Posted: Oct 02, 2012 7:51 pm
by Oldskeptic
Just A Theory wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:The ever increasingly obscure nature of scientific knowledge - the fact that people can't see things with their own eyes, and don't have the mental tools to assess scientific findings. It's a problem of education.

It's also a problem of sponsored obfuscation. While free speech is laudable, on many levels our society is set up to allow those with the deepest pockets to have the loudest voice and reach the most people. Those same deep-pocketed individuals and companies have a vested interest in preserving the status quo in terms of current taxation laws, regulatory laws and public attitudes towards the commons. It makes perfect economic sense for them to oppose the dissemination of climate change facts.

Much of this comes from the incorrect narrative that corporate directors (C level employees) have a legal duty to maximise returns for shareholders. I know of no such legislation anywhere but it is a persistent "zombie" lie that keeps popping up every time one tries to address corporate lobbying. The fiduciary duty of C level employees is entirely phrased in the negative. They must not make material misrepresentations/omissions to investors and they must not commit fraud. Maximising shareholder value is a tool for enabling the company's debt issuance and for maximising C level renumeration - oh wait, I think I've answered my own question...

It was not legislated. It is a legal precedent set in the Dodge brothers vs. Henry Ford case settled by the Michigan supreme court in 1919. Ford wanted all his workers to make a descent living and had a plan for this that included putting profit back into expansion and he paid his employees at least five dollars a day.

My ambition is to employ still more men, to spread the benefits of this industrial system to the greatest possible number, to help them build up their lives and their homes. To do this we are putting the greatest share of our profits back in the business. - Henry Ford

The Dodge brothers owned a minority in the company and wanted more dividends payed out. The court decided that the duty of any corporation was to maximize short term profits for stock holders.