I realize some recent posts have featured quotations from others, but I hope readers will permit me one more that inspired me, which I heard today on the Matrix, a local radio station broadcasting alternative (usually left-wing) politics. Regardless of ones political bent, the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr are poignant (my emphasis):
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense proﬁts of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, proﬁt motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered …
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the west investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the proﬁts out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, This is not just
While Dr King was speaking of Vietnam, I took these words as particularly relevant in todays business climate, where some brands are used to fool people. Many countries that exploit, for instance, sweat-shop labour are guilty of the above. Materialism has come before humanityand sadly, I have noticed this seep through into everyday life in some industrialized countries.
When human relationships are worth less than ﬁnancial onessomething that I experienced with one of our freelancers when a usually acceptable remedy to a mistake we made was not enoughthen I have to wonder about dealing with her compatriots. But I do not talk of isolated cases: too many companies have been placing proﬁts before humanity, of money before dignityand where will that get them?
They might argue that it gets them a better share price or a return on investment for stock holders, but ﬁnancial arguments hold little sway with me. Because in the 21st century, it has become very hard for the following to occur or work and, therefore, a share price to be sustainable if its increase is gained by improper means:
(a) advertising convinces people to buy something;I believe that there are enough of us, when well informed, who will look at an organization with indignation when we discover, for example, Wal-mart (and others) refusing to sign a pledge to honour the law in Bangladesh which asks companies to pay maternity leave; and that we will vote with our dollar to spend elsewhere.
What is perhaps sad, however, is that Dr King gave his speech 40 years ago, and as a human race we are only just beginning to “get it”. And there are plenty of corporations out there which observe the national holiday in the US, pretending to commemorate the life of a great man, all while going against his very beliefs (universal, one would hope) about human dignity and justice.
Del.icio.us tags: branding | brands | sweat shops | Martin Luther King | proﬁteering | human rights Posted by Jack Yan, 08:08
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