Civil Obedience Movement – Corporate Strategy for Social Values

The fight of satyagraha is for the strong in spirit, not the doubter or the timid. – Mahatma Gandhi

Civil Obedience Movement:

On the historic day of 12th March 1930, Gandhi inaugurated The Civil Disobedience Movement by conducting the historic Dandi Salt March, where he broke the Salt Laws imposed by the British Government.

  On 5th April 2011 Veteran social activist Anna Hazare started his indefinite fast unto death to press for the demand to involve civil society in formulation of the anti-graft Lokpal (ombudsman) bill. He broke the impasse of 42 years in getting the laws of the land to bring the public official to book – to enact Lokpal Bill.

This is the beginning of the Civil Obedience Movement in India in the year 2011. [Picture courtesy – Mani Bhavan, Rediff]

Purpose: Civil Obedience Movement

 The Freedom of India was obtained by the sweat and blood of millions of Indians who sacrificed their entire lives for over three generations that every citizen, business, regulatory authorities, the three wings of government – executive, legislature, judiciary and the self- declared independent fourth estate inclusive will all abide by the good laws, maintain good order, respect the good institutions, to give that freedom stability.


The pissing contest:

This photo of Manneken Pis is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Quote: [Credit: from Inside Job: written by: Charles Ferguson; Sony Pictures – Sep. 2010]

1. Jeffrey Lane Vice Chairman Lehman Brothers (2003-2007), Willem Buiter Chief Economist, Citigroup

JEFFREY LANE: You’re dealing with Type A personalities, and uh, uh, Type A personalities know everything in the world.

WILLEM BUITER: Banking became a pissing contest, you know; m-, mine’s bigger than yours; that kind of stuff. It was all men that ran it, incidentally.

JEFFREY LANE: Fifty-billion-dollar deals were not large enough, so we do hundred billion- dollar deals.

2. Kristin Davis Ran An Elite Prostitution Ring From Her High-Rise Apartment. It Was Located A Few Blocks From The New York Stock Exchange; Jonathan Alpert Is A Therapist Whose Clients Include Many High-Level Wall Street Executives.

CHARLES FERGUSON: How many customers?

KRISTIN DAVIS: About 10,000 at that point in time.

CHARLES FERGUSON: What fraction were from Wall Street?

KRISTIN DAVIS: Of the higher-end clients, probably – 40 to 50 percent.

CHARLES FERGUSON: And were all the major Wall Street firms represented? Goldman Sachs.

KRISTIN DAVIS: Lehman Brothers; yeah, they’re all in there.

JONATHAN ALPERT: Morgan Stanley was a little less of that. Uh, I think Goldman was, was pretty, pretty big with that.

KRISTIN DAVIS: A lot of clients would call me, and say, can you get me a Lamborghini for the night for the girl? These guys were spending corporate money; I had many black cards from, you know, the various financial firms.

JONATHAN ALPERT: What’s happening is services are being charged to computer repair.

KRISTIN DAVIS: Trading research; you know; consulting for market compliance. [They], I just usually gave them a piece of letterhead, and said, make your own invoice.

CHARLES FERGUSON: So this pattern of behavior, you think, extends to the senior management of the firm.

JONATHAN ALPERT: Absolutely does, yeah. I know for a fact that it does. It extends to the very top.

3. NARRATOR: In a five-year period, these three tiny banks, which had never operated outside of Iceland, borrowed 120 billion dollars, ten times the size of Iceland’s economy. The bankers showered money on themselves, each other, and their friends.

Iceland’s bubble gave rise to people like J—n çsgeir J—hannesson. He borrowed billions from the banks to buy up high-end retail businesses in London. He also bought a pinstriped private jet, a 40-million-dollar yacht, and a Manhattan penthouse.

American accounting firms, like KPMG, audited the Icelandic banks and investment firms, and found nothing wrong; and American credit-rating agencies said Iceland was wonderful.

Sigrêdur Benediktsdîttir: In February 2007, the rating agencies decided to upgrade the banks to the highest possible rate – AAA.

NARRATOR: When Iceland’s banks collapsed at the end of 2008, unemployment tripled in six months.

ANDRI MAGNASON: There is nobody unaffected in Iceland.

4. GEORGE W. BUSH: {COUGH} Good morning, welcome to the White House. I am pleased to announce that I will nominate Henry Paulson to be the secretary of the Treasury. He has a lifetime of business experience; he has an intimate knowledge of financial markets; he has earned a reputation for candor and integrity.

NARRATOR: You might think it would be hard for Paulson to adjust to a meager government salary. But taking the job as Treasury secretary was the best financial decision of his life.

