INTERNSHIPS: PAYING TO WORK

“Internships Abroad: Unpaid, With a $10,000 Price Tag.” 2.5.15 NYT story. Justifiable or taking advantage of young people?

“I’m old school. If you run a business, you cover all your costs.  It’s bad enough when companies use various tactics to make future generations pick up the tab. (Think the costs of decommissioning nuclear reactors, dealing with global warming, repairing environmental damage, etc.) Now they want free labor as well? There’s a reason we have minimum wage laws.

This story is about international internships. But the same issues can be raised about domestic ones.”

“I’m not here as a human being . . . “

Bank rep to judge defending foreclosure practices, “I’m not here as a human being. I’m here as a representative of Wells Fargo.” (2.1.15 NYT story, “Two Judges Who Get it About Banks.”)

“Setting aside the fact that the judge considered the practices in question illegal, what does it say about an industry when someone thinks that ‘I’m not here as a human being’ is an acceptable defense for how to conduct business? Shocking example of being clueless about the basic requirements for doing business ethically! And especially troubling because Wells Fargo has a better reputation than most. I can just imagine what’s said at other banks!”

A rising tide absolutely DOESN’T . . .

January 25, 2015 story in New York Times: “Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up.”

“Still more evidence that a major source of the wealth of the 1% has been from transferring it from the people who need it for a decent life. No doubt there will be business leaders, economists and politicians who say that the way to address this problem is to put even more money in the hands of the plutocrats. But I’d like to know if these pundits realize that their approach actually shows a disdain for the concept of ‘America’–a place where average hardworking people can earn a decent living for themselves and their family.”

‘Diversity Dividend’

January 20, 2015 Wall Street Journal story, “New Report Finds a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Work.”

“Yet another study–this time by McKinsey–suggesting that more women and minorities in their upper ranks leads companies to better financial performance. So why do I think that another set of facts is not going to make any difference? Because, as a brilliant expert in corporate culture told me, ‘Culture always wins.’ . . . Apparently, it even trumps making more money! . . . So, I guess the claim that ‘business is always about the bottom line’ really means ‘business is always about the bottom line as long as it doesn’t make anyone at the top uncomfortable by making them work with people different from themselves.'”

 

Few women on Boards

January 13, 2015 USA Today story, “Few seats at the boardroom table for women.”

“Setting aside the ethical dimensions of this, more than one study suggests that companies overseen by boards with greater gender diversity make more money. No doubt, the members of largely male boards talk somberly about their commitment to maximizing shareholder value. So why are they dropping the ball? Are they rationalizing bias? Not taking their job of advancing their companies’ interests seriously enough? Not looking hard enough? Some other excuse? And don’t tell me that there aren’t enough qualified women or that you have to be a current or past CEO to serve on a board.”