Microsoft vs the DOJ
The Wars of the Chips
Economics & the Environment
"It's not about progressive human resource
practices or management policies, it's about committed
individuals coming to work every day and creating an atmosphere
of trust, good humor, and responsible risk-taking."- Doug
Burgum, CEO, Microsoft
We often hear people speak
of business integrity. But what exactly does this mean?
Does it mean always acting in the customer's best interest?
Does it mean satisfying your customer to the best of your
ability? Or does it encompass even more than this- simply
telling the truth and being as honest with yourself as your
investors, employees, partners and customers?
It is a tragic fact that the act of telling the truth is a
rare occurrence- and a sad consolation that those who lie
ultimately deceive no one more than themselves. See:
Enron Scandal &
Public Eye on Davos Award: Unique Awards Highlight Corporate
Irresponsibility, 1/29/05, Gustavo Capdevila, Inter Press
To be successful a business must be profitable
and instill long term customer, partner and employee loyalty.
The two are inseparable and are at the core of any effective
business strategy. One creates loyal customers, employees and
partners by providing genuine value and instilling trust
through integrity, hard work, compassion and excellence in every
interaction. Customers, employees and partners are highly
interdependent team members of the business ecosystem and each
must be successful for the whole to succeed. Winning at the
expense of employees, customers or partners is a surefire recipe for failure.
Discriminating against classes of
potential or existing employees or customers on the
basis of age, race, color, sex, religious belief, sexual
orientation, national origin, disability, etc., is not
only morally objectionable, but illegal. Further, once
exposed, such discrimination opens a company up to deserved
consumer ill will and lost profits. The causes of such
discrimination are at the roots of human evil- hatred,
prejudice, psychological repression, delusional and
authoritarian psychologies, displaced aggression, scapegoating, stereotyping, intolerance, racism, greed and
There is no magic formula on how a
business becomes and remains profitable. Good business,
market planning with milestones, benchmarks, strong financial
controls and execution (in accordance with GAAP)
are key. Communicating and sticking to a sound vision and
corporate philosophy is vital. Strong
inter/intra departmental cooperation and trust is
essential. Political power plays erode team spirit, are
destructive and only belie insecurity.
According to Paul Wong, Ph.D., in an article, entitled,"The
Positive Psychology of “Climate Management:"
"The single greatest threat to business success or
organizational health is internal strife, whether it is due to
pretty jealousy, turf-fight or cultural conflict. Internal
strife drains emotional energy, reduces productivity, and
makes the workplace very unpleasant. Money, perks and rewards
as the basis of individual performance may have the
undesirable side effect of creating conflict among workers."
Dr. Wong goes on to write:
"Being political means that
decisions are made and actions are taken on the basis of
power, personality, and connections, whereas being
professional means that decisions and actions are guided by
principles, processes, reasons, and group interests."
"When incompetent and insecure bosses
repeatedly make irrational, stupid decisions that hurt the
company for no other reason than flexing their own muscles, we
can be assured of reduced morale and productivity. When
promoting is based on loyalty to the boss, rather than
competence and contribution, again, job satisfaction and
productivity will decline. That is why in many ways, a highly
political environment is a very unhealthy workplace, where
everyone is walking on eggshells, and no one wants to do
anything that may get them into trouble."
Business changes should be the outgrowth
of a strategic assessment, formulation and execution process.
From the strategic planning process should flow benchmarks,
budgets and value chain analysis- though the process is never
defined by these things. The effects of change should be
anticipated and there should be well defined change and
commitment plans that accompany the strategic statements,
objectives, actions, goals and implementation projects. These
change plans should be designed to preempt resistance to
change and enroll/empower the organization in the
change effort. Without such plans, the effect on morale can be
disastrous, particularly when employees feel their jobs
Leadership intangibles are also
important- "the knack" for making the right decisions at the right time. Hard to quantify, essentially the ability to think at
multiple levels and keep the "big picture" in mind while addressing the
myriad small decisions that ultimately determine success or failure.
Nourishing a healthy company culture by fostering caring,
courage, commitment and community in every interaction with
employees, customers and partners is a sine qua non for
long term success.