Paulson had to sell his 485 million dollars of Goldman stock when he went to work for the government. But because of a law passed by the first President Bush, he didn’t have to pay any taxes on it. It saved him 50 million dollars.

CHARLES FERGUSON: I have been told it’s extremely difficult for the IMF to criticize the United States.

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: I won’t say that.

{Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing Director International Monetary Fund}

MARK BRANSON: We deeply regret our breaches of U.S. law..

JONATHAN ALPERT: They’re amazed at how much cocaine these Wall Streeters can use, and get up and go to work the next day….

ANDREW SHENG: They were having massive private gains at public loss. {Andrew Sheng Chief Advisor China Banking Regulatory Commission} Unquote:

India’s Tit-for-tat – The biggest employer in the world – of Poverty

India’s contribution to the black hole of tax havens around the world is the highest, matching everything that Inside Job could do. Corruption is indeed the pissing contest between top echelons of power down to the lowly clerk in a municipal office, men & women competing with each other headed by a woman what Dr. Swamy calls her the fountainhead of corruption. India is dying in the sea of piss and shit stinking all the way. Prostitution, cocaine, night clubs, murders, mayhem, spin masters, private planes & airports, name it, India wins the world cup of deceit and demagoguery hands down, eulogizing mahatma during the day raping the country by night. Persons who could not afford a bicycle a few years back are multi-millionaires servicing to the corrupt ministers, playing host to them with hawala transactions, egging them how to corrupt scientifically without being caught backed by reputed auditors who make the beheader of Daniel Pearl a saint in comparison. So vast the power and compass of the ill-gotten money in trillions that men of calibre have given way to desires of hoarding that prevent them to name the head of the Mafia. Collectively they are having massive private gains at public loss, of very poor people of this country that has no parallel. Trillions of dollars are stuck in the black hole while more than a billion people go hungry everyday in this world.

Strategy – Civil Obedience Movement – Modern day Satyagraha

Satyagraha, of which civil resistance is but a part, is to me the universal law of life.- Mahatma Gandhi.

The base of India rests on Agriculture & Industry. A farmer has the tenacity to withstand any calamity and raises from the ashes like a phoenix, every time his lands are washed away by floods with all the labor put in. Industry on the other hand panics. Added to its pains is the speculative stock market.

Quote: “Using derivatives, bankers could gamble on virtually anything. They could bet on the rise or fall of oil prices, the bankruptcy of a company; even the weather. By the late 1990s, derivatives were a 50-trillion-dollar unregulated market. .. According to a Bloomberg article, business entertainment represents 5 percent of revenue for New York derivatives brokers, and often includes strip clubs, prostitution, and drugs. A New York broker filed a lawsuit in 2007 against his firm, alleging he was required to retain prostitutes to entertain traders. ..

For 20 years, Robert Gnaizda was the head of Greenlining, a powerful consumer advocacy group. He met with Greenspan on a regular basis. We gave him an example of Countrywide, and 150 different complex adjustable-rate mortgages. And Greenspan said: If you had a doctorate in math, you wouldn’t be able to understand them enough to know which was good for you and which wasn’t. So we thought he was gonna take action. But, as the conversation continued, it was clear he was stuck with his ideology. We met again with Greenspan in ’05. Often we met with him twice a year, and never less than once a year. And he wouldn’t change his mind…Unquote from Inside Job.

For India, in one side the black hole of tax havens had sucked in all the funds and at the other speculative market. Nick Leeson in 1995 speculated to disastrous effect when none absolutely none including their auditors knew anything about derivatives that Baring Bros went without even a whimper on a single day. India has to work out its strategy whether much needed Agriculture where a farmer commits suicide on alternative days or encourage speculation in commodities to stocks. Satyagraha, of which civil resistance is a part, brings to the fore of industry the resistance to speculation.

 So there are companies part of the Civil Obedience Movement that’s the universal law of life and those that are not.

Means to accomplish the strategy of Civil Obedience Movement – Break the Axis of Evil

 There are two players in India 1. Business and 2. Political rulers.

A businessman is not in business if he retains 15% for the business and pays the commission of 85% as bribe.The loot by the two that had deprived billions of dollars to the people of India is shared 15% for the political heads and 85% to the business. If people of India needs to benefit then this axis of evil needs to be broken.

