Murrietta the Moral Fights Corporate Greed
Murrietta the Moral has a problem. Her boss, Maurine the Mercenary, wants to develop the idyllic Bullseyesian tribe’s land for Capitalism Berry farming. She thinks that by cozying up to corporations, she can increase the province’s tax revenues and help out under-funded schools. Oh, the naivete.
The corporate exploitation of indigenous peoples’s resources has always been a pet peeve for Murrietta. Those bastards just want to enrich themselves, they aren’t thinking about the best interests of the indigenous people. Just thinking about it make Murietta the Moral angry.
Still, her boss wants her to screen a proposal from Corey Corporation, CEO of Angels Incorporated. Murrietta suspects this will be a massive waste of time, but it’s still her job. Whatever.
Corey Corporation knocks twice on Murrietta’s office door and takes a seat on the other side of her desk. He immediately spreads out several laminated sheets and draws her attention to the first, titled “sustainable business plan for partnering with indigenous populations.”
“Murrietta,” Corey Corporation begins. “I want you to know first of all that my business values its reputation very highly. This is because ethical business practices and good community relations are strongly linked to higher corporate profits.”
Murrietta is irritated that the only reason Corey Corporation has mentioned for ethical practices depends on his personal avarice. These corporate types are all the same. Damned greedsters.
“The first phase of my plan is to offer every Bullseyesian tribesman a job on the Capitalism Berry farms,” Corey said. “We want this to be a partnership. We’ve found that if our partners feel invested they put much more effort into productivity. This, as you can imagine, is good for both our profits and theirs.”
“You don’t seem to care very much about the Bullseyesians very much for their own sake,” Murrietta the Moral says. “I don’t know if I can trust someone who is only out to help themselves.”
Corey Corporation is a little surprised by that, but moves quickly to his second laminated card.
“We also plan to form a cooperative venture with the Bullseyesian leaders to explore tourism opportunities,” Corey Corporation says. “We intend to make the Bullseyesians part owners in this venture, for the same reasons I mentioned above. This will give the entire community vastly more choices to determine its future than if we simply leave them in isolation.”
As if they will choose anything but corporate corruption and the destruction of their ancient traditions, Murrietta the Moral thought. Still, she had to remain professional.
“Well, Mr. Corporation,” she says. “I’ll look your proposal over, but I don’t think you have much of a chance. We value the Bullseyesians for their own sakes. We care about their ancient traditions and we don’t want to corrupt all that with outside contamination. It’s pretty clear we don’t share your values.”
Corey Corporation was a little frustrated, but as soon as he reached his car, he called Maurine the Mercenary in an effort to go over Murrietta the Moral’s head. He found her to be much more ameniable.
“How could you let those corporate greedsters into our province?” Murrietta the Moral asks.
“Their proposal is fair, and it will earn our province a lot of tax revenue,” Maurine the Mercenary answers. “We have voters to think about. They want better funding for the schools and better roads. This is the best way to do it.”
“But these corporate greedsters don’t care about anything but money!”
“Their motives are not my concern,” Maurine the Mercenary says. “Their proposal will have good results.”
Murrietta threw her hands up and cursed.
“I am not going to let you exploit the Bullseyesian land for Capitalism Berry farming. Just wait until I tell Fred Freedom about your cut throat, dog eat dog approach to politics!”
With that, Murrietta the moral quit her job, called social activist Fred Freedom and arranged the next step in her fight for justice. He joined her at a fair trade certified organic restaurant and got right to discussing strategy.
“Well,” he says. “I’ve been looking into Angels Incorporated and they seem to really value their image. We can hit them where it hurts if we protest in front of their offices and show the world how they want to exploit these indigenous people.”
Two weeks later, they and several hundred other protesters formed a blockade around Angels Incorporated headquarters. Chanting slogans and shaming greedsters, the protesters completely shut down Corey Corporation’s planning meetings. The news vans appeared as Fred Freedom yelled into his bullhorn.
“Hey corporations, we don’t want your dog eat dog attitudes, we don’t want your greed, we don’t want you destroying beautiful indigenous cultures!”
Corey Corporation called his planners, marketers and outreach staff into the boardroom. His frustration was clearly evident, but he wanted to put on a brave face.