Again, according to Dr. Wong:
"...Treating people with
respect and dignity, and doing everything with complete
honesty and integrity are just some of the practices that will
contribute to a positive, meaningful work climate. But to
implement such practices on a daily basis throughout the whole
organization requires a clear vision and complete commitment
from senior management and all employees."
Dr. Wong continues:
"There are right and wrong ways of
creating a positive workplace. Some hierarchical organizations
try to maintain a positive climate by expelling anyone who
dares to question the management and silencing all those who
have real grievances. The message to the workers is, “Just do
what you are told, and don’t ask any questions; if you listen
to us and do a good job, then we will reward you. But if you
question our decisions or policies, then you better get a job
elsewhere, and we don’t care how talented and productive you
and oppressive approach will not succeed in creating a
positive climate, no matter how many “spin doctors” the
management hires for the Human Resource Department, no matter
how many perks they offer to the workers. On the contrary,
this kind of heavy-handed, manipulative approach will only
demoralize the workers and create a climate of fear, distrust,
"The right way of creating a positive
climate is to reinforce practices and attitudes that demonstrate
empowerment, support, openness, trust, and respect for the
individual, unity and professionalism."
Dramatic cost cutting measures are
reactions to poor business management and are often too late.
Corporate merger or alliance, without a sound business and integration
plan may only delay failure. Inadequate marketing efforts
and/or efforts focused in areas that are not core competencies
further hasten failure. Eroding market share (and inability to
capture new market share), difficulty in responding to
increased competition, declining customer satisfaction,
unplanned layoffs, inability to meet or forecast revenue goals, business process
fragmentation, etc. are further harbingers of failure. Failure, like success can become
systemic and after a while it is hard to distinguish cause
from effect. The success of any company is built on one right
decision after another- yet, the personal and professional
integrity at all levels to admit failure and correct
mistakes is crucial- and if absent- will be the company's
Achilles heel. See also:
A.M. Best Company
Insurance-rating & information agency.
American Stock Exchange
Listing of online annual Reports & related
Daily news, information & research tools
for life science professionals & students.
Specialized provider of web-based
products & information services to the
Business publications search engine
CNN Money & Business
News, information, & resources
about the companies that are leading
the path to energy efficiency
& greenhouse gas reduction.
Corporate Financials Online
Automated collection, validation, indexing,
acceptance, & forwarding of submissions
by companies and others who are
required by law to file forms with the U.S.
Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).
International Trade/Import-Export Portal
Gateway to statistics from over 100
U.S. Federal agencies.
The Forbes Group
Comprehensive company, industry, &
Non-profit national membership
organization exposing life-threatening
abuses by transnational corporations &
organizing successful grassroots
campaigns to hold corporations
accountable to consumers &
society at large.
Interfaith Center on
International coalition of faith-based
institutional investors including
denominations, religious communities,
pension funds, healthcare corporations,
foundations & dioceses. As responsible
stewards, they merge social values with
investment decisions, believing they must
achieve more than an acceptable financial
return. Members utilize religious investments
& other resources to change unjust or
harmful corporate policies, working for peace,
economic justice and stewardship
of the Earth.
A computerized data bank containing
& socio-economic data
for 227 countries and areas
of the world.
Ithaca, New York prints its our own money
to reinforce community trading & expand
commerce which is more accountable to
concerns for ecology & social justice.
Provides product, contact & other
information for 1.7 million companies
Present & Future
Monthly magazine devoted primarily
to examining the activities of
multinational companies. The magazine
also covers issues involving labor, the
environment, corporate crime,
multilateral banks & development.
Forum for people with significant
professional and/or research
interests in the field of
San Diego Source
Allows firms to stay abreast of the
proposed & final rules & regulations
issued by the SEC to implement
the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).
Central | AICPA
Accounting Sites Directory
The T Sector
San Diego technology news.
Comprehensive online resource for finding
companies & products manufactured
in North America.
One-stop electronic link to the information
& services government provides for the
State Department Links to
Wall Street Journal
World Trade Organization
Information on over 100 financial products
including mortgages, credit cards, new & used
automobile loans, money market accounts,
certificates of deposit, checking and ATM fees,
home equity loans and online banking fees.
