Just like people, companies are becoming more and more vocal about their “views” on the issues of the day. Whether it’s guns, bathrooms, or general social justice issues, we never hear the end of who’s good or bad. People boycott companies and now companies are boycotting governments and other entities based on their opinions. One could assume businesses come together and their executives make these decisions based genuinely on their convictions. They’ll normally be against things like discrimination, slave labor, and the other lame stuff that most everyone dislikes. That being said, what’s the point in them being vocal about it?
Not that it’s always a bad thing, but at the end of the day profit is what drives a business. If people are excited about something, companies also becoming excited about it can bring in business. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win situation? A business and its customers agree on an issue and that can lead to economic stimulation. But what if a company can be a hypocrite just like an individual? It may come as a surprise, but this is often the case.
Walking the Talk
Let’s say you’re a company like Apple. Apple is always speaking out against inequality. Yet, they manufacture in and do business with countries that allow discrimination, population control, and substandard working conditions. Foxconn, one of their major manufacturers, is known for employee suicides. They even have netting around the outside of the building due to so many employees trying to jump off of the roof. Apple executives making millions on overpriced electronics while the people who make the electronics off themselves doesn’t sound like equality, does it?
I don’t want to start a smear campaign against specific companies here, but consider others that are similar to Apple. Many companies are coming out in support of gender and marriage equality. Yet, I bet we’d all be surprised to find out how many of them due business in and with nations that don’t agree. Obviously selling your product to people you don’t agree with is one thing. But having a pride parade in the states while your manufacturers work in nations that will jail or execute you for being gay is clearly another.
Imagine seemingly liberal companies like Apple and Starbucks if they were centered in different parts of the world. Or, different in time periods. Imagine Apple as a company founded in the Third Reich. The CEO would goosestep onto the stage for a presentation in a Nazi party uniform and talk about how their new iPhone can locate hiding Jews. Their logo would be an apple with a fierce looking eagle perched on top of it. That may sound goofy, but my point is simple. Some companies may pretend to stand on their principles. But, if you offer them dirt-cheap labor and a huge profit margin they’ll step right over them.