It's Not Personal, It's Just Business... Really, Mitt?
October 12, 2012
In place of Friday Musings, I bring you a well written guest post from Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust.
How often have you heard that phrase in defense of some questionable act of business, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” What the What?!? Everything is personal when you have to live with the decisions business makes — we have to fight the wars, breathe the air, drink the water, eat the food, wear the clothes, live in the homes, and smoke the cigarettes…
Business will say, “you have a choice,” but do we have a choice when business pushes the drugs, doesn’t label them correctly, or in the case of the cigarettes plans for you to be addicted making the choice to opt out personally painful.
It’s a profound commentary on our business society and leadership when the dollar is more important that our humanity.
Let’s talk about cigarettes as an example of jaded thinking. Who wants their kids dying from lung cancer or struggling to pay healthcare costs? No one, except maybe business. We’ve grown accustomed to this illogical practice of supporting something that is so deadly, so why is it a big deal now? Because Mitt Romney supported it at Bain and glosses over the lives lost or destroyed as no big deal – it was just business… He saw no connection between enabling a horrific product that could (and did) kill hundreds of thousands — he could have said “No thank you, that’s not who we are”, but instead he said “Yes” and made his millions because that’s who he is.
It’s sickening and it’s emblematic of what business does when there is no moral lease to keep it in check. If non-smoking, non-drinking, values-driven Romney can’t see why this is wrong and do the right thing on his own, how can we expect other companies with less “ethical” (and I use that term with full irony) leadership.
Huffington Post provided an extensive article on how Bain (with Mitt at the helm) went into Russia and helped BAT increase its market share of the cigarette smoking public. One of their strategies included targeted young women who didn’t want to be addicted to nicotine or else they would have already been smoking. They used ad campaigns which included putting jewelry into the cigarette packages to lure girls down the cool-to-smoke back alley. There were other campaigns aimed at kids at a candy level, too.
Unfortunately, once the girls and boys were chemically hooked, they have to keep buying more cigarettes. Today it’s estimated that over 400,000 Russians (women and men) have died from smoke related deaths that could have been avoided, if only Mitt Romney walked his moral talk and made business decisions based on the personal life of those affected, some of those lives could have been saved. He didn’t. He went for the dollars. I have a personal problem with that. <Me, too. Yv>
What about energy — coal vs. renewables?
Romney’s all for coal and oil and gas and anything that keeps his fossil fuel friends in business. He’s also for renewables, but renewables are always mentioned last and the Republican party is working to kill the wind energy tax credits for 37,000 jobs.
If my family or friends worked the energy
sector, I’d rather that they didn’t work in a coal mine that could kill them
and the mountain. According to research by the University of Massachusetts,
(picture) for every million dollars spent on the renewable energy making/saving
sectors, the more people would have jobs. If he’s about jobs, then lets create
more jobs with less money that also clean up our energy problems at the same
time. That sounds like a good fiscal policy to me. Why
would you slow R&D on a necessary energy transition products which would
also create permanent jobs? What smart business person doesn’t fund R&D to remain
economically relevant – unless the USA isn’t the “company”
Mitt’s really working for. Just saying…
Cities and campuses are working fast to be Zero Net Energy – retrofitting buildings to use less energy and create new energy via solar panels, adding wind turbines, etc. Next week, I’m attending the AASHE.orgconference in LA where over 1200 educators in sustainability from hundreds of universities and colleges will be meeting to figure out how to create Zero Net Energy campuses that are also learning labs to train students how to collaborate on sustainable solutions.
The education/business disconnect happens in two places:
1. Students are learning new, green job skills for jobs that Romney doesn’t champion first.
2. The conference is focused on the enabling social justice for diverse populations – in other words, the 99% that Romney doesn’t interact with during business hours.
It would seem that if you wanted to become the business manager for the USA, that you would be supporting these efforts – what’s good for cities and campuses must be financially good for the country. Instead, Mitt hangs on to the boys that bought his dance ticket – the Koch Brothers and their ilk.
Modern higher education is the opposite of who or what Romney is thinking about. He’s thinking about how to build more navy ships to keep the war games going. Note to Mitt, game over! War is obsolete. Thanks to social media, the people on the ground can see what everyone else is doing and they are no longer buying the rhetoric that supports the wars. Besides, we have ENOUGH hardware, software, and peopleware to kill the planet 16 times over.
However if you’re wired for business bottom lines at any cost, enough is never enough and peace doesn’t make enough money. Got it.
Where’s the peaceful leadership that keeps people working together and coming back to the table? We must learn to respect one another again and that starts by doing the right thing for THE PEOPLE not the machines.
Trust starts with transparency. Business can buy any amount of information about me, but I don’t get to know anything about business and that includes Romney’s business. I like to know who I’m dealing with. I guess, “no response” to taxes or financial questions is a response and it speaks volumes as to what we can expect if he wins the presidency. What additional information will he hide?
“That’s not who we are.”
Michelle Obama said it first during her convention speech, “That’s not who we are.” Personal values are what are on the line at this election. Do we want a world where agendas stay hidden and no one trust one another, or one of open doors and open sources? Social media thrives on openness, let’s embrace the air instead of fearing the worse in each other.
Women have spent ga-zillions of hours helping others. That’s who we are – people who look out for one another, who share what we have, who celebrate lives. None of that “work” is ever recorded in the Gross National Product and yet it creates a happier, safer, more trusting, global society. Unlike Mitt, we don’t leave our values at home, we bring it to business like the million members of Moms Rising.
Mitt isn’t a smoker so his lungs are clean, but from what I’ve seen of his business choices so far his heart is dark and that’s not who I want representing my values to the rest of the world. Sorry Mitt. It is personal.
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Greetings! The site is great. Thank you for a great resource
Posted by: Tony Tran | October 13, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Damn straight, Yvonne!
Six years ago I and 70 others were laid off with no notice in a national conference call that ended with THAT phrase "This isn't personal, it's just business!"
From somewhere out there came back the loud retort "The HELL it isn't !" and that has
been my response ever since when I hear that phrase.
If they think that justifies the callous disregard for those who keep their businesses running, they are BADLY mistaken.
It's very personal to us, and don't you forget it, Mitt!
Posted by: Jim Franklin | October 12, 2012 at 09:22 PM