Free research web site providing access
to interactive charts, quotes, industry
analysis, intraday stock screeners
and market news & commentary.
The Gay Financial
About empowering the LGBT community
financially. Dedicated to delivering the
complete range of financial service products
to the Gay & Lesbian market.
Web site for all those who are interested
in socially and environmentally responsible
investing (SRI), consuming (SRC) &
business practices (CSR).
Insurance comparison shopping.
Advisor Public Disclosure
Mutual fund, stock, & variable-insurance
Mutual Funds Central
Calculators for 401(K) planning,
employee stock options, gross pay, etc.
Insight, intelligence & education
for the self-directed trader.
Quicken Financial Network
Market information to entrepreneurial
Stock Research Group
Place for women to research, compare
& manage their personal finances
complemented by an offline component
of corporate sponsored financial seminars.
"Boats of Saintes-Maries," Vincent van
entrepreneur identifies and solves social problems on a large
scale. Just as business entrepreneurs create and transform
whole industries, social entrepreneurs act as the change
agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss in order
to improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches and
advance sustainable solutions that create social value."
"Unlike traditional business entrepreneurs, social
entrepreneurs primarily seek to generate "social value" rather
than profits. And unlike the majority of non-profit
organizations, their work is targeted not only towards
immediate, small-scale effects, but sweeping, long-term
links below from PBS web site: "The New Heroes: What is Social
Supports entrepreneurial approaches to
solving global poverty by providing a blueprint for building
financially sustainable and scalable organizations that
deliver affordable, critical goods and services to the poor.
Develops the profession of social
entrepreneurship around the world by investing in people.
Draper Richards Foundation
Helps people create wide-reaching
social change by providing funding and business mentoring to
individuals and their non-profit organizations.
Sparks social change by identifying,
providing startup grants, supporting, and connecting social
entrepreneurs and their organizations.
Enables individuals and companies to find and support social
and economic development projects around the world.
Improves economic welfare and academic
achievement of children in low-income families by promoting
entrepreneurship-friendly policies and research in
technology and education.
The Schwab Foundation
Supports social entrepreneurship as a
key element to advance societies and address social
Advances systemic change to benefit
communities around the world by investing in, connecting and
celebrating social entrepreneurs. The foundation extends its
Edge, an online resource for the social entrepreneur
In the book,
THE CORPORATION: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and
Power, Joel Bakan, who is an eminent law professor and
legal theorist, contends that the corporation is created by
law to function much like a psychopathic personality whose
destructive behavior, if left unchecked, leads to scandal
and ruin. Bakan backs his premise with the following claims:
-The corporation's legally defined mandate is to pursue
relentlessly and without exception its own economic
self-interest, regardless of the harmful consequences it
might cause to others -- a concept endorsed by no less a
luminary than the Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton
-The corporation's unbridled self-interest victimizes
individuals, society, and, when it goes awry, even
shareholders and can cause corporations to self-destruct, as
recent Wall Street scandals reveal.
-While corporate social responsibility in some instances
does much good, it is often merely a token gesture, serving
to mask the corporation's true character.
-Governments have abdicated much of their control over the
corporation, despite its flawed character, by freeing it
from legal constraints through deregulation and by granting
it ever greater authority over society through
from the Publishers notes for "The Corporation: The
Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power."
The film, "The
Corporation" is based on Bakan's book and provides
powerful examples of how major
corporations have worked against the public interest in the
pursuit of profits- without concern for the environment & the public at large.
See also: Globalization &
Global Economics, Politics &
Can a Business Founded
and Sustained on
Spiritual Values Survive?
Not only will it
survive- bit it will prosper by maintaining a healthy
company culture- one that is progressive, purpose driven,
community oriented and people centered. Indeed, toxic
company cultures lose talented employees. Worship of a high
profit margin is, according to
Peter Drucker, one of the deadly sins in management at a
time of change. One only need look to the devolution of
Enron's corporate culture to
see the consequences of this.
in every interaction with customers, partners and employees,
integrity, hard work, support, openness, trust, and
respect/compassion for the individual/community, unity and
professionalism, sound financial and strategic planning and
execution, are all cornerstones of genuine and lasting
business success. See also, Dr. Paul Wong's article,
"Lessons from the Enron Debacle: Corporate Culture Matters!";
See also: Work Affirmations.
