With the 10yr anniversary of the 9/11 attacks coming up, my mind turns to the various conspiracy theories of the world. Many of them these days revolve around large business interests, and their apparent involvement in world disasters due to their ability to profit from them.
The majority of the people in the world, work for someone. That is, there are far more employees than there are employers. I’m not sure it would be possible for that to be the reverse. I’m going to go out on a fairly sturdy-feeling limb and say there are less people in the world with first-hand experience of running a business than there are who don’t. Further it seems those who don’t contain a large proportion of people that feel business leaders got to that position purely on an ability to “be evil”. Or that is to say, bend the rules, ignore human rights or what-have-you. Basically do whatever it takes to get to the top.
Very few people have first-hand knowledge of actually running a business. I am far from a good businessman, and I acknowledge this. But a large portion of business is essentially gambling. You gamble your money to get in stock in the hope it will sell and you’ll make back more than you paid so you can pay yourself, your staff, and afford to either have some fall-back savings in future or gamble/invest even larger amounts for bigger returns in future.
If you buy in lots of food and it goes off before you can sell it, you’ve made a loss. A business owner would have to pay to have the remains properly disposed of. A “good” business owner might sell that food to a pig-farm, or find some other way to recoup some of the losses or even make a smaller profit off the larger failure. Selling unsellable electronic goods for scrap metal as another more common example.
Of course, doing this may not be legal. I’m pretty sure pigs have to be fed on approved feeds these days. But again there’s a gamble there.
The larger the business, the less likely it is a single person could be charged as the blame could be spread across many people. So the risk of recouping the loss is weighed against the likely fines or penalties that might be received. I doubt it would be hard to find examples where even if caught the business could still turn a profit from the situation after fines. Think of it like a strategy game; sacrifice a few units but still come out ahead.
The biggest businesses are essentially the ones that have proven themselves most capable of exploiting changing situations (at least previously). The level of situational exploitation they’re capable of is hard to conceive of for the majority of people. And I feel it’s because of that that most corporate conspiracy theories exist; people being unable to imagine how a business could exploit Situation-X as it happens or after the fact, so they must have been planning it to happen like that all along.
That said though, these common business practices would make it very difficult to separate any ACTUAL conspiracy from them.