Edmund Burke during his speech on impeachment of Warren Hastings in 1788 , comments QUOTE: Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity. Name me a magistrate, and I will name property; name me power, and I will name protection. It is a contradiction in terms, it is blasphemy in religion, it is wickedness in politics, to say that any man can have arbitrary power. In every patent of office the duty is included. For what else does a magistrate exist? Unquote

Constitution of India, Laws enacted, institutions established are all to confirm the ownership of the nation to the people of India. When a legislator is elected as a Trustee, an MLA/MP assumes an arbitrary power that is void ab intio. When a public limited company is formed the majority shareholder assumes an arbitrary power that is void ab intio. Both have only fiscal responsibility.

This is fundamental to be part of the Civil Obedience Movement. The ownership of the property rests with the people of India. Corporate and the three wings of the government are answerable to the people of India.

UNCAC is ratified by India, as the news just flowing in at the moment. This means it brings forth the fundamental principle of ownership entrusted to the care of the rulers as a Trustee by the people of India, by Article 10 of UNCAC Public reporting. This particular Article 10 in consonance with Article 13 of UNCAC Public participation takes away the arbitrary power assumed by the political masters – completely.

UNCAC is applicable to private enterprises too, by Article 12 of UNCAC. By ratifying the UNCAC Treaty it becomes mandatory on the part of the Government as well Corporate to adhere to the Articles set.

In addition private sector is governed by UNGC. It is not mandatory. However the 10 principles of UNGC the last one is anti-corruption that becomes mandatory by ratifying UNCAC whereas the first 9 principles of UNGC of 3 issue areas – Human Rights, Labor Rights and Environment will be voluntary in applying the said principles to the individual company. However for the purpose of Civil Obedience Movement UNGC becomes mandatory.

These two UNCAC & UNGC would become the basis of measurement of a company’s participation in Civil Obedience Movement.

Civil Obedience Movement – Advantage to be in

Corporate: UNGC certified companies alone will be able to partake in tenders floated by the government – national & international.

Government – Arbitrary power of awarding contracts or lands will be void by applying the principles of UNCAC, that are restricted only to those who are certified UNGC organisations. Every project by Article 9 – Public Procurement and Management of Public Finances is made available online to the public by Article 10 of UNCAC Public reporting.

UNCAC and UNGC will be the crux of Civil Obedience Movement. Those who are out of it, stay out of everything – Government as well Corporate.

Participation in Civil Obedience Movement

India’s independence was the result of participation by every person in every nook & corner of the country. Men and women of exemplary character were the stalwarts that lead the country and one among them was Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad a tall and towering personality and a Gandhian. He was a cabinet member of Jawaharlal Nehru that once when he just got down from his vehicle he heard the sound of the National Anthem coming out of the building he was about to enter. He stood erect to attention and waited till the anthem was completed. It was pouring cats & dogs at that time, he was completely drenched. Such were the patriotism our men who brought us the freedom. Gandhiji or Maulana, Pandiji or Sardar were all symbolic, for every Indian was no less a patriot than such great men and women of era that had gone by. Today Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev, Azim Premji or Rahul Bajaj is no less passionate than such men and women who are keen to establish the rule of law, to give stability to the hard earned freedom. It is the bounden duty and ethical responsibility of every citizen of the country to join this Civil Obedience Movement from every community. Kofi Annan in his foreword to UNCAC, said:”Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.” Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Middle East, Africa and almost all countries do suffer this insidious plague. On 4th June when Baba Ramdev starts his fasting to death to bring about a time bound resolution to recover the black money stuck in a black hole of tax havens, a loot out of the poor people, let there be a representation from all these nations who wish to establish Civil Obedience Movement for the sake of humanity. Assange has done a yeoman service in this direction exposing the duplicity of the nations and he should take part, a symbolic figure of hope for Civil Obedience Movement.

Revive Nalanda University

For we know not what our worth is? Only India can lead the world on values and give direction to its sustainability. World over we teach ethics in primary schools and reaching universities teach them greed. Revive Nalanda University and bring back the value system of King Asoka, the one and the only Humane Society ever practiced on this planet that H.G. Wells could comment: “Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history … the name of Asoka shines, and shines almost alone, a star.”, the reason why Dalai Lama calls India his elder brother.

Conclusion

1. America had opened the freedom of enterprise without values being put in, the genie that cannot be bottled any longer. Not by outside regulatory authorities, although give credit to the 2nd rung companies who have initiated the sustainability programs in some areas particularly environment,

2. Self-regulatory approach is admirable but it would be fruitless task if there is no convergence to a single body. This again another genie created in US, that individual companies like KPMG create their own valuation methods that prevent a consensus to arrive at, for a common approach for all. The common approach is a vision that may never get fulfilled in America. It is possible only from India.