In the Battle....
"In the battle of life, it is not the
critic who counts; nor the one who points out how the strong
person stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done
better. The credit belongs to the person who is actually in
the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,
who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and
again, because there is no effort without error and
shortcoming; who does actually strive to do deeds; who knows
the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends oneself in a
worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of
high achievement; and who at worst, if he or she fails, at
least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare
mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered
by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither
enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight
that knows neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt
Rapid technological change has been a
"godsend" for many companies. The best example of this is in recent years is
Microsoft. On the other hand, companies such as Tandy,
CompuServe, Prodigy and Apple have seen dramatically shrinking market share and are
either becoming short term takeover targets or are being forced
to reengineer their companies and change their product mix and corporate missions. One may
therefore pose the question, "Why the difference?"
The year is 1997 and Intel, Hewlett Packard, Digital, IBM, Motorola,
Microsoft, Apple, Cyrix and AMD are engaged in the first (or second, or third, or fourth-
I forget), great Chip War. Digital is suing Intel for stealing Alpha technology for its
Pentium Pro II and possibly upcoming Deschutes (P6), Williamette and Merced
processors. Intel, for its part, is revoking technology "sharing" agreements
with Digital and may no longer be a stable supplier of chips for Digital's PCs
(understated). Intel's Merced will be a 0.25-micron process, 1.4 GHz, 1.5MB of on-chip
cache P7 class processor. Continued
Microsoft's claim that Internet Explorer is an integral
and integrated component of the Windows OS is certainly valid when one likes at current
incarnations of Internet Explorer and associated components
and applications (Java,
ActiveX, Exchange, Outlook, etc.). Even Netscape's stated or implied direction to
replace all operating system UIs with their "browser" helps bolster the
legitimacy of this claim, as does the increasing use of Sun's under performing cross
platform Java technology. After all, if its a reasonable goal for Netscape/Sun, then
certainly it is understandable that Microsoft would have a similar target (with
however a significantly different ulterior motive). Continued
Economics & the Environment
|"...The idea of an
economy based upon several kinds of ruin may seem a
contradiction in terms, but in fact such an economy is
possible, as we see. It is possible however, on one
implacable condition: the only future good that it assuredly
leads to is that it will destroy itself. And how does it
disguise this outcome from its subjects, its short-term
beneficiaries, and its victims? It does so by false
accounting. It substitutes for the real economy, by which we
build and maintain (or do not maintain) our household, a
symbolic economy of money, which in the long run, because of
the self-interested manipulations of the "controlling
interests," cannot symbolize or account for anything but
itself. And so we have before us the spectacle of
unprecedented "prosperity" and "economic growth" in a land
of degraded farms, forests, ecosystems, and watersheds,
polluted air, failing families, and perishing communities."
"...In default of government protections
against the total economy of the supranational corporations,
people are where they have been many times before: in danger
of losing their economic security and their freedom, both at
once. But at the same time the means of defending themselves
belongs to them in the form of a venerable principle: powers
not exercised by government return to the people. If the
government does not propose to protect the lives,
livelihoods, and freedoms of its people, then the people
must think about protecting themselves.- From,
"The Idea of a Local Economy," by Wendell Berry, Orion
"Most Americans would be shocked to
discover that slavery still exists in the United States. Yet
most of us buy goods made by people who aren’t paid for
their labor–people who are trapped financially, and often
physically. In Nobodies, award-winning journalist John Bowe
exposes the outsourcing, corporate chicanery, immigration
fraud, and sleights of hand that allow forced labor to
continue in the United States while the rest of us notice
nothing but the everyday low price at the checkout counter.
Based on thorough and often dangerous research, exclusive
interviews, and eyewitness accounts, Nobodies takes you
inside three illegal workplaces where employees are
virtually or literally enslaved..."
