“Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” — The ghost of Jacob Marley to Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Tis the season for holiday wishes from all manner of companies, yes? And, as one character in a TV show pointed out the other night, tis the season for hypocrisy from some.
Think companies run by greedy Scrooges who have lost sight of the idea that “mankind is their business” and instead believe “making money is their business” no matter who they hurt in the process.
Yes, of course companies need to be economically viable and profitable to survive. And many do make a go of it while being good corporate citizens contributing to the common welfare of their employees and to society in general.
But there are many Scrooges in the corporate world who put profits before people.
Exhibit A in the United States: Martin Shkreli of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent. The price of Daraprim went from $13.50 to $750 per pill, hitting people with immune systems weakened by Aids, chemotherapy or pregnancy, reports say.
Exhibit A in Canada: Bell Media. It’s a unit of BCE, which netted more than $700 million in its latest quarter. A month before Christmas, Bell Media laid off more than 300 people from its operations across the country, including such longtime and much-loved on-air personalities as CHOM-FM’s Ronny Mack and Rob Kemp. The particular Scrooges in this case can’t be named because they hide behind their corporate veils. But as if to rub salt into the wounds, one of Bell Media’s TV stations reportedly ran a segment afterward about how hard it is on people who lose their jobs near Christmastime.
No doubt, BCE and its various units will be doing the Season’s Greetings thing. But it’s all hypocrisy to me. Bell Media and BCE get my vote for Corporate Scrooge of the Year in Canada.
How about you? Which company do you feel should win the Scrooge of the Year Award in Canada? How about the United States?