3. Michael Porter does talk of corporate strategy and social values but maybe some economists would do a research and obtain a Nobel Prize for it. It would remain in the same manner as many other Nobel Prized theories, without capable of being practiced. Mere pronouncements of good intentions have no value.

4. Professors from American universities may charge as high as $50k-$100k per day that only big business can entertain their theories and unwittingly make the ideas prohibitive to carry out as it overwhelms the benefits out of it.

5. India has to lead in bringing the social values to the fore. In 1960s India introduced Cost Audit of essential items such as Vegetable Oil that prevented companies like Unilever to make ‘massive private gains at public loss’. The cost audit was extended to pharma and petroleum products that continue to be so even today.

6. India is the first to recognize the social values of business and integrated into it the concept. Today Corporate India spends millions on ideas but only if the same is endorsed or appear in HBR. The cost audit exercise of 1960’s had all the drivers that Dr. Kaplan came out in 1983 as a new fresh package calling with a new label Activity Based Costing the old wine. India must look within what they had achieved that ideas could be exported out.

7. America will not buy your ideas but Africa and other countries would do. America will not be able to accept that they do not know how to measure social values. KPMGs and rating agencies will continue to flourish. Africa needs these ideas without impinging on their purse.

8. First Corporate India, not those who fly to Devos for inspiration, must get the armor of self-regulation that would sustain values and enhance profits.

9. UNGC where UNCAC is a component part will take Corporate India to the heights never before. If they could undertake cost audit by compulsion that had proved its worth over the last 50 years, India can be assured of continued profits by adopting UNGC during the 21st century.

10.UNGC is in existence for the last 12 years but given an elite touch and exhibition in Devos that it had deprived millions of companies to undertake the formula, as with GRI in toe, it had made itself complicated and prohibitive to adopt.

11. It shall not be. That’s why 2nd rung companies must go in for UNGC and be rated that would enable such companies to compete with the big business in tenders for contracts with the governments. The cost of implementation would be less than the amount one pays to an outsourced employee.

12. Unless UNGC route is undertaken by the companies it would be impossible to control the unregulated big business lobbyists who enter the government offices with impunity and take away the contracts from worthy participants. Lobbyists alone earn more than $5 billion in US. India cannot afford Nira Radias. Understand India is a poor country and feel for it.

13. Big business is the inducer to corruption stealthily done with Ministers and bureaucrats. Break the axis of evil.

14. The recent elections have surely brought out excellent bureaucrats who cannot be corrupted such as Sagayam District Collector of Madurai. It is in the interest of Corporate India to appreciate and develop such bureaucrats to enhance business to grow in values. This alone is the route to social responsibility and this alone will ensure profits.

15. Corporate Strategy means bringing business with sustainability of profits. Civil Obedience Movement ensures sustainability of values. Combined Corporate India has a strategy set out for 21st Century – Agriculture related industrial advancement – Keep target of doubling the agriculture production from 300 million tonnes to 600 million tonnes -in the next 5 years and work towards enhancing agriculture produce – with energy production, cost, saving. increased arable lands – release them from the grip of real estate tycoons, satellite communication for advanced warnings – pest control, floods, earthquake, tsunami: better yield and enhanced seeds capabilities. There are plenty of opportunities for all, indeed for the whole humanity.

17. Release the funds from Swiss Banks that would be useful for enhancing social values. If someone in the world can suggest better way to get the Swiss Money other than what Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdevji and Assange have initiated please let me know.

18. UNGC where UNCAC is a component part for Corporate and UNCAC for Government will ensure a Government for the People. Create a society of values and immense profits for all. iPad and Nuclear Submarines if needed one can always buy not the social values.

UNCAC therefore is the most important document ever created on this earth. Lokpal Bill enables the corrupt to take to the Lokpal but after the event takes place by which time more atrocities could be committed whereas UNCAC enables the Preventive measures that would enable stopping corruption per se. It is a powerful document given to the people of India and this will have to be fully made use of to eradicate the – insidious plague.

Tailpiece

NGO Organisations without exception should invest in technology for creation of databases to keep track of the corruption level in every project undertaken by the government departments, be it customs or excise or CWG or 2G or highways, that I will be too willing to assist them. Remember it costs you just a tuppence. Civil Obedience Movement is not for the timid. It is purely personal and there is no need to glorify any other person either as a follower or a leader. It is one’s own asset. Corporate India must take a lead and join the Civil Obedience Movement for their own sake to reduce the business risks.

Jayaraman Rajah Iyer

Kodaikanal, Friday the 13th, May, 2011

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