Author Releases "Corporateering Quotient"
SAN FRANCISCO -- Industry groups have long rated regions for how "business friendly" they are. A nationally known consumer advocate and a state environmental group today released a scorecard measuring how San Francisco 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 San Francisco an "A-," the highest rating in a national comparison. Environment California joined in today's announcement.
San Francisco ranks ahead of Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia on factors such as privacy rights, whistleblower protections, commercialization of education, and protection of community space.
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, San Francisco received points for strong financial privacy protections for consumers and bans on corporate advertising on school campuses. But it lost points because of media consolidation and the lack of legal rights for individuals under California law. Following is a list of the grades in each area. For detailed explanation for the reasoning behind each measurement, view the San Francisco Corporateering Quotient at: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/corporate/pr/SF_Quotient.pdf
One of the areas the quotient assessed was environmental degradation, giving the city a B minus. Evan Paul, Field Director for Environment California, said that, "Overall, San Franciscans should applaud the city's environmental record. San Francisco's 'precautionary principle' in particular, stands in stark contrast to the cost-benefit analyses of the corporateers that devalue human lives in the interests of unfettered commerce," Paul said.
Privacy Rights: A
The extent to which individuals can protect their personal information from being bought and sold by corporations.
Legal Rights: C-
The power of corporations to limit the individual's legal rights and remedies when companies break the law or harm us.
Public Recourse: A-
The power of the people to counter corporate control.
Protection of Community Space: B+
The impact of corporate branding in our cultural lives.
Commercialization of Schools: B+
Advertising and commercialism in schools.
"Pay to Play": A-
The influence of corporate money in the political process.
Media Independence: B
The extent of corporate ownership of our airwaves and print media.
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.
"As a parent, I'm happy that San Francisco schools are kept free from the commercial barrage that assaults kids everywhere they go," Caroline Grannan, executive vice president, San Francisco PTA. "As a strong advocate for children's health, PTA enthusiastically supports the school district's new healthy food standards. We hope they set a course that school districts nationwide will follow."
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