Back in 2005, I quoted some words from Alton Brown that he had posted on a previous incarnation of his blog:
Ronald McDonald doesn’t give a damn about you. Neither does that little minx Wendy or any of the other icons of drivethroughdom. And you know what, they’re not supposed to. They’re businesses doing what businesses do. They don’t love you.
Remember these words. Burn them on your mind. They capture an essential truth in the world today — corporations are not working in the interest of their customers; they are working to maximize profits for their shareholders, and increase the wealth of the corporation. This is key to understanding much of what is happening in the world today: why laws are as they are, why protectionism occurs, and why many rally against “big business” (and why I think corporate privacy issues are much worse than government privacy issues, for at least government has laws to answer to). Here are a number of news articles I’ve noticed this week that touch upon this notion of business being only in business for themselves:
- Wired vs. Wireless. An interesting battle is taking place in New Jersey. Verizon, operator of the telephone system there, doesn’t want to replace the traditional land-line (copper or fiber) service destroyed in Hurricane Sandy; instead, they want to replace it with “equivalent” wireless service. They want to do this primarily because of the cost of maintaining the wired infrastructure. They claim the wireless service is equivalent — but it isn’t. It doesn’t support medical device monitoring (polled calling); it doesn’t support DSL or internet services; it doesn’t support facsimile technology; it doesn’t support credit card processing. In other words — it doesn’t provide what some customers need. Still, Verizon is pushing ahead. Look to other telcos to do the same, especially in rural areas where there is no profit in running fiber.
- Dealing with Debt Collectors. Debt collectors are often slimy, doing whatever it takes to get their money… even if what it takes is illegal. This article discusses a good example of that. Basically, debt collectors are stating that it is the burden of the person that supposedly owes the money to provide they do not owe the money. This is a false claim; it is the burden of the debt collector to prove the debt is currently owed — and by citing original documents, not an entry in a database. If you have received such calls, the article provides chapter and verse of the Federal law you can cite.
- What You Eat. You think when you order a particular food, you’re getting that food. Alas, that’s not always true. National Geographic has a nice article on Food Fraud, and how labeling isn’t always correct. Why does this fraud occur? Again, the answer is simple. The labeled food is too expensive, so they foff off something cheaper on the consumer and pocket the profit. This is one reason why many have gone to local eating, and knowing the source for your food.
- Banks Should Be Boring. Elizabeth Warren, together with John McCain, are working to make banks boring. Basically, they are trying to bring back Glass-Steagall and get banks out of the investment banking business. Of course, the big banks are fighting them in order to preserve their profits. These are the same big banks that are fighting against the non-profit tax exempt status of credit unions.