Guest Post, Ipshita Samanta, writes for Kracktivism
‘“There must be some way out of here” said the joker to the thief
“There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth. ‘ —-All along the watch tower, Bob Dylan
We are watching from watch tower. We are traipsing along the tricky road. Yet we are enjoying our smug delirious delusions. We belong to the army of workers, supporters of corporate. No, we are not here to talk in tropes. Rather there is severe need to redress the issue of corporate social responsibility. Our ‘’responsibility’’.
We can say corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation incorporated into a business environment. It works within realm of ethics, morality and international law. The goal of CSR is to accept responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, shareholders and all other members of the community who may also be considered as stakeholders.’’
So in a more layman’s language CSR (corporate social responsibility; from here on CSR) is giving back some of the profits that corporate makes by lactating society’s resource to the people, to the nature in a word to the society itself. But this juxtaposition seems to be highly ironical, vacuously true. That is, if a profiteering organization strives by profit making why should they part their so dear sizeable portion? And if they do, why in the first place the free trade (this coinage is very much capitalistic; without which corporate presumably cannot do business) comes from barrel of gun, why they resort to the coercive methods? Why is there fierce competition to suck the cows dry? Why occlusion of peoples’ freedom of speech, democratic rights in most of the third world developing countries, where CSR is a comparatively newer concept.
Yes, we are talking about Vedanta, Posco and other expropriator corporate companies. In accordance to the rule book CSR is all about self policing, moral guide liners. But in real paradigm there is a shift between the definitions of commitment to the deed. We need not give the data. Data of exploitations, evidences of corruptions, instances of gross misappropriation are splashed in every nook and corner. State machinery is in cohort. Grapphiti is in the wall.
The face of Soni Suri is fading. Instead faking of happiness is in the wind.
So called messiah against corruption Mr. Anna Hazare is smiling.
Jago Bharat campaign of Tata is buzzing.
Flocks of youth are in trance of corporate responsibility.
Ours own Oprah has came in to fore. He is the actor turned social reformer. Amir khan.
While he argues against sexs selection he talks, discusses for the sake of destined to be unmarried 2 crore single men. He cries with the female guest who has been aborted against her wish for bearing female fetus. Yet his own child has been born out of surrogacy, one of the crudest forms of women slavery, lending your womb for money.
But he starts his program with jai hind. He remains politically correct. And also does not try to insinuate the patriarchal core. Commercial, eh? Oh it also has a greater production value. Every paisa will go the NGO run by Ambanis. The speculative money maker. The gambler whose speculations have drained surpluses of manufacturing sector in to the share markets, price fixings, speculative trade. Implicit assassinator of millions of farmers. Puppeteer of government. And he is protecting the girl child! Ironies do not stop here. Every corporate company has been tied to one or more NGO where they wash their bloody hands down. A laying off machine of black money. A devil in saint’s hood. Every slum in metropolises boasts of a NGO which is invariably linked to one or more corporate companies.
The network of capital and NGO is like infinite loop. To fix the poverty turn the lenders in to beggars. In return of education, health, infrastructural changes suck the country till death. And NGO becomes agent of death. Some will argue with trickledown effect. But is it not the one of most important reasons that in third world countries there is so higher political and bureaucratic corruption. To begin with let us look back in to the origin.
The term CSR came in to vogue in 60’s. The motivation was to make a social impact so that there could be long term profit. It involves with business ethics in a business environment. Cynics argued that it was merely a hoodwinking maneuver to the government to sideline the improper practices of big MNCs.
Also one of the aspects of the CSR was to treat human resources as capital or human capital, to potentiate them for future labor pool. So CSR is merely Keynesian approach to the corporate core value. A window dressing. CSR works as a lackey of business sustainability. A caudal approach to hide business agenda from the consumers. Also in the epoch of imperialism CSR has made up the ugly feature of neo classical economy in to a sacrosanct virtue. To facilitate the change of mode of production in the upcoming new economy from semi feudal to more aggressive oligarchy CSR has played a big role. It has gained trust through its beleaguering methods. By building brand values it has cleared the path of monopolistic hegemony. And a way to survive in troubled water. A malignant growth which cannot be uprooted only by reformist attitude.
In Indian context in 2009 ministry of corporate affairs had published a guideline for inclusive growth and responsible business. We should note here everything is voluntary, i.e it is not a law to be abided. There come lots of good words. Ethical practice, respect for workers’ right, respect for human rights, environment keeping, social development activities and so on. But still everything remains fuzzy. Everything depends on the corporate will. And every single day every basic right is flouted. In our city the poor are driven into corner, they are being brushed under carpet. We are making our cities beautiful. Those who can buy have their amenities, we, the middle class commuter of vacillating bridge are in fear. And the poor have nothing to lose.