“Guys,” he says. “I’m really sorry, but this project isn’t going to continue. I was really excited to get into Capitalism Berry farming, but the damage to our reputation is simply too great. We can’t throw good money after bad, so I’m calling it off. For all of you who’ve been working so hard on this project, I’m sorry.”
Corey Corporation came down to the steps in front of Angels Incorporated as the crowd jeered and yelled. He held up his hands and requested Fred Freedom’s bullhorn. When it was quiet enough to talk, Corey Corporation admitted defeat.
“Angels Incorporated is officially ending its involvement in the Capitalism Berry project. That is all.”
Murrietta the Moral, Fred Freedom and the protesters erupted into applause at this announcement. They danced in the streets as Corey Corporation made the lonely walk back into his office buidling.
As Fred Freedom and Murrietta the Moral celebrate, a furious Maurine the Mercenary gets on the phone with Danielle Demonic, CEO of Bastards Inc.
“Danielle,” Maurine says. “I am going to develop that damned land. No way in hell I continue to under-fund our provinces’ schools because we’re wasting this valuable land on hunter gatherers. Are you willing to deal with the negative PR?”
Danielle Demonic laughs a little. She checks an email from Bastard Inc’s Baby Seal Clubbing Division and polishes her blood red nails before answering.
“Well Maurine,” she says. “I like to think we specialize in doing business where squeamish firms fear to go. In the easy types of markets Angels Incorporated usually works in we have a hard time matching their levels of community integration and customer relations. In stable regulatory environments, they simply play better with others. In fact, less combative and more ethical companies tend to be more profitable in their industries.”
Danielle cringes a little bit. Offering even token praise for those pansies at Angels Incorporated makes her skill crawl. She continues along a different track.
“We are a tough company. We develop and we don’t give up. If Murrietta the Moral thinks she can scare us off, she has a hell of a surprise coming.”
“What sort of surprise?” Maurine the Mercenary asks.
“I have Brownwater Security on speed dial,” Danielle says. “We’ll fire-hose those hippies if we don’t think we can wait them out. If that doesn’t work, my litigation department has a very itchy trigger finger. Tying opponents up in court until they go bankrupt is something we specialize in.”
“How do you plan to deal with the Bullseyesians?” Maurine the Mercenary asks. “I have to say Angels Incorporated’s strategy here really impressed me.”
“Joint ventures really aren’t our style,” Danielle Demonic says. “We would prefer to undermine the Bullseyesian claims to the land to begin with. All these native groups are pathetically weak and there’s little chance they have any formal claim to the Capitalism Berries. On the off chance they do fight back, we’ll tie them up in court until they go bankrupt. With any luck, we’ll be able to evict them all in a few years.”
“That’s much harsher than I would prefer,” Maurine the Mercenary says.
“Well,” Danielle answers. “You tried playing nice and look where that got you. It takes a much tougher, nastier company to battle the sorts of idealistic hippies and bad PR you’ve got on your hands. My company will stay within the letter of the law, mostly, but we are here to play hardball. Are we going to do this or not?”
Maurine thought for a moment. She didn’t really want to work with Bastards Inc, but she wasn’t sure she had a choice. Angels Incorporated wasn’t coming back and the voters still wanted better funding for their schools. If Maurine didn’t raise the money, she’d lose her next election and somebody else would.
“Fine,” Maurine said. “I’ll sign. But please, be nice.”
“You have no leverage for making that request,” Danielle Demonic said.
“Fred,” Murietta the Moral says. “My boss brought in Bastards Inc. We tried to protest, but they turned these hired goons loose on the protesters. We went to the news, but these corporate greedsters don’t seem to care. I don’t know what to do.”
“We’re going to have to litigate,” Fred Freedom says. “But that’s going to take years. In the mean time, I guess we just have to continue protesting.”
Murietta the Moral did indeed continue protesting. However, getting turnout grew more and more difficult and Bastards Inc proved incredibly indifferent to public relations attacks. In retaliation for opposing their operations, Bastards Inc. made a point of not hiring Bullseyesian tribesmen. Bastards Inc. made the situation even worse by bulldozing massive roads throughout Bullseyesian territory and evicting “illegal” Bullseyesian residents whenever they proved inconvenient. Bastards Inc pursued a parallel strategy of massive litigation.
Conducting business this way was expensive and far less profitable than a typical Angels Incorporated venture, but it was still more profitable than leaving the land to hunter gathering activities. Maurine the Mercenary was not particularly happy, but the tax base of her province did expand. The voters were somewhat queasy, but they had demanded better schools and better roads, which they had received. Maurine the Mercenary survived her next election.
Bastards Incorporated eventually lost their court cases after several years. During that time Bastards Inc had displaced several thousand Bullseyesian tribesmen, despoiled the land to the point it was no longer attractive for tourism and created communities of Capitalism Berry farmers who intended to continue litigating to protect their new homes.
However, not all was lost. Fred Freedom called Murrietta the Moral to ask for news.
“Please tell me we have some progress on this awful corporate mess,” he says.
“Yes Fred,” Murrietta the Moral says. “Our lobbying paid off. The national assembly is going to outlaw all outside development of Bullseyesian territory! We won! The Bullseyesians are going to be safe from corporate abuse forever now!”
Murrietta the Moral walked into her office and announced the news. The crowd of activists and workers erupted into applause as Murrietta basked in her triumph.
Johnny Von Crime sat in his house watching the news about Bastards Inc being removed from Bullseyesian territory. The thought of all those Capitalism Berries going to waste moved him near to tears. If somebody with real stones moved in, there’d be a fortune in black market Capitalism Berries.
“Secretary,” Johnny Von Crime says. “Call me Paulo the Enforcer. We’re going to need to discuss a new business opportunity.”
Paulo the Enforcer tucked the illegal Baretta 9 mm into his waistband, put out his cigarette and walked into Johnny Von Crime’s underground base.
“What’s up,” Paulo asks. “You got somebody who needs persuasion?”
“I think that’s very likely, Paulo. You see, there’s a bunch of jungle bastards down in Bullseyesia who think they deserve to take all the Capitalism Berries for themselves. I think that’s very, selfish, if you know what I mean.”
Paulo nodded and grinned.
“So Paulo,” Johnny says. “I want you to go down to Bullseyesia and teach those rat bastards some manners. Be persuasive. Make them see things our way.”
Paulo boarded the next flight to Bullseyesia and met with the local thugs. Sourcing blackmarket weapons is always easy, so that didn’t pose a problem. With Bastards Inc out of the picture, there was nobody with modern weapons, communications or transportation to oppose them. The dispossessed former Capitalism Berry farmers proved very willing to help anyone who would support their now illegal farming claims and thus Paulo had an easy source of local knowledge.
Paulo the Enforcer was also an entrepreneurial man and thus he soon expanded his operations into endangered species smuggling and illegal deforestation. The wishes and desires of the Bullseyesians were similarly easy to deal with. Paulo simply shot anyone who objected. He explained the rationale to Johnny Von Crime on one of his calls home.
“I see you’ve been very persuasive,” Johnny says.
“Yes,” Paulo says. “These indigenous people are too weak to defend themselves and, frankly, being weak and in possession of valuable things is a death sentence. I’m just doing the work of mother nature. Granted, they are wising up and arming, but gang wars are nothing new to people like you and me.”
Maurine the Mercenary lost her next election. With Bastards Inc. forced out of Bullseyesia, the taxes dried up and the schools went back to being under-funded. The voters blamed her and this turn of events, understandably, made Maurine bitter. In her frustration, she called Murrietta the Moral.
“Are you happy now, Murrietta?” Maurine the Mercenary asks. “You not only ruined our chance to get Angels Incorporated but then you drove out Bastards Inc. Now I get no taxes, the Bullseyesians are fighting for their lives against Paulo the Enforcer and our entire province is being overrun with organized crime. All because of you!”
Murrietta the Moral thought this was complete bull crap and said so.
“Just because I won’t settle for useful greed? Is that why you have a problem? I will oppose everyone with selfish motives. If Paulo the Enforcer and the mafia were more civic minded, this wouldn’t be a problem. You accomodated corporate greed and this is what you get. No compromise. We need to support moral people all the time.”
“Have you looked at the consequences of your actions?” Maurine the Mercenary was almost beside herself.
“It’s an awful situation,” Murrietta the Moral says. “But we’re not going to make it better by feeding into people’s greed. My intentions were good. My conscience is clear.”