Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Arrogance of the British Media - A reflection of Western Society

Malala Yousafzai - Victim of the Taliban because she dares to speak up

I was watching the news this evening, and  a particular 
item caught my eye. It is regarding the attack on a 14 year old Pakistani girl called Malala Yousafzai. The girl was shot and badly injured by the Taliban in her village in the valley Swat because she campaigned for the right of girls in to go to school. While this story is horrific in its own right it is not what made an impression on me. Sadly stories of children being the victims of adult wars has become a common news item. What I noticed was the interview done by Cathy Newman of Channel 4 news with former Pakistani High Commissioner for the UK Dr. Maliha Lodhi. In this interview and the report before the interview Channel 4 through the catalyst that is Cathy Newman made a statement that Pakistan is failing in its attempts of getting rid of the Taliban. The suggestion being that the Pakistani government and Military are unable and/or unwilling to get rid of the Taliban threat that “lurks” around the edges of Pakistani society. This struck me as incredibly arrogant and short sighted for reasons that I am about to list, but before I launch into that I would like to point out that I have absolutely nothing against Cathy Newman or her work as a journalist, in fact she along with everyone involved t Channel 4 News are my favourite news team. After all during my time at Brookes Jon Snow was my Chancellor, but to get back to my issue with the statements upon Pakistan’s inability to rid themselves of the Taliban plague.

First and foremost Pakistan is a large country with exceptionally complicated politics, history and geography, containing countless ethnic and religious groups and subgroups. The difficult terrain combined with the complicated allegiances and political instability that such diversity creates produces a perfect petri dish for the growth and multiplication of Taliban terrorists as well as a countless number of place for them to hide and operate out of. The rules of engagement with organisations like the Taliban are not based on conventional warfare, even to my untrained eye it becomes obvious that the Taliban operate a strike and retreat tactics, hiding amongst the population and exploiting every opportunity to cause the maximum amount of damage. No government in the world would be able to fully eradicate such a threat while the fundamental belief that fuels it exists.

My second objection is to the implication that the West is doing a better job when in fact Britain and America have done no better in eliminating the Taliban threat from Afghanistan, and worse they have only fueled and spread that threat further into Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and and Africa. If we are so much better at policing, and our armies are so much better at doing their job why is it that we are incapable of even maintaining decent patrols around our own military basis in these countries and we are losing more and more army personnel every day to suicide bombers and roadside bombs?  What right does it give us to judge a government such as Pakistan when we have achieved nothing but the fueling of hate in our feeble attempts to eradicate terrorism. 

Finally, if the Western world has such superiority on policing and crime management why is it that countries such as Spain and Ireland continue to live in fear and suffer from their own home grown terrorist threats? Do we not on a daily basis turn on our TVs, open our news websites [no one reads papers any more] and see nothing but murder, rape, mayhem and devastation within our own societies. How dare we assume that because we are richer we are more successful in anything? The only thing the West has any true success in is the continued and malicious exploitation of the weaker nations in the world for our own advancement.  

I would like to finish on the following point, one that I have made several times to several people this week.The news, especially the news do not reflect ordinary everyday life, they document and report on extraordinary occurrences that stand out because of their usually shocking and violent nature. Furthermore broadcasters such as Channel 4 gain popularity and success because of the sensationalization of the stories they portray through their news services; they do not give us facts, they give us a point of view on an event that has taken place based on the political leaning of the producers and owners of the TV station. While it is entertaining to watch Jon Snow tell the Prime Minister off over his old person’s railcard, it is wrong and morally questionable to gauge the success or failure of a nation’s infrastructure, be it political, educational, police or otherwise on a single occurrence, or even on a chain of occurrences. I am not saying that Pakistan has a perfect police force and that this was a freak accident on the contrary they have a long way to go, but it is not up to us to judge their success or failures, it is up to the Pakistani citizens and voters. Attacks of this sort happen daily in Pakistan, people die at a frightening rate, yet somehow we only hear about this one case because the girl was already extremely popular due to her courage and ambition.

My thoughts go out to her in the hope that she will recover quickly and be able to return to her family and ambitions. My thoughts also go out to the countless number of ignorant fools who believe they are better than her country men just because they were born in the West and are “protected” by our police force.  

Monday, 17 September 2012


Everything in this world is for sale. The very substances that keep us alive are no longer just basic necessities for survival, they are commodities; to be traded, speculated upon and priced depending on the going rate of the market. Yet no one stops to truly question that. We complain that the value is too high that we cannot afford to expend that much on something, we call it unfair, yet we do not stop to consider the system that is at the centre of any of this.

