Beyond Apologies: Myth #10: The wealthier the corporations, the better off…they are!

by Debra Efroymson

One day while working at an insurance company, I saw the employees noisily celebrating in the hallways. What was the occasion, I wondered? It turned out that they had figured out an excuse to avoid paying out life insurance to a recent widow.

Decades later I read about an elderly Indian woman who had rolled bidis (small handmade cigarettes) all her life. She explained to a researcher that on days she could not work, she could not eat. Although she had worked for decades for the same company, she was still living hand to mouth, and the company saw no reason to help her.

It would not take long to find long-term employees who, when injured on the job, are fired and offered no compensations. Bangladeshi garment workers were bullied into entering Rana Plaza even when they feared that it would collapse, as it indeed did. Corporations heavily market products that harm us, then claim no responsibility. The list goes on.

There are alternatives. We could shift our own spending from the big corporations to the local businesses: boycott the multinational coffee shop and instead drink tea on the sidewalk; boycott the fast food chains and instead eat fresh, local food. Rather than continue to subsidize the biggest corporations through a range of means (tax holidays, juicy contracts, weakened environmental and safety regulations, and so on), we could push our governments to support small, local, independent businesses. We could also push for stronger regulations on the giant corporations. Less freedom to abuse us would mean more freedom for us to live healthy lives in a clean environment!

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