A Quote by Joel Bakan on google, evil, and corporation

I think Google's founders are both a couple of guys with some high ideals which have been to some degree reflected in the way the company has been run in terms of its having a very good workplace and good employee programs, and now that they're going public they want in some ways to be able to ensure that that kind of approach continues. So they've effectively put in place this notion of "Don't Be Evil".

Now I think there are number of problems with that. The first one is: what is evil and who is going to be deciding what evil is? You can go a long way in terms of putting in various kinds of relatively normal employment practices without it being evil. Obviously if you're paying people slave wages and whatnot that would be evil, so that's the first question, but the second and I think the more profound question is: how is that idea of "Don't Be Evil" going to fit with the legally-compelled mandate of the directors and of the managers of that company to serve the best interest of the shareholders of that company? And that I think is where the problem lies. "Don't Be Evil" is a nice kind of phrase, kind of mission statement, kind of notion. But ultimately there's a legal duty and a legal obligation on the part of the company's directors and managers to do whatever needs to be done to ensure that the best interest of the shareholders are served, and that means the best financial interest of the shareholders.

Joel Bakan

Source: Interview with Joel Bakan author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: http://www.urbanvancouver.com/article/interviews/joel-bakan

Contributed by: ~C4Chaos