Here in the second episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate ‘Amir Khan tells of child abuse. 53% of the children are abused silently. Most of the incidents occur in their safeness of home. And we should not forget about the hapless child laborers. For whom there is no Amir Khan to shed tear on who are being molested, raped, sodomised in their work places. In the dark corners, in the alleys of corporate profit making factories they are sacrificed daily.
And still Amir Rocks!!!!
Ipshita Samanta is doing my phd in statistics from ISI, in kolkata
May 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm
Little correction about yr article on CSR…
The satyamev Jayate money will not go the Ambanis… it is a very small sum for them to have any interest… what Reliance Foundation is doing is adding equal amount of money that is collected through phone calls… which is hardly even 5 lakh…
These are marketing gimmick when the anchor takes awaya 3 crores per episode + the production profit (produced by Aamir).
The NGOs are getting just about 1 percent of the money Aamir is going to make… Relaince is using it to cleanse their image.
May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm
The very presence of Amir Khan substantiates the whole brand value differentiation of reliance inc.and about their image cleansing it is enough for them to put Amir as marionette who will get paid for his preachy melodramas. Don’t you think so?
May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm
Also the very fact that that NGO is getting small amount money does neither negate nor banish the nexus between corporate houses and NGOs. They have been on their drainage system long time ago. So it is not surprising that they will be helping reliance to cleanse their image. :-).
May 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm
The very presence of Amir Khan substantiates the fact that goal of brand value differentiation of reliance inc is to be achieved. There were no other noble causes.Amir khan is only a distinguished marionette who is getting paid a huge sum for his service.This is also an instances of CSR!!!
May 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm
There is a big flaw in your article. You have not mentioned the NGO which apparently receives all the money made by the show. Which NGO is this and in what way do the Ambanis own it? Also what money goes to the NGO? Money from advertisers or donations? There is no relation established as such between CSR-NGO nexus and Satyamev Jayate. Please provdie some footnotes/links.
Second, you make all NGOs into vehicles for CSR. There are many NGOs which do not accept corporate funding(For ex. Greenpeace).
Third, just because Amir did not include child labour in the show does not mean he endorses it. Arundhati Roy has not written about child labour. Does that mean we should doubt her(or for that matter anybody’s) integrity if she raises any issues about children without mentioning child labour?
There is a mention of quite a few disparate things without any clear links between them provided – patriarchy, “lactating resource”, “sucking the cows dry”, “child labour” and what not.
I would suggest people to read Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism” which explains clearly about NGOs, CSR, the human rights discourse and its use for capitalism, etc.
May 18, 2012 at 12:09 pm
First and foremost I would like to draw your attention to the resources on which the innumerable NGO ‘s like green peace is working on if they are not lobbying in corporate sector. It is ridiculous to think that they are doing their service out of people’s magnanimosity.
Secondly if someone want to claim onus to the heinous crime like sex selective abortion and child abuse and to aware people of these maladies he should spread his spectra of vision beyond ordinary.
Thirdly, my point was not to attack any awareness program of caliber as there are numerous talk shows are being hosted to create consciousness among people against social crimes as such. My point was why it was being done in a CSR mannered way. Reliance is not known for good corporate ethics. A lopsided vision for their image they want to induce by this program ,which I think is a criminal act should be abhorred.
May 18, 2012 at 10:17 am
Aamir Khan’s getting paid handsomely. Reliance is getting cleansed……. And taboo topics are gaining entry into erstwhile totally restricted zones!!
Methinks, there’s some merit in that. As against the hundreds of panel discussions, intellectually stimulating talks etc that lie unwatched and forgotten in the small-screen archives, this one talk-show is watched and is finding pride-of-place in drawing room discussions. Politically correct, money-spinner, image-cleanser….well, may or may not be; but grabbing the ostritch by the neck and pulling it out of it’s hole in the sand….it’s definitely doing! One tiny but definite step towards mass, public acknowledgement of just the presence of devastating social maladies that have been ruthlessly wiping out lives in the safe cocoon of anonymity! Good going, Satyamev Jayate!!!
May 18, 2012 at 11:24 am
Ipshita, Its all right if Mr. Khan is receiving crores…. At least he is doing what numerous NGOs and our government itself is unable to do……. And the NGOs that the show has highlighted are genuinely working for the causes. Why do you have to worry if Reliance is cleansing up their image or Amir is making money? At least they are doing some worthy act. Who else has dared to take up these issues? Not even the law makers have been able to reach out to people on these issues.