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Re: <nettime> draft article on WTO
Ronda Hauben on 15 Sep 2000 05:32:12 -0000


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Re: <nettime> draft article on WTO


 "scotartt" <scot {AT} systemx.autonomous.org> wrote:

>Just a point of order here David. Corporations are created with the
>specific goal of "profit" -- its illegal to run a public company for any
>other (primary) motive. Human values don't enter into the equation. They
>are just a set of factors that affect profitability. So if defying these
>values (I have to point out, legally defying, because corps must obey the
>relevant laws as much as we as indivisuals do) produces better profit .. so
>be it, the corporations act that way.

In the US, there was until 1984 a different kind of corporation,
AT&T was a corporation but one subject to very signficiant regulation.

It had to provide universal access to telephone service, it had to
show that it was doing research to provide the most advanced technology.
It had the rates it charged telephone users strictly regulated.
It was one of the largest corporations in the world at the time
(or so a book about its breakup claims).

So this was a different type of corporation.

And it provided advanced technology that made the US phone system
one of the best in the world -- research done at Bell Labs created
the transistor, made possible the 5ESS switch, created UNIX,
helped to create Usenet, etc.

So there are perhaps lessons to learn about what kind of corporate
entities there can be.

Clearly the rest of the US corporate sector was not very happy
with the existence of such a corporation and were constantly pressuring
the US government to break it up.

Ronda
ronda {AT} panix.com
http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/netbook/
http://www.ais.org/~ronda

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