Profit maximisation, a paradigm shift

I read recently that modern multi national corporations exhibit psychopathic tendencies. Now a psychopath is some body with a chronic mental disorder, more fully described as 

“The study of the psychopath reveals an individual who is incapable of feeling guilt, remorse or empathy for their actions. They are generally cunning, manipulative and know the difference between right and wrong but dismiss it as applying to them.

They are incapable of normal emotions such as love, generally react without considering the consequences of their actions and show extreme egocentric and narcissistic behaviour.”

Now I ask you, honestly, is it possible to apply this to a none person, a corporation? I read recently that it was, and more, that these companies are really psychopathic.

A corporation is a legal entity. It exists. It can own property, hire and fire workers and move its headquarters anywhere in the world. It is predicated (that word again), on one simple aim, profit maximisation. So strong is this motive that it is possible for the owners of a company (the share holders) to take legal action against the officers of the company if the are not motivated by that one simple imperative. Profit Rules! 

Now I have to say that if a person acted solely on that principle, they could well be considered to be a psychopath since being a normal human requires much more than the pursuit of money at all costs. A human lives in a society and is normally part of a family. It is generally considered that this provides great benefits such as security and services. People who choose to live outside society are definitely considered to be somewhat odd in the least, in some cases, dangerous. 

The problem is that this corporate pursuit of money has begun to infect society and this I think is a game changer (or as it is now know, a paradigm shift). Where once we had soldiers, we now have private contractors. Where one we had state/county prisons, we have private correctional facilities. Where once we had police, we have private security guards. And all of these people are working for one reason only, profit maximisation.

I’m a great fence sitter. As my mother used to say, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. so I try to look for the best in people. However, when it comes to this new trend in society, effectively its destruction, I have to say I struggle not to shout from the roof tops “This is a disaster”. Effectively it legitimises psychopathic behaviour and gradually erodes the glue that holds our nations together. Let me quote one example. There are two ways of punishing offenders, custodial (prison) or none custodial, (such as probation, or community service). Now nobody would ever go into the probation service for the high salaries. Normally it is a profession reserved for those that care, and want to do the best they can. Like the police or government administration, it is called a service not a business and the rewards are not just money but security, some element of prestige and status. But now the plan is to make it into a business, so it becomes the probation business. Do I really have to spell it out? (OK, I will) “ This is a disaster”.

For those of you who are sceptical, I would draw your attention to a recent case in which judges took money in exchange for sending juvenile offenders to for-profit youth jails. In 2011, former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella was convicted of accepting bribes for putting juveniles into detention centres operated by the companies PA Child Care and a sister company, Western Pennsylvania Child Care. Ciavarella and another judge, Michael Conahan, are said to have received $2.6 million for their efforts. Clearly honour, prestige and security was not enough for them. Maximisation of profit in action!

Now you might say that the fact they were sent to prison (for an incredible 28 years) destroys my case. On the contrary. The fact that they did it proves to me that the disease is spreading and with further privatisation in the pipe line, only set to get worse.


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