I have spent a huge amount of time over the last 5-6 months thinking of value. I have just finished my dissertation which attempts at an analysis of a Conservation Convention in rhetoric and practice and the one thing that I always came across was that for something to be considered worth conserving it had to have a value. Not just any value as well, a monetary value. The politicians needed to be able to calculate how much saving a particular plant or animal would costs them. The NGOs also worked on a monetary basis, for them the tiger, the panda the rainforest were priceless therefore the little bit of money that they were asking of you was nothing in comparison to the pricelessness of the subject of their rescue.

So what is value? How do we measure it? I honestly do not know, the Oxford Dictionary defines value as:

  • 1 [mass noun] the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something:your support is of great value
  • the material or monetary worth of something:prints seldom rise in value[count noun]:equipment is included up to a total value of £500
  • the worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it:at £12.50 the book is good value[count noun]: North American: the wine represents a good value for $17.95#

That is all great but how do we decide that something is of importance and that the value we have awarded it is not too high or low? Value is a social concept, an idea, it does not exist outside the socio-economic and cultural boundaries of society, a dog does not understands the idea of value. In non-human nature the closest we can get to value is the amount of energy and nutrients that are required to grow and perhaps the amount of entropy that produces. Therefore the fact that my popping corn has gone from 86p to £1.32 in the space of 6 months has nothing to do with the amount of water, or sun or soil that has gone into growing that corn. It has everything to do however with the economic system that has grown that corn for my consumption. It has everything to do with growing oil prices, which make harvesting, production and transportation costs higher, growing costs of fertilisers as the potash and other nitrogen based fertilisers used for the growth of many grains soars due to depleting reserves and the growing difficulty of extracting them from deeper into the ground.
In fact I am sure that anyone that does any food shopping has noticed their bills increasing at a rapid rate. Now usually logic dictates that if the price has gone up that is because supply cannot meet demand, the commodity in question is in shortage and therefore the price has gone up; Here are some ‘values’ however that shows that this is not true:  the UK alone throws out 6.7 million tons of food a year. That is 6.7 million tons of surplus food, in a world full of over 1 billion starving people and another billion seriously malnourished.  6.7 million tons of food in a nation of 60 million, a nation with a growing obesity crisis AND growing unemployment AND shrinking salaries. That 6.7 million tons is a unit of value which can measure the amount of gluttony, ignorance, self-indulgence and apathy necessary to throw away 6.7m tons of food. We obviously do not know the value of food beyond the price tag at the supermarket. 

This world where value is a social construct we value the wrong things. The media has spent countless tons of paper and ink on printing pictures of famous people going about their day, walking their dogs, buying stuff, walking down red carpets promoting useless faff created for our entertainment consumption. We value our celebrities. There is the new iPhone 5 which by the way is just a thinner taller iPhone 4s that trendy image obsessed fuckwits will buy in its millions further lining the pocket of one of the most hypocritical companies out there. We value our fashion image. 

Before you accuse me of hypocrisy however here is what I value. I have a Samsung Galaxy SII, an HP mini, a Kindle, and a Nintendo DS; I shop at waitrose and read the Environment section of the Guardian [the rest of that hippy paper annoys the hell out of me]. I am fully aware that I am a self righteous liberal dushbag. The thing is while I love my gadgets I know I essentially don’t need them. They are luxuries that I enjoy, however all but my phone have been generous gifts, what I value is not the items themselves but the people that gave them to me. My wonderful friends whom I love dearly and without whom I would have no value at all. I value the moments of beauty and joy that I am able to save with my phone’s camera. I value the free voice conversations with my family who are 2000km away that I can only have because of my laptop, I value the vast library that I can put in my pocket and carry everywhere because of my Kindle. So to all your out there value is what you make of it, don’t value the wrong things.    

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

To my mom - Happy Birthday!

A happy memory with my brother
and mom!

My dear sweet wonderful Mother, Happy Birthday!

On your special day I want to say not just a happy birthday but a big thank you. All my life you have always been there for me, supported me in all my decisions, good and bad. You know when to simply listen and when to give advice, you even know when it is a bad time to say “I told you so!” 

Through all the hard time, through all the heartache, real and imagined you have been my best friend, my confidant, my shoulder to cry on. Thank you! 

