Thursday, June 30, 2011

Views of a Corporate-Market Centric and his Fine Lines

I was doing some research on multinational corporate executives and while looking for Procter and Gamble´s
situation, found a letter by a critic of excessive executive compensation, but an anti-environmentalist.  How would I reply to him?  Whoo boy....

Will SEC's 'Say on Pay' Rule Do Any Good?

Our resolution would allow a vote by shareholders on executive pay. Although it would be advisory only, it would allow shareholders to have a voice on this issue, so much in the news now.
(Then-P&G CEO A. G.) Lafley is making over $25 million this year. I understand that he could walk away with another $95 million or so, if he were to exercise his stock options. This is too much. It doesn't matter that this is a profitable, well-run company. It doesn't matter that P&G's stock has not plummeted to single digits like so many others in the midst of this crisis.
I am not a socialist. I am not the AFL-CIO. I do want to live in a society where it is possible to become rich. What I am worried about is that Mr. Lafley and other executives are spoiling things for everyone else.
The public company should be viewed a marvelous institution. It allows ordinary people to have a stake in, and benefit from, the operation of an economic behemoth like P&G. But when the disparity between executives and their employees and customers becomes so dramatic, the moral underpinnings of capitalism are undermined.  The result is usually demands for increased state intervention in the economy, the result of which is always a reduction in individual freedom.

...There is another way excessive executive pay hurts shareholders and society in general. I believe it makes executive more susceptible to acquiescence to the demands of anti-business activists. The anti-corporate Left has a new strategy. Instead of seeking to put companies out of business, it now seeks to take them over, or at least their public relations departments.  Do CEOs allow this because these socialists are the natural critics of excessive pay, and they can be bought off by endorsing the Left's pet causes?
If you go to the P&G website, you don't find much about the free enterprise system or defending capitalism, the system that makes possible corporate profits. Instead, you see words like sustainability. When used by the activists who promote it, "sustainability" means that the world is running out of things so therefore the state must be empowered to substitute its decision making for that of the market.
P&G is a member of something called the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Leadership Council. This group is premised on the belief that we should release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, even though carbon dioxide is produced by many natural processes, including our own bodies when we exhale. The big companies who comprise the council impose this agenda on their suppliers, raising their costs.
Of course, the jury is still out on whether carbon causes global warming or even whether global warming is  taking place. The effort by Al Gore and others to monetize the air we breathe may turn out to be the biggest scam in the history of mankind. Time will tell. 31,000 individuals with science degrees have now signed a petition questioning global warming. I wonder if Mr. Lafley consulted with any of these people before P&G signed up for the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Mr. Lafley did put out a press release endorsing the $700 million Wall Street Bailout. He acknowledged that P&G had not been affected by the crisis but expressed concern that its suppliers were. Where was the concern for suppliers when P&G signed up for the Carbon Disclosure Project Supply Chain Leadership Council?
The head of the Carbon Disclosure Project recently called for a new Kyoto-style treaty that would be binding in international law to reduce carbon emissions. Such a treaty would be devastating to our economy, raise the energy costs of P&G, and hurt shareholders.
Of course, if you have already made such vast sums of money you really don't have to worry about lost opportunities for others. But it is not fair.

     OK.  "It is not fair."  I´m in agreement there.  However, how is it that you view lost opportunities for others?  There are limits that the writer is perceiving, in fact.  There is some point, he seems to be perceiving, at which one person´s gain is in fact another´s loss.  The environment is not such a case, he seems to suggest, but the market is.

     Well, this point raises a critical issue, and suggests a key point in human economic psychology: the perception of the continuity between human social relations, market behavior, corporate governance, and ecosystems.  I just received a message from the Organic Consumers Association with information that reveals another level of this kind of problem.  Horizon Organic is linked to member-owned co-op Land O´Lakes by ownership, with both owned by Dean Foods which is establishing collaborative practices with Monsanto.  See below:

Organic Spies Strike Again: Exposing the Shocking Links Between the Biotech Industry and the Organic Trade Association

After the success of "Organic Spies Find Lies," the organic industry's most diligent muckrakers, the Organic Spies, are at it again with a new documentary, this time exposing the connection between Horizon, Dean Foods, Land O' Lakes and Monsanto.
Watch the Video and Take Action
Dean Foods, the largest dairy corporation in the U.S., owns Horizon, the leading organic milk brand, as well as White Wave Silk soy milk which switched from using organic soybeans to so-called "natural" soybeans.
Most of the new GMO alfalfa that will be grown in this country will be used to feed dairy cows producing milk for Dean Foods, who of course already force-feed their factory farm bovines on genetically engineered corn and soybeans.
Monsanto and Forage Genetics' alfalfa represents a major threat to the integrity of organic milk, as GMO alfalfa will inevitably contaminate organic alfalfa fields, but of course Dean Foods/Horizon/White Wave didn't try to stop GMO alfalfa. The same PR flak who lobbies for Dean Foods lobbies for Horizon!
And it gets worse. Dean Foods is the primary marketing agent for Land O' Lakes, a giant dairy, seed, and biotech company which owns Forage Genetics, the co-patent-holder, along with Monsanto, of GMO alfalfa!
Land O' Lakes, is the largest livestock feed seller in the U.S. With almost all soy and corn being GMO, and 98% of soy and 60% of corn being used as animal feed, that makes Land O' Lakes the biggest pusher of Monsanto's GMO crops. Land O' Lakes also sells Monsanto's GMO seeds and Roundup herbicide.
As a dairy processor, Land O' Lakes used to be a competitor of Dean Foods. They went from competitors to partners with a licensing agreement for Dean to process and distribute Land O' Lakes dairy products. Now Land O' Lakes is a Dean Foods brand, along with Horizon, Silk, and International Delight. Dean Foods might as well sell Monsanto-brand milk!
Organic Consumers Association is calling for a boycott of Dean Foods and all of its brands, including Horizon and Silk, to protest GMO alfalfa and all of the other crimes against human health, worker safety, animal rights and the environment caused by Dean's factory farmed dairies.
Watch the video and take action

       This is a challenging issue to breach.  I have been scientifically oriented for a long time.  True to my undergrad degree in Biological Anthropology, I am now applying this interest to the issue of insulated corporate market centric views.  Pepsi, Dell, Cisco, Intel, Google, Whole Foods, HSBC, the US Air Force, and Native Energy are all enterprises investing significantly in green energy.  Think about that.  While several of them also value higher levels of employee ownership than many, examples like Equal Exchange foods, Once Again nut butters, Native Energy, NCB National Co-op Bank, England´s Co-op Bank´s  solar projects, NGO-owned Green Century Mutual Fund´s shareholder activism all show how the local ownership model can be built with an internalized ecological literacy and cost valuation.  Don´t take my word for it.  Look them up.

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