imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

A Corporate Lawyer Speaks Out

by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman Thursday, Mar. 28, 2002 at 3:26 PM

"... but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees."

A Corporate Lawyer Speaks Out

By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

Look at the law in each of the fifty U.S. states.

All have a provision similar to that of Maine's section 716: "The directors and officers of a corporation shall

exercise their powers and discharge their duties with a view to the interest of the corporation and of the shareholders."

These laws make it the legal duty of corporate directors and executives to maximize profits for shareholders.

Robert Hinkley would add a simply amendment: "...

but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public safety, the communities in which the corporation operates, or the dignity of employees."

The provision would be enforced by those who suffer at the hands of corporation wrongdoing. And in the case of intentional wrongdoing, by criminal sanction.

For 20 years, Hinkley worked as a corporate securities law expert, many of them as a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, one of the world's largest corporate law firms.

He wants to spend the next few years campaigning for his amendment.

Now Robert, wouldn't your little amendment, if it were enforced aggressively, for starters drive the internal

combustion engine off the market?

"To the extent that auto companies can't find a way to make the internal combustion engine work without emitting pollutants into the air, yes, it would," he says. "I prefer to think that it would spur the auto industry to find a way to make money for its shareholders that doesn't poison their air at the same time. It can be done."

Hinkley wants zero pollution.

He would phase in his amendment over 10 or 15 years.

"We say -- we are going to move from where we are today to no pollution in 10 or 15 years," he says. "And we expect corporations to make progress all the way through."

Isn't your amendment way too broad, and vague -- "Not at the expense of the environment, the dignity of employees, the public safety?" Your former colleagues at Skadden Arps are going to have a field day with this.

Not at all, he says.

The securities laws operate largely on the basis of companies being prohibited from making "false and misleading statements."

"By not spelling this out in greater detail, companies are generally more cautious," he says. "When it comes to the public interest, whether it's the integrity of the securities markets or the environment, this is a good thing. I would expect the same results for my amendment."

"The language of the amendment is quite clear," he says. "It says we no longer want corporations to pollute, engage in unsustainable development, violate human rights, put dangerous products into the marketplace -- or leave them there once their danger is understood --

leave our communities in economic ruin by closing

down plants and simply moving away, pay employees less than a living wage."

"Like the Bill of Rights, the language of the code is such that it can change with the culture over time."

Wait a second, Robert.

A corporation is not allowed to profit at the expense of "the dignity of employees"?

The Wall Street Journal editorial writers are going to have a field day. Some employee is going to say -- you are making profits and that's undignified.

"I think a court would tell that employee that maybe he should do something else with his life," Hinkley responds. "There is an old maxim that the law does not deal with trivialities. I think that maxim would be applied in this case. Dignity is one of those words like pornography. In the words of the Supreme Court 'I know it when I see it.' An employee's dignity is violated when she isn't paid a living wage, when her right to bargain collectively is not recognized, when she is forced

to work overtime against her will, and when she

is forced to work in unsafe conditions. I am sure there are others. The amendment will give employees a different status in the corporation from the one they now

have. In addition to being the 'company's most important assets,' they will have to start being treated that way."

But Robert, if you pass this law in Maine, then every major corporation will move to Delaware.

"I once sat next to a republican Delaware legislator at a dinner in New York and he said to me -- 'Bob, that's a great idea. You get it passed in the other 49 states and I'll get it done in Delaware.'"

Hinkley says that in Maine, there are about 40,000 corporations on the books -- "39,950 of them are small local corporations which don't pollute the environment, which don't violate human rights, which don't endanger the public safety, which treat all five to 10 of their employees with dignity."

"They are good corporate citizens," he says. "It is the big corporations that create the problem. That is where the system takes over. The local guy in downtown Ellsworth, Maine has to walk through the town everyday.

If he messes with the public interest, the local people will not do business with his company and he will be out of business. It is the large public corporations that are creating the problem. If this law is passed, will these other 50 companies pack up and leave Maine? I don't think so. They will see it is the trend."

Hinkley says that his former colleagues would for the most part be opposed to his amendment.

"Corporate lawyers are a peculiar lot," he explains. "We make our living by representing clients that are dedicated solely to the pursuit of their own interests. You have to be careful when you are talking to a

group of people whose job it is to speak for

someone else. Usually they are responding to only what they see to be in their clients' interests, not what is in the public's interest."

But he cites a Business Week/Harris poll which finds that 95 percent of Americans agree with him.

In that poll, 1,100 Americans were asked -- which statement do you agree with more strongly?

The first is -- corporations should only be concerned with maximizing profits for shareholders, and if they do,

everything will be right with the American economy.

The second is -- in addition to being concerned about shareholders, corporations should be concerned about their employees, the communities in which they operate, and sometimes they should sacrifice the interests of shareholders for the benefit of employees and the communities in which they operate.

Ninety-five percent choose the second.



Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based

Multinational Monitor, http://www.essential.org/monitor. They are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999;

http://www.corporatepredators.org).

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman

This article is posted at:

http://lists.essential.org/pipermail/corp-focus/2002/000110.html

___________________________________

Focus on the Corporation is a weekly column written by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman. Please feel free to forward the column to friends or repost the column on other lists. If you would like to post the column on a web site or publish it in print format, we ask that you first contact us (russell@essential.org or rob@essential.org).

Focus on the Corporation is distributed to individuals on the listserve corp-focus@lists.essential.org. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address to corp-focus, go to:



or send an e-mail message to corp-focus-admin@lists.essential.org with your request.

Focus on the Corporation columns are posted at .

Postings on corp-focus are limited to the columns. If you would like to comment on the columns, send a message to russell@nationalpress.org or rob@essential.org.

Report this post as:

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy