This past week at Fordham University, a business school program called GLOBE–which students can participate in to receive a designation on their diploma and transcripts–hosted its annual week of lectures and programming focusing on international business. Students seeking this designation were required to go to at least two of the events this week and although I am not a business student, I found myself attending two presentations regardless.
Chalk it up to naivety, but I thought when I was going to business school programs that I might actually find a few individuals who were pro free-markets, against excessive regulation and actually pro-business. Silly me! The two events I went to were dominated by liberal (I’m not even positive that’s an accurate term for their brand of leftism) speakers who went on to decry wealth accumulation and what they viewed as excessive compensation for executives as well as socially-unconscious business practices by international companies.
Perhaps the most laughable solution to the “problem” of executive compensation came from a Fordham professor of sociology who was eager to share a “new” (her word) idea of how to determine compensation for all business people and employees–not just executives. This new idea essentially boils down to allowing the American people to vote on compensations under the premise that the more democratic a decision is, the more egalitarian compensations will be.
My first response? This new idea is about as new at Lenin! The Communists of yore may not have proposed direct democracy on the question of compensation, but they sought equality in income through redistribution, which is little different than utilizing the tyranny of democracy to limit certain individuals’ rights to make a higher than standard living. The means may be different, but when the ends are the same, equality by democracy is little better than equality by communist dictate.
To be fair, this panel featured three speakers- two leftists and one capitalist. And while I won’t begrudge the capitalist being outnumbered by two to one (a three member panel must have a bias one way or the other) I do begrudge universities consistently inviting the least eloquent of conservatives to offer rebuttal. Was a conservative present? Yes. But it does little good and shows the university’s bias when they consistently choose a poor exemplar of our beliefs.
The second event focused on international businesses’ social responsibility but this one didn’t even feign balance as essentially all of the panelists were employees of the United Nations (one was a professor from South Korea who backed up everything the other panelists said). After paying lip service to the primary purpose of business, which is to make a profit, the panelists went on to lambaste international businesses and corporations as being too powerful and too much out for their own and their shareholders’ good.
One can be sure that if the UN had more regulatory and enforcement powers these individuals would have been promulgating a different prescription, but instead, due only to their lack of power, they use the authority, status and influence of the UN to pressure companies in to being “socially responsible”. It may sound benign enough, but take this example which one speaker offered as an exemplar for other companies to follow: an air conditioning company based in China put out a set of guidelines for its employees to follow in their everyday lives. Some suggestions were benign enough, such as ride a bike instead of driving a car. But the company’s fifth suggestion? Do your best not to use air conditioning! This coming from an air conditioning company!
Although I may not be majoring in business, at least now I can tell friends and underclassmen who are considering it to consider again. We do not have a business school, we have an anti-business school.
Chadwick Ciocci is a conservative student activist at Fordham University.