Through all the good times, you have laughed with me, celebrating my achievements as though your own, giving me the strength and confidence to continue with all my endeavors. Yours unshakable belief and faith in me has reassured me every step of the way!

I am so proud and blessed to have you! Enjoy your special day! 

I love you, I miss you!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Do I want a career?

I work hard, I have indeed worked hard for a while now, however I work hard because I want things. These days though I am told that one of those things I want is to work even harder and have a successful career.

Career is defined as the progression and success within one’s professional life/occupation requiring special skills and training. Trust me when I say I have plenty of training in certain areas! But why would I want professional success? I bet many of you think it is a stupid question! Having a successful career ensures that I can live well, enjoy the luxuries of life, but more importantly provide for and support my family. I can ensure that my children go to a good school and in turn get the special skills and training to have a career of their own.

Here is the problem though, a career requires an enormous amount of dedication, of both time, effort and energy as well as a gargantuan sacrifice in your personal and social life. Women are expected to strive towards a career just as much as men, it is the benefit of emancipation (or so we are told). Since the Suffragettes and before women alone or together have been fighting for equal rights, pay, and opportunity. Well we are closer now than we were before, in the west at least.

Moving on with the problem...

From an economic and professional point of view having a career is the way forward. From a purely sociological point of view it is a disaster. Imagine this:

A couple get married, both successful professionals, both would like to have a child. Now which one of them to have this child though? Oh no wait, only the woman can have the child, which would mean a career break. I am not saying that a woman cannot have a child AND a career, there are successful career mothers out there, but lets face it they are few and far between in comparison to men in successful job posts. Childbirth is only but a  fraction of that issue, I am aware. This brings me onto my next question. Who raises the children? Mom and Dad are too busy being successful...so our children are raised in the following logic/social environment :

TV - a bunch of half witted fools pump our children’s heads with happy songs about sugary food and drink and plastic toys that they MUST have. Mom and Dad will buy those due to the guilt they experience from not spending time with their children.

Books - replaced by the TV because mom and dad are too busy/ignorant to read to their children and familiarise them with the stories of their own childhood, which were not just entertaining but contain within them ethical and moral lessons about how to function in society so as not to be labeled a sociopath.

Vacations - Gimmicky theme parks full of more merchandise that mom and dad are taking the kids to because they are guilt ridden with the fact that they rarely spent any time with their kids whatsoever. See a theme anyone?

Education - a monotone, drone, one size fits all affair that dulls the brain and attempts to destroy any ability for creative or individual thought. It also can cost a pretty penny if you want it done in institutions that EXCEL in turning your child into a brainless toffyy nosed moron that will get into Harvard, Oxford or Yale and become the career man you dream him to be. (He may also enjoy wearing peoples ears as a necklace due to the lack of any real parental attention, but hey you have a successful career, it comes with a price!)

Future - Dull and uninspiring, possibly littered with some kind of substance abuse due to a lack of real belonging, and a constant need for validation. BUT they will be a successful career person...

Do I want a career? No, categorically not! I want a life, one full of my children’s faces and laughter. One spent growing old with my husband. A life where I have shared my friends’ happiness and they have shared mine. A want to be a successful human being, NOT a successful career person.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Vulnerable and Strong

I confess, that big stupid grin on my face is fake about 80% of the time. My friends, my real friends, they know it, they know of all the troubles that keep me awake at night. This is more a show of gratitude to them than for me. The last three years have been hard and challenging, but a few people in my life have been there every step of the way. They have seen me in my most vulnerable and broken state and given me the strength to get up and finish what I have started, to achieve my goals, and pursue my dreams.

Many believe that being vulnerable is a weakness; showing vulnerability only opens you up for deep pain and loss. I disagree. It is knowing who you can be vulnerable around, trusting them to take care of you at your most fragile and bring you back to your normal self. It is a lesson I have only learned recently and it has rewarded me with the confirmation that the people I love the strongest care about me in return.

You can gain strength from your weakest moments, but only if you allow the people you love and trust to be there and experience them with you. And if you ever find yourself with a friend that needs your support do not let them down, do not think of yourself at such moments, of the inconvenience it may cause, or the things you might miss out on.

This may seem very cheesy to you, but I am having one of my more empathic moments.It was brought on by a friend who in turn is having a very hard time. I feel powerless to help them in ways that would take their pain and troubles away. All I can do is be there and hope that it is enough.  

