I had a misconception that the purpose of an American corporation was to provide a service or a product to its customers whether they be the public, other corporations, or the government. Silly me thinking that a paper company was in the business of making paper products or an airline company was in the business of transporting products and people. According to the legal definition of a corporation here in America, the purpose of a corporation is to make as much money as corporately possible and nothing less. What identifies a company is how they choose to make their money. A food company may makes its money by making food products and a steel mill may make its money by producing steel, but all these corporate entities are competing in the same business of making more money than the next company.
One of the ways to make more money is by taking the most advantage at every opportunity and emergency to justify the extra expense of your product or service. A prime example of this corporate philosophy would be the major oil companies like ExxonMobile that are currently using the excuse of war in Iraq to rake in billions of dollars of pure, unadulterated profit. The thought of more conflict in the Middle East, such as the President of the United States, who was and is in the business of making money through the oil industry, making the decision to attack Iran for interfering in the governance of its sovereign neighbor Iraq (conveniently forgetting that the United States interfered first and has created one of the worst catastrophes in human history). The very news that we may attack yet a third country and opening up another front in the war on terror is enough to make the oil that sold for X amount yesterday literally double overnight without so much as an extra dime of production cost. By taking advantage of the fear over another interruption in the flow of oil, the oil company produces obscene profits.
Another way for a corporation to make money is to minimize the cost of providing a product or service. A prime example of this type of corporate immorality for the sake of money is the insurance industry. If people would only learn that insurance companies aren’t in the business to help people protect their financial investments but to give people the false impression that their investments are protected. A man can have an insurance policy for years and never file a single claim. The insurance company does well and all is hunky-dory. Then a hurricane hits. A city is flooded. The man’s house is damaged. The man files a claim and it’s denied because the man didn’t have flood insurance. But the house wasn’t flooded. A tree fell on the structure because the grounded was soaked with water and the wind from the hurricane was blowing so fiercely that it was uprooted. Once the tree fell on the house and opened a hole in the roof it was rain water that damaged the house and not flood water. Doesn’t matter, until it can be proven claim denied. In the meantime, the city seizes and condemns the man’s property because he’s unable to effect repairs. By sticking his head in the sand and ignoring evidence to the contrary the claims adjuster will save the insurance company profits and get a nice bonus at the end of the year for his/her fiscal malfeasance. And incidentally, the man’s insurance rate on his policy goes up for filing a claim that was eventually denied, brilliant manipulation of the situation. The only people in good hands are the investors.
Sometimes the relentless pursuit of profits can backfire on a company. Ford Motor Company finds itself in fiscal trouble because of its concentrated on making profits at the expense of its products. When Ford came out with the first Taurus it was praised as the new standard for automotive design and it collected a great deal of attention for Ford and the rest of its products. But the company rested on its laurels and minimized its investments to keep its products competitive in the market place. Not too long ago the company was out earning its rivals and fulfilling its true role as a profit producer making money hand over fist. But the Mustang, although unique in its execution (and I must confess I’d almost be willing to kill to get my hands on a 2008 Shelby GT500KR version), is only the latest iteration on forty-plus old design that has limited appeal in the marketplace. The Focus is another product that was exceptional in its initial execution but allowed to languish as other companies worked to usurp its lead while Ford focused on maximum profits. Now that the other car companies have eased up on the purse string enough to make products that more people would like to buy, Ford is now saddled with a seriously aging inventory. Who the hell even considers buying a Crown Victoria or Mercury Marquis anymore? I doubt if Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane would want to be caught dead driving one.
A company isn’t going to tell you all they want is your money. Although that’s obvious the company wants to give you the impression that they care about your welfare. And this marketing tool actually works. But despite whatever catchy slogans these corporations select as their marketing phrase they are not in the business of caring anything about people. The drug company isn’t in the business of helping sick people. There isn’t a single drug manufacturer that gives a damn about helping people in need of their products. Why? They wouldn’t make money if they did. Pfizer claims to be working for a healthier world. But I’m sure that they, like any drug company operating in America, actually means is working for a healthier financial bottom line by charging the world maximum prices for pharmaceuticals with marginal effectiveness. The objective of any company is to make money. Making money isn’t done by giving anything away out of the goodness of the corporation’s heart. It is a guarantee that anything a corporation gives away as charity is more than compensated as an over inflated tax write off and/or promotional campaign,
Like money sucking vampires the more we invite corporate America into our lives the more financial exposure we open ourselves to. A lot of companies offer us some wonderful sounding services and products. But those services and products come with big headaches and drawbacks. It’s nice to know that OnStar is always available. But the flip side is that OnStar can be subpoenaed to for all the records it has on your whereabouts. Nextel and Cingular gives us a wide range of mobile phone access. But any usage ten feet outside your zip code will cost you fifty cents a minute. Google is the most complete search engine in the world. But each electronic mail using Google’s Gmail service gets recorded for somebody else’s future reference. Google promises that your privacy is safe, but it’s only safe until it’s not. New Century and other financial services promised low qualifying requirements for mortgage loans. But they’d seriously jack a customer in a New York minute if that customer was late on a payment. Fast food is great for people on the run. But you won’t be able to run for long eating the addictive, cholesterol laden, high sugar, high sodium, high fat, endorphin inducing burgers, fries and tacos. Keep your exposure to a minimum.
Corporations are not our friends and are not for our welfare. They have an agenda to separate as many people as they can from their money. They are not some modern day version of Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving to the poor. If anything, they’re the bizarro world equivalent of Robin Hood taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Bottom line is be careful what corporations you allow into your life.