Need for a Harmony of Interests
The demand of harmony does not mean that society should abandon its right to limit the exercise of economic power on the part of the corporation.
Economic purpose does not mean that the corporation should be free from social obligations. On the contrary it should be so organized as to fulfill, automatically, its social obligations in the very act of seeking its own self-interest. An individual society based on the corporation can function only if the corporation contributes to social stability and to the achievement of social aims independent of the goodwill or the social consciousness of individual corporation managements.
At the same time, the demand for harmony does not mean that society should abandon its needs and aims and its right to limit the exercise of economic power on the part of the corporation. On the contrary, it is a vital function of ruler ship to set the frame within which institutions and individuals act. But, society must be organized so that there is no temptation to enact, in the name of social stability or social beliefs, measures that are inimical to the survival and stability of its representative institutions.
ACTION POINT: Until early in 2004 many well-know mutual funds permitted large customers to trade funds after the close of business, which gave these large customers the advantage of knowing the sell price at the time of sale, a benefit unavailable to the common shareholder. Send an e-mail to the chairman of a mutual fund in which you own shares and ask for proof that you were not harmed by this practice.
Social Purpose for Society
The absence of a basic social purpose for industrial society constitutes the core of our problem.
We already have given up the belief that economic progress is always and by necessity the highest goal. And once we have given up economic achievement as the highest value and have come to regard it as no more than one goal among many, we have, in effect, given up economic as the socially constructive sphere life. The abandonment of the economic as the socially constructive sphere has gone further. Western society has given up the belief that man is fundamentally Economic Man, that his motives are economic motives, and that his fulfillment lies in economic success and economic rewards.
We have to develop a free and functioning society on the basis of a new concept of man’s nature and the of the purpose and fulfillment of society. A basic ethical concept of social life must be developed. It lies in the philosophical or metaphysical field.
ACTION POINT: Define an organizational purpose that goes beyond next quarter financial results and goes beyond maximization of shareholder wealth. Define a purpose that employees can believe in and challenges them to contribute their best work.
Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.
J. Paul Getty
Burning carbon-based substances like oil, gas, and especially coal, produces billions of tons of extra carbon dioxide each year. Methane gas from cows and pigs and other animals on our large farms ends up in the atmosphere as well, trapping more of the sun’s energy as heat.
There is an urgent need to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, dramatically reduce wasted energy, and significantly shift our power supplies from oil, coal, and natural gas to wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources.
The use of solar energy has not been opened up because the oil industry does not own the sun.
A century ago, petroleum – what we call oil – was just an obscure commodity; today it is almost as vital to human existence as water.
The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai, the biggest factory in the world is in China, the largest oil refinery is in India, the largest investment fund in the world is in Abu Dhabi, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is in Singapore.
In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.
By curious accident of history and geography, the world’s major energy resources are located pretty much in Shiite regions. They’re a minority in the Middle East, but they happen to be where the oil is, right around the northern part of the Gulf.
An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.
While most individuals use the flesh of the coconut in their cooking, coconut water and oil are also known to have numerous health benefits.
The extraction of oil, coal and minerals brought, and still brings, a cost to the environment.
I find Maersk fascinating. It is the Coca-Cola of freight with none of the fame. Its parent company, A. P. Moller-Maersk, is Denmark’s largest company, its sales equal to 20 percent of Denmark’s GDP; its ships use more oil than the entire nation.
When oil and gas prices went up dramatically and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged – directly to the people of Alaska.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
The reality is gas prices should be much more expensive then they are because we’re not incorporating the true damage to the environment and the hidden costs of mining oil and transporting it to the U.S. Whenever you have an unpriced externality, you have a bit of a market failure, to the degree that eternality remains unpriced.
When coal came into the picture, it took about 50 or 60 years to displace timber. Then, crude oil was found, and it took 60, 70 years, and then natural gas. So it takes 100 years or more for some new breakthrough in energy to become the dominant source. Most people have difficulty coming to grips with the sheer enormity of energy consumption.
We have seen what the dependence and addiction to foreign oil has done to us economically.