So to all my friends, you know who you are, I love you, I am there for you and I thank you!

[Especially you mom!]

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Are there any Leaders left

Like everyone with eyes and ears I have been following the different elections in Europe over the last couple of weeks and there is one thing that is very clear: People are Angry! They feel betrayed by their leaders and they are looking for alternatives; and there certainly are alternatives out there for them, but are they really the sort of people that can create the change we feel that we so desperately need. I have to be honest here and say that I have been pretty lost for an answer. I have been looking at all the new movements, all the alternatives and failing to see much difference from one to the next. What am I missing?

Today I was given my missing link. Here I am sat in a Cafe indulging in a coffee and a good conversation when my friend says these simple words: “There are no leaders today, because they have no ideology.” They don't believe in anything? Or at least don’t believe in the promises they are making us, promises that we so hungrily lap up. I know, that is a pretty big statement to make. You look at some of today’s leaders and you think ‘surely Obama, Merkel, even funny man Ed Miliband believe in their policies, and the benefit they will have for society right?’ The thing is I am genuinely not that sure that they do. They exist and function in a system that depends on the exploitation of the masses, the suppression of truth, the destruction of community, identity, belief and hope. A system that is hell bent on turning us into self obsessed little wage-slaves that exist hand to mouth and are blind to life and the beauty of the world we are so eagerly destroying in the name of 'progress'. To believe that such a system is the correct way forward for humanity is pathological. A real leader, a man or woman of conviction, would not be pushing for such a system to continue, a real leader with ideals would stop the cycle of violence, they would not make their people homeless, starve children, cut education budgets, pensions, and healthcare because “If we don't reduce the deficit there will be nothing left for the future.” Our leaders today are the puppets of this system. Manipulated by private interests, greed, and self-importance.    

You are more than welcome to disagree with me, after all that is the beauty of independent thought. Just ask yourself though, do you believe anything that today’s “Leaders” tell you? Do they even look like they believe in the words that are coming out of their mouths? I don’t.  

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Horror of Hate

It has become an everyday occurrence, I turn on the TV and 
there they are, images of children, blackened, bloodied, dead or dying. So many places, so many children, so much hate, such senseless loss. Most people tut, shake their heads, fists, make angry statements. My response is to just shake with disbelief, with pain; seeing the horrors of men’s hate, men’s wars, men’s “justice” I feel such deep sorrow that it drives me to tears and I look away because I cannot bear it.

Watching these images it seems that the more intelligent our weapons become the more violent and barbaric the outcome of their use. Louder still is the shrill wailing of the grieving mothers, the angry threats and curses of the bereaved fathers. And for what? Justice? Freedom? Self-determination? No. Power. Greed. Money. Control. Cowardice! The children dying in Syria for the past year have been dying so that a skinny egotistical selfish little man can retain power. The children dying in Africa for longer than we all care to remember die for the greed of war-lords and transnational corporations looking for a quick profit. The children that died and continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan died for control over oil, over access to routes used to move goods, to move people.

I cannot even begin to imagine the feeling of losing someone as deeply cherished as your own child, especially in a manner so violent, so cruel. I don’t want to imagine it! But I can see that is not the only life lost, with it is extinguished the life of the parents, leaving them empty, angry, vengeful, looking for their own human justice served in the same violent way. Extending a terror so deep it seems endless.

I know that violence is inherent in nature, human and non-human alike. But this is more than just violence, this is a horror perpetrated by man’s hate, itself created by fear, and blind faith in a nation, a God, or one’s self importance.

My intention in writing this is not to make anyone aware, it is not to bring an issue to light, or to make myself feel better, it is to mourn in my own way. It is not just about the way these children died, it is also about how we choose to remember them. For me the poem below is the best way:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grace and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Pondering on Climate Change

Freezing weather in the state of New York

Is the Weather out to get Us?!

It’s a  bizarre sounding question I know, but bear with me a minute here. You see in the world of academia [where I primarily exist these days] there has been this shift of ‘securitization’.The best way to explain what securitization is is by quoting Barry Buzan; making something a security issue means it “is presented as an existential threat, requiring emergency measure and justifying actions outside the normal bounds of political procedure” (Buzan et al, 1998, p. 23). If you or I were labeled a security threat that would mean that all violations to our human rights are acceptable, they can listen to your phone conversation, read your [e-]mail and bust in on you while you are in the shower, arrest you and take you somewhere where not even God himself will find you. How does this relate to the weather you ask? Climate and the way it is changing is being portrayed more and more as a security threat, and after all weather is what you see but climate is what drives is.  

