Tuesday Pop Quiz

Who said this?

 Corporations, “separate and apart from” the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all. [….]

While it is certainly true that a central objective of for profit corporations is to make money, modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not do so. For-profit corporations, with ownership approval, support a wide variety of charitable causes, and it is not at all uncommon for such corporations to further humanitarian and other altruistic objectives.

a. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods
b. Elizabeth Warren
c. Samuel Alito
d. Pope Francis
e. Steve Jobs

Answer: Samuel Alito in Hobby Lobby. I thought it was pertinent to bring this up with the whole Market Basket meltdown.

For those not “in the know,” Market Basket is a family-owned chain of (highly profitable) discount grocery stores. The Demoulas family has fought for years over the grocery stores; at this point, the Arthur S. Demoulas side of the family controls 50.5% of the company, and the Arthur T. Demoulas side controls 49.5% of the shares.  Arthur T. Demoulas was the President and CEO of the 71-store, 25,000 employee chain for several years until he was ousted in June.

One reason behind the ouster is that “Artie T.,” as he is affectionately known by his employees, kept prices low and paid his employees above-average wages.  The corporation still turned a very handsome profit, but the Arthur S. Demoulas side wanted higher prices and lower wages. (It should be known that Arthur S. Demoulas is one of the ten richest people in Boston.)  This sparked a revolt: the warehouse men stopped working, stores haven’t gotten deliveries, and the employees are staging rallies and pickets.  Oh, and the customers are boycotting in fine fashion.

Heed the words that Samuel Alito wrote in defending religious liberty, because they also apply to secular displays of compassion: there is nothing compelling a for-profit corporation to make the most money possible at the expense of one’s conscience.


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