Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Dec 2013 17:47 UTC

The giants of the tech industry are uniting to wage a campaign for sweeping reforms to the National Security Agency.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and AOL are setting aside their business rivalries to demand that Congress and President Obama scale back the government's voracious surveillance.

These companies had little to no qualms about teaming up with the US government back when it was all done in relative secrecy, but now that it's out in the open, they're acting like heroes. This campaign would never have been launched if Snowden hadn't blown the whistle, which means the motive behind this new campaign is money - not morality.

Thread beginning with comment 578337
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
by Novan_Leon on Mon 9th Dec 2013 20:46 UTC
Member since:

Morality is up to personal interpretation. Money is not.

Corporations exist to acquire financial gain, not champion morality. For this purpose, we're supposed to elect people who uphold our ideals of morality and set examples in our own lives. Unfortunately, most people are ignorant or apathetic concerning such topics themselves, so we can't really expect more from the politicians they elect.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Morality?
by Alfman on Tue 10th Dec 2013 06:17 in reply to "Morality?"
Alfman Member since:


"Corporations exist to acquire financial gain, not champion morality."

It's exactly this view that leads to corporations to become abusive while absolving themselves from any responsibility for the social and economic repercussions. "Our actions are not our fault, they're yours".

"How is the US electoral system broken?"

Where to start... We don't often get to vote on our issues directly (like patent reform, or NSA spying, etc), we vote on the politicians (usually from a ridiculously limited set of two parties at that). If I vote for party X, was I casting my vote for education, gun control, abortion, minimum wage, patents, jobs, outsourcing, NSA, taxes, foreign policy, healthcare, corporate responsibility, ...? Mathematically speaking, those twelve dimensions I listed represent at least 4096 distinct viewpoints. Now how does anyone compress all that into a binary vote between two candidates in such a way that anybody knows what the hell we were actually voting for? It's almost entirely meaningless. Even if my candidate wins and does EXACTLY what he promised, it's not necessarily the policies I would have voted for given a choice. You cannot _reasonably_ blame voters for policies we didn't have the opportunity to vote on directly.

Another significant problem with "all/nothing" voting is that voting for your favorite independent politician may statistically be against your interests since your second choice (who has a better chance to win) will loose votes, giving opposing politicians an advantage. For example, the green party might have a 5% vote, the democrats might have a 47% vote, and the republicans might have a 48% vote, so the republicans win. However it's likely that over 50% of voters would have preferred a democrat over republican. So many independents end up voting for politicians who are less suitable in their minds, this phenomenon is called "tactical voting". This happens because we don't use a rank voting system to encourage voters to vote for who they want instead of who they think can win.

"Anyone who blames corporations for the mess we're in is missing the bigger picture. In other countries it may be different, but in the USA corporations only have as much power as the general US population gives them through their own ignorance and apathy. Unfortunately, right now that's the lion's share."

I could agree with you, if and only if corporations were eliminated from direct participation in washington. However as it stands the bonds between corporations and government are simply too great to ignore. They are too influential at all stages of government including campaign funding. We have been asking for campaign reform, but corporations fought back and won with "corporations are people too" and "political donations are protected as freedom of speech". In the meantime we are merely given the illusion of choice at the polls between candidates who are there mostly because they have wealth and connections rather than because they genuinely could represent the people's interests. Candidates who oppose corporatist policies are virtually unelectable since it's the corporations who fund their campaigns.

Is this a bit cynical? Yes it is.
Does it have some semblance of truth? Yes it does.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Morality?
by zima on Tue 10th Dec 2013 23:19 in reply to "RE: Morality?"
zima Member since:

"Tactical voting" is not limited to such scenarios, I did it also in multi-party European country (mostly to force certain coalition - I voted for its smaller potential part, which would not be my first choice).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Morality?
by M.Onty on Tue 10th Dec 2013 19:23 in reply to "Morality?"
M.Onty Member since:

Corporations exist to acquire financial gain, not champion morality.

The essence of a corporation is society allowing people to go into business with a limited personal liability & responsibility. Society allows & promotes this artificial institution because it causes money to move around far more effectively, so it can get to useful places faster.

But it remains an artificial institution to which societies attach various equally artificial stipulations. There is no reason society can't stipulate & expect basic morality from its corporations. In some places it already does, such as with my own business, which a community interest company.

Contrary to popular smartarse legend, Mammon haters on the left & sheckel worshippers on the right, companies do not exist purely to give a return to their shareholders. They exist because their society sees a purpose for them to exist. It is free to adjust that purpose.

Reply Parent Score: 4