Busted Halo

Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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November 17th, 2011

My Thoughts on Corporate Greed


While I am partial to things that people may classify as hippie — like peace, love, granola — I don’t very well understand the Occupy movement. I don’t quite understand why people are camping out there. I don’t understand why they can’t just take shifts and then go home. I don’t understand why they are asking for donations of food and clothing. I don’t really want to understand how bathing and bathroom breaks work around there. But what I wholeheartedly agree with is that something needs to be done about corporate greed.

I know there are a lot of reasons for the economic recession but a huge cause of it was some people thinking their pocketbooks were infinitely more important than the people they were swindling. And this has been the model for most corporations. It truly is disgusting. The idea that someone could deceive others, knowing that it would drive others to total ruin, just so they could buy their sixth house off the coast of France is just flat out horrifying. How we have allowed these people to rise to power and stay in power is beyond me.

In Matthew 25:31-46, it is clear how we should treat our neighbors. We have the responsibility to care for them and if we don’t, well, there is no way that we will get to heaven. We cannot love God and ignore the hungry, the homeless, the sick. The idea that business and profit is more important than people is totally contrary to the message of Jesus.

There is a big energy company that I am well acquainted with. They are just as corporate as the next, but they do a lot of good in the community. I know an employee that has worked there a long time. He has been at the forefront of the company’s movement to encourage all of its workers to get active and help in their community. He has encouraged his coworkers to join him in working with the numerous nonprofits he is involved with. Whole departments have gone out on weekends together to volunteer with the March of Dimes or help disadvantaged youth. Of course this company’s goal is to be profitable but it strives to be part of the community and give to the community.

Sounds pretty great, huh? Well, another — bigger — company just bought this company. Why is this company bigger? Because it also works for profit, which isn’t of itself a bad thing. But the bigger company does not value community involvement or community partnerships. It wants its employees to drive to work, clock in, clock out, and get home. Its complete focus is on profit and it allows for no distraction from the clear goal of making money. The decades of building community partnerships is out the window. The new company does not care about making the world a better place. It just cares about filling its pockets. A business model with a conscience has been replaced with a business model with only one bottom line: greed.

Greedy corporations keep winning and keep getting bigger. So maybe I don’t understand these Occupy people, but I’m happy someone is trying to something about this huge problem. I’m glad that this message is being shouted at anyone who will listen to it. I’m not sure what steps need to be taken, but we can’t just hope for change, we have to be the change and, if we’re lucky, we’ll witness a time when “the longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history rhyme.

The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and five daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • a tegeler

    Corporations cannot be greedy. They are not human. If you want to do something about greed, you must start at its source. That would be people, you and me to be exact. Corporations can not sell anything “we the people” don’t buy. Simple as that.

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