- Description of book:
"Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of
the New Global Economy," by John Bowe, 9/2007.
Counters corporate-led globalization
through education & activism. Works
to foster democratic control over
corporations by building grassroots
globalization--a diverse movement for
human rights, labor rights & environmental
David Suzuki Foundation
Explores human impacts on the environment,
with an emphasis on finding solutions.
F William Engdahl
Profound and often shocking commentary on
a issues such as oil, GMO, war, financial
International human rights organization
dedicated to promoting social, economic &
environmental justice around the world.
Global Justice Movement
The overall mission of this Global Justice
Movement initiative has been succinctly
summed up by Buckminister Fuller as
follows:" To make the world work for 100%
of humanity in the shortest possible time,
through spontaneous cooperation, without
ecological offense or the disadvantage of
Research objectives are to 1) evaluate the
sustainability of neo-liberal globalism in
the ecological, economic, political &
socio-cultural spheres, 2) map the political
direction of globalism's challengers in their
efforts to re-democratize the locality, the
nation & the international realms and 3)
examine the exciting development of new
ways of thinking about how to better live
together as alternatives to the globalism model.
Politics & the
One can not underestimate the powerful
relationship between environmental issues
and the global economic/political system.
Solutions to our environmental crisis must
stem from systematic changes to this system.
Independent research and media group of
writers, scholars, journalists and activists.
Collective of independent media
organizations & hundreds of journalists
offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage.
Stories come from the hearts & minds of
people on the frontlines of the struggle for
justice against tyranny. Indymedia has grown
into a network of nearly 100 Independent
Media Centers (IMCs) all over the world by
means of a commitment to equality,
decentralization & autonomy.
Local Self Reliance
"A small organization with a track record fo
breaking new ground in promoting sustainable
communities. In 1978 RAIN magazine
described ILSR as an organization that "puts
hard numbers on soft dreams".
Research & educational institution composed
of leading activists, economists, scholars,
& researchers providing analyses & critiques
on the cultural, social, political, &
environmental impacts of economic
Mariposa- Community of
Located in the Napo province in eastern Ecuador,
in a region known as the Oriente, is the small city
of Tena with a population of 22,000. Slightly north
of Tena is the smaller town of Archidona. A short
distance from Archidona is the Comunidad Lushian
Mariposa, home to the
Napo Runa Mamallacta family.
The head of this family is the eighth generation
shaman/healer Don Casimiro. Casimiro's family
includes his wife Margarita & sons Elias & Ramon.
We must preserve those cultures that still have a
connection with land & spirit & wish to preserve their
way of life. Such are the Napo Runa & other indigenous
people of the Amazon. Impinging on their cultures is
the greed of the wealthy elites, petrochemical
companies and perhaps most dangerous- the spiritual
emptiness of a world that has forgotten truth &
replaced it with the marketplace. -
Mobilization for Global Justice
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist,
syndicated columnist and author of the New
York Times & international bestseller,
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster
Type of economy proposed as an alternative
to contemporary capitalism. The underlying
values are equity, solidarity, diversity, &
participatory self management. The main
institutions are workers and consumers councils
utilizing self managed decision making,
balanced job complexes, remuneration
according to effort & sacrifice, &
Provides environmental, human rights, & social
justice organizers with the tools, training, &
support needed to achieve their goals.
Serves low-wage workers nationally & globally,
with a focus on eliminating sweatshop
exploitation in California's garment industry.
Believes that workers should earn a living wage
in a safe, decent work environment, and that
those responsible for the exploitation of
sweatshop workers must be held accountable.
Worldwide fellowship of committed scholar-activists.
Seeks to create & promote international
co-operation in analysing & finding possible
solutions to such global problems as militarism &
conflict, poverty & marginalisation, social injustice
& environmental degradation.
"Citizens' portal on brands & corporations".
You can search for the profile of one of over
9,500 companies in the transnationale data-
base. Profiles list the subsidiaries or parent
companies of the brand, their social &
environmental records, the numbers of jobs
they have cut & their human rights abuses.
Articles from over 2,000 alternative media
sources bringing the reader ideas &
trends emerging in our culture.