Tuesday, March 29, 2011

GE is not an individual. GE cannot make individual choices. GE cannot be evil or not evil because it is not human.

As I sat this evening I thought about Kate's comments (the title of this post) and also thought about a discussion I had Saturday with a guy where I jumped on him when he said that we weren't computers (I think we are).

From a sociological perspective, a group has a personality like an individual. And so does a company. They do make choices and they can be evil. Just look at a "hanging party."

Individuals are not all that responsible for their choices. They are conditioned to think and feel in certain ways. They are physiologically wired to behave in certain ways... to be nurturing, to be angry, to be selfish.
So are individuals really free spirits? And if they are not, are companies?

And then there is the question of blaming GE because they made use of existing loopholes in the tax law. Since their promise to stockholders was to make a profit, I'm wondering if they'd be shirking their duties if they didn't take advantage of every loophole. People don't invest in GE because they are going to give their profits away. They want dividends or at least reinvestment.

2 comments:

Kate Freeman said...

Individuals are not all that responsible for their choices. --- Mr. Kim

Are you serious? Let me go stab someone and then tell the cops that I am “physiologically wired to behave” in a stabby way.

From a sociological perspective, a group has a personality like an individual. And so does a company. They do make choices and they can be evil. --- Mr. Kim

Hehe! This coming from the man who argues incessantly that evil doesn’t really exist.

Companies do not make choices. People within the company make choices. One person in a company may decide that it is too costly to maintain the safety fire meant to burn off any escaping deadly gases. Another person in the company may climb the tower and light the safety fire as an act of defiance. These are two radically different decisions within the same company. The company doesn’t make a bad decision. The man who sacrificed the safety mechanisms to save money made a bad decision and not everyone within the company agrees with his decision.

And then there is the question of blaming GE because they made use of existing loopholes in the tax law. --- Mr. Kim

GE didn’t make use of existing loopholes in the tax law. Perhaps it was the CEOs of GE or the accountants at GE or some group of people at GE. GE is a concept. It doesn’t do anything without people. I think the reason I am pointing this out is that by using GE as the noun, it masks the identities of the people actually involved with anything. It’s a dehumanizing abstraction.

People can be held accountable for their choices. You can’t even have a conversation with GE.

I would also like to point out that people who participate in mob behavior (like a hanging party) are in fact individually responsible for the harm they may cause.

Scotty said...

I once had an individual tell me that my company was the tops because of the individuals that work in the stores. I did not argue since he was primarily speaking about me. But, I do think companies take on a personality. It is not exactly the sum total of all the individual personalities of all the folks that work there. But, there is definitely a corporate image and outlook and mode of action which provides a public personality. Now, as far as G.E. goes, I do believe they are a bit schitzo. That company has multiple personalities which have altered and morphed over the years. I remember an image I had of G.E. from when I was a kid. They were working towards bringing the world to a better place. Then, they were bringing "Good Things to Life"...now, they are just running the world the way they think it should be run. They own mass media. They have large contracts with the Military. They control industry to a point that the competition seems to all be stepping into place they way G.E. tells them to. Tax Loop Holes!!! I bet they invented them just like all those appliances. I think if you flip over G.E.and take a look at that ugly underside, you might find a sight that will make you disgusted. That saddens me. I had once believed in the dream....the Jetsons and robots to do my work and flying cars and those modern kitchens....G.E. was going to bring all that to me...what happened?