Saturday, September 17, 2011

Evil Corporations and Choices

It has been a while since I have written, mostly because of time constraints. Times are very volatile today making business sustainability a prime focus.

Occasionally, I make time for tennis and on Saturday mornings I hit with a dear friend, a psychiatrist, to get some outdoor time, working out muscles, heart and lungs. When we take a break we talk about people and their behavior and, since he knows infinitely more about it than I do, it is always a very interesting learning experience for me. Not that I can do much with that information, but it does fill in some of the many blank spots in my mind.

Recently we inherited a home crowd on the court: a homeless guy who sleeps nearby (he won't say where) and then comes to the tennis courts at dawn. We started talking to him since he shares the benches on the court with us. He sounded highly educated and it particularly intrigued me that he said he was an aeronautical engineer with NASA, among other places. Not a newcomer to aeronautics, I'd steer the conversation to aspects that only one who has been involved with the profession would know, and, lo and behold, he would encourage the conversation offering more facts and times and places that I asked for.

He garnered a bit of respect from me, except it didn't jive with his situation. It turns out that he is out of work for various reasons (didn't want to divulge particulars about that either) one of which is a visible tumor on his foot.

My psychiatrist friend, who also has a PhD in pathology, immediately recognized the tumor, which appears to be benign, but still a major obstacle in finding a job, I'd say. However, we got to talk about bank failures today and the immoral things that corporations do. Hitler's actions were legal, too, he offered. Wait a minute, I retorted, Hitler's cabal were convicted at Nuremberg, so their actions were not legal and additionally, immoral people are not constrained by laws to act immorally and neither do moral people need laws to act morally. So, one would find moral and immoral people everywhere regardless of the laws of the land.

Yes, he said, but he is often approached by some of his previous colleagues to come and work for them because of his skills. They only want to pay him a much lower wage than what he is worth because all they are interested in is to rake in as much profit as they can, and he is not prepared to accept that.

This is the point where my head explodes. So, living like a tramp is preferable to a bit less money than expected?

I said that now he knows why he is living on a tennis court. It's of his own choosing.

It is, he said.

OK, I said. As long as he understands that it is not due to some evil corporation or immoral people that he is where he is.

That's cool, man.

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Seeking the truth until I find it.