This event is not occurring just in academia. In everyday life the changing climate of our planet is being labeled “dangerous”. It is stages as a threat that needs to be eradicated.But how are we to save mankind for Climate Change? Well I would love to tell you but that is usually a step too far for these beacons of security. All they really do is scream “DANGER, DANGER!”
You don’t believe me? Here is an example:
In a newspaper article Professor Anthony Costello says that:
“Climate change is the biggest threat to human health” that is it a “clear and present danger…that is affecting billions of people!” (The Times Online May 14th 2009, Sam Lister) The article continues in a similar tone telling us how we need to do something now to secure humanity’s future.

Why are we so scared of Climate Change?  

This is why
Property Destruction from Sever Storms in the USA
By this stage our heads are SO full of the fear that this monstrous climate change poses that we will gobble up anything that will be fed to us as a solution. We will buy electric cars, recycle, buy organic products, wear hemp and pray to Gaia in the hope that we are saved! 

Now before you label me a climate change sceptic let me make one point PERFECTLY clear! I am NOT disputing that Climate Change carries huge costs to humanity, the pictures above show that only too strongly. I am also NOT disputing that being more responsible with your consumption of transport and other goods as well as recycling is going to make a change. All those are things that we should all do. I am disputing however the use of a language of fear, crisis, insecurity, and panic. It is hardly going to deal with the problem by making people run for the hills, or buy products labeled “environmentally friendly”! With all due respect to  ALL the professors out there, we need a language of awareness and empathy.

I know what you are thinking, oh god not another one of them hippies that is gonna tell me to go hug everyone and it will all be better. Don’t worry although I am an idealist I am a pessimistic one, it balances it all out that way, although this is gonna get heavy from here on! What I mean is knowing what we are doing, and trying to change it out of pure empathy towards the harm those actions have done. And lets face it:

Our actions have caused: Destitution, Hunger, Shame, Pain, Fear, Loss, and Death.
Sever Famine and Overindulgence

So when I say awareness I mean making people aware of how their actions cause the above, but not just that. Making people aware of the simple facts; not just of the dangers that the changing climate poses to us, but our part is creating this danger. Some ugly truths about the highly consumerist, self-centred individualistic nature of many communities need to come out so that we do not have to see pictures as the ones on the right or underneath. This needs to be done in a way that does not point the finger of blame and try and shame us into action. We need to understand WHY we need to change our actions. And here is where the empathy kicks in.

Sever Flooding

We are all despite our many and wonderful differences the same at the core of us. We generally do not want to see people suffering as the mother and child are above. Even though we have do not know these people we feel a deep sadness and an urge to help in any way we can, we empathise, because despite everything else they are like us. Making us aware of the harm our western culture produces in developing and underdeveloped regions will hopefully make that empathic instinct kick in on a larger scale. It will make us understand that we are literally the cause of those starving and dying children, and as members of mankind we have a responsibility to stop it, now!

Our greed, gluttony, consumerism, selfishness, and most and worst of all apathy is slowly choking the life out of our planet and many of the people on it, and our planet will in turn return the favour.

I am going to start the awareness process with the video below. I dare you to watch it and throw out perfectly good food!

We only have one Earth please look after it!


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Pondering on Tesco Profits

Responsibility but to whom?

Every year there is this big hoo-haa over Tesco profits. Mid April comes and we are showered with figures so huge it makes our eyes water and our palms itch! There is a flurry of people swearing off shopping at Tesco for life only to find themselves back in its shops only a week later due to the sheer convenience, low prices, and vast number of shops. I know I have been appalled by the billions the company makes every year. The red blue and white of its shopping bags along with its slogan of “every little helps” infuriates the general public every April when they see that every little piles up to an alful lot!

This year however the run up to the end of year results is a little bit different. There are no predictions of record profits, rising dividends and super bonuses. Instead miles and miles of printing paper has been used to write of Tesco’s “crisis”! Its falling market share to Asda and Sainsbury's, its falling like-for-like sales quarter upon quarter. This sounds like a real disaster, for Tesco at least! Truth is, they are still making profits though!

