokered a deal between MSNBC and Fox News to "reconcile" Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, preventing further criticism of each other or GE. The deal went into effect June 1, the very same day Olbermann declared he was "quarantining" Fox
, avoiding discussion of the channel in the future. Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal.” Glenn Greenwald breaks down the political consequences
of the deal.
"You aren't in as much control as you think you are." Buyology
by Martin Lindstrom. Cigarette Health Warnings Stimulate Smoking. Subconscious Encounters: How Brand Exposure Affects Your Choices
. A sign is anything that can be used to tell a lie. [more inside]