Author Releases “Corporateering Quotient”
PORTLAND — Industry groups have long rated regions for how “business friendly” they are. A nationally known consumer advocate and a state public interest group today released a scorecard measuring how Portland compares to other major cities in controlling corporate power and unwarranted industry intrusions into the lives and culture of residents.
The groups, spearheaded by Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), rated Portland a “B,” the second highest rating in a national comparison. The Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) joined in the announcement.
Portland ranks ahead of Seattle (“C+”), Los Angeles (“C”), Boston (“C”), and Philadelphia (“C-“) on factors such as privacy rights, whistleblower protections, commercialization of education, and protection of community space. Portland ranks behind San Francisco (“A-“). State scorecards are available at: www.corporateering.org
The “corporateering quotient” is based on a term coined by FTCR executive director Jamie Court in his new book, Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom And What You Can Do About It (Tarcher/Putnam), which Publisher’s Weekly says is “keeping the muckraking tradition alive.”
“Corporateering” describes when large corporations prioritize their gain over the individual’s and society’s. Court hopes to introduce the word into popular discourse in order to give the public a way to describe when corporations act inappropriately.
“The public needs a new yardstick to measure corporate power other than a company’s stock price,” said Court. “Corporations steal more than our money but also fundamental freedoms such as the right to privacy and to raise one’s own child free of aggressive marketing. Corporate societal offenses must be discussed if they are to be prevented. The ‘corporateering quotient’ measures to what degree industries put themselves above the individual and society.”
The quotient gives points for and against the region in 9 areas. For example, Portland received points for having the public recourse of the ballot initiative process and controlling corporate advertising on school campuses. But it lost points because of lack of state financial privacy protections for consumers. Following is a list of the grades in each area. For detailed explanation for the reasoning behind each measurement, the complete Portland Quotient can be viewed at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/corporate/pr/Portland_Quotient.pdf
“We need to do more to protect the privacy of Oregonians. Current protections in Oregon are lax, bordering on complete disregard for consumer privacy,” said Steve Dixon of OSPIRG. “Oregonians support strong environmental protections that require polluters to pay when they pollute. But President Bush has disregarded the well-being of our residents by directing his EPA to de-fund clean-up of the Baxter Creosoting plant in Portland.”
Privacy Rights: D
The extent to which individuals can protect their personal information from being bought and sold by corporations.
“Pay to Play”: D
The influence of corporate money in the political process.
Commercialization of Schools: B
Advertising and commercialism in schools.
Public Recourse: A-
The power of the people to counter corporate control.
Media Independence: B
The extent of corporate ownership of our airwaves and print media.
Protection of Community Space: C+
The impact of corporate branding in our cultural lives.
Legal Rights: B+
The power of corporations to limit the individual’s legal rights and remedies when companies break the law or harm us.
Whistleblower Protections & Executives’ Duties: B+
The degree to which workers’ dissent is respected and executives’ disclosure is required.
Environmental Degradation: B
The impact of corporations on our environmental health.
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