Here is the problem, the profits are not growing, in fact they have gone down by 10% on last year. Therefore logic [Tesco logic not mine!] dictates profits slump [by 10%] = Crisis. Correct? No, not really, not if put into context, and if it is over a short period of time. So lets put this “crisis of profits” into context shall we! Tesco finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Inflation and growing price of food production means that it has to pay more money to its suppliers, that comes out of its bottom line. Competition from 4 or 5 other supermarkets means that to attract customers in the hard economic times it needs to keep its prices low - basically absorb the rising food costs and inflation -  that also comes out of its bottom line, making the squeeze of profits come from both above and bellow. This makes sense considering we have hit upon hard times. So why people are panicking is maybe not understandable and clear cut?
This is why... 

Losing 10% of your profit is a rather big deal to some people, with small and medium businesses that can be the difference between paying wages and not paying wages for a period of time; but when you are Tesco, one of the biggest supermarkets in the world, 10% of £3.8bn a year is not really that much, is it? 10% of £3.8bn is £380m and yes that is A LOT even if you are Tesco. Essentially this can make the difference between paying/raising a dividend, or not. In this case it made the difference between Tesco UK CEO Richard Basher keeping his job or not, and according to Tesco CEO Philip Clarke the answer is very much NOT. But don’t weep for poor Mr. Basher his salary up to date should soften the blow somewhat. Plus you never know he might still get a bonus - after all bankers get bonuses for failing, why shouldn’t supermarket executives?! But I digress!

See there is nothing scarier to a CEO than angry shareholders who can force you to give up your cushy job. And if you are not paying them a dividend, or cutting it, or just simply keeping it the same they get VERY angry! Not to mention that a fall on profits, means a fall on share price, means a smaller payout to all.  So a CEO’s job in this situation  is to raise profit year on year, and raise dividend year on year and well the hell with the rest, there is no space for the rest! This raises the question however, should companies such as Tesco which provide a rather important service - food! - be more concerned with their shareholders, than their clients, and their general responsibility towards the public space they occupy? I personally don't think so, but I doubt Tesco give a monkey’s about what I, or you think!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Pondering on Morally Corrupt Companies

I was reading an article by a Goldman Sachs Exec who is leaving the company because he can no longer in clear conscience stay with a company that is so morally corrupt they make Satan seem like a Saint [my words not his!]. As with most things that I read these days it made me wonder what do people who find themselves in that situation do. What would you do if you found yourself working for a morally corrupt company? Or worse a morally corrupt business sector? - Again Banking somehow comes to mind here, but there is also mining, drilling for oil, and tree logging that might fit, not to mention food production!

Now I have worked for some interesting people/companies; my current employer is certainly quirky in terms of corporate culture, but none of them have come across as morally corrupt. The London council I worked for was morally constrained by central government policy that is for sure, but the people leading it were by all standards good people with some decent ideals.   

Normally I would keep these sort of thoughts to myself or share them with my friends - God knows they suffer my opinions on a daily basis and all deserve a Nobel prize for it! I get my feed back from them, but most of them have not even been given the chance to work, dare I say work for a company with low or no ethics! So I thought I would share this pondering in the hope that I might get some insightful responses from the rest of the world.

To explain why I am asking and why I am so interested in this. I am a masters student in international relations as well as being a business media analyst/researcher. The human condition on a global scale is my bread and butter. I read about banks, insurers, credit card companies, mining giants, oil companies and food producing giants which control our lives on a day to day basis. For the last two years as part of my studies as well as part of my job AND everyday life I have come across greed, ruthless profiteering, environmental destruction and the mindless infringement on Human Rights from every single company I encountered. I read about their Corporate Social Responsibility policies, but it is just rhetoric and posturing. Don’t get me wrong I will defend the notion of CSR until I am blue in the face, unfortunately it seems to be nothing more than a notion for the vast majority of these corporations. I also need to say that I am fully aware that there are companies out there with a good CSR record which benefit their stakeholders [different to shareholders!]

But back tomy point. These are the companies a lot of us work for, or aspire to work for. They are teaching us a particular kind of ethics [or lack of!] and as we become accustomed to think of nothing but making money at any cost to our moral selves and call our clients “muppets” because we were never taught to respect, we are going to allow this sort of behavior to creep into our daily lives - I already see it in some people I know - and eventually we will pass it on to our children.  

So what would you do if you worked for a morally corrupt company??

[You can read Greg Smith’s article about why he is leaving GS here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/opinion/why-i-am-leaving-goldman-sachs.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all%3Fsrc%3Dtp&smid=fb-share ]