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Author Releases "Corporateering Quotient"

PHILADELPHIA -- Industry groups have long rated regions for how "business friendly" they are. A nationally known consumer advocate and Pennsylvania state public interest group today released a scorecard measuring how Philadelphia compares to other major cities in controlling corporate power and unwarranted industry intrusions into the lives and culture of residents.

The effort, spearheaded by Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), rated Philadelphia a "C-", higher than other cities, but worrisome nevertheless. PennEnvironment and Keith Newman, a teacher and member of Philadelphians United to Support Public Schools, joined in the announcement.

Philadelphia ranks behind San Francisco, Portland, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle on factors such as privacy rights, whistleblower protections, commercialization of education, and protection of community space. It rates higher than New York.

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, Philadelphia received points for limiting advertising on school campuses and protecting workers when they blow the whistle on illegal corporate behavior. But it lost points because of rampant corporate naming of public spaces and the lack of state laws protecting consumer privacy. Following is a list of the grades in each area. Click here to review the Corporateering Quotient in full: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/corporate/pr/PhilCorpQuot.pdf

Commercialization of Schools: C+
Advertising and commercialism in schools.

Protection of Community Space: C-
The impact of corporate branding in our public spaces.

Media Independence: C
The extent of corporate ownership of our airwaves and print media.

Public Recourse: D
The power of the people to counter corporate control.

Privacy Rights: D
The extent to which individuals can protect their personal information from being bought and sold by corporations.

Legal Rights: B-
The power of corporations to limit the individual's legal rights and remedies when companies break the law or harm us.

"Pay to Play": D
The influence of corporate money in the political process.

Whistleblower Protections & Executives' Duties: B-
The degree to which workers' dissent is respected and executives' disclosure is required.

Environmental Degradation: C-
The impact of corporations on our environmental health.

For more information about the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) or Corporateering please visit us on the web at www.consumerwatchdog.org or www.corporateering.org

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