Begging for Discipline

Posted: November 20th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Politics | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Here’s an interesting new phenomenon: executives going to Washington to beg for regulation.

C-suiters from Google, Starbucks, Nike, Sun Microsystems, Timberland and Levi’s are encouraging Congress to pass legislation (likely under Obama) that will force them to get more energy-efficient and bring us closer to a carbon-neutral economy.

Some of these companies have been hit hard for their social irresponsibility before: remember Nike and the sweatshop debacles of the 1990s? Some of them have great PR, but belong to industries that make a massive footprint on our environment–home electronics like computers make up 20% of our energy consumption. So this shift in rhetoric, if taken up by legislators, is notable.

But it strikes me as strange too: if all these executives recognize that consumers now care about the sustainability of the brands they buy, why not just dive in to the emerging market, instead of begging government to force all your competitors to come with you? I’m in favor of mild government coercion on this issue because I don’t think there are enough pro-environment executives in the big emission sectors (ahem, oil), but that doesn’t explain the behavior of those who do see the pot of gold and still need the government to push them over the rainbow.

It reminds me of this time in middle school when my kid sister bombed a test, knew she needed to study more, and begged my mother to ground her. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now.

2 Comments on “Begging for Discipline”

  1. 1 rafigagum said at 7:36 am on November 21st, 2008:

    why don’t u get it? what we need individually, is what we need collectively. companies are just groups of people. i know i need to do weight training, but can’t force myself, others needs to eat more, but can’t do it themselves; some need posture exercizes, won’t do them; some need to give up blankies etc. we all at some stage for some goals in our lives need coercion. the problem in a “free” society is that we need to collapse before society does it for us; if we are not at collapse stage we are expected to “ask” for it voluntarily

  2. 2 Sharmeen said at 8:03 pm on November 29th, 2008:

    Hey, it’s not just discipline that these companies want; it’s inclusion into the trendy fantasy of progressivism. And rafigagum is right, a giant corporation is just a group of individuals who all fancy themselves innocent progressives at the whim of the greater group.

    Regulation…the new pink? Or should i say, the new green?

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