You are here

Google "exploiting a desperate town" for more corporate welfare

You can tell a lot about the true soul of people by how they treat the vulnerable and disadvantaged; do they naturally seek to help and protect those in need or do they instinctively seek to exploit others weaknesses for their own monetary or other gain?

  • Or after a disaster, do people help with supplies, water, and a helping hand or do they opportunistically price gouge or seek to make a quick buck off of others misfortune? 

Despite Google's infamous words in its "Don't be evil" motto, its actions recently in dealing with the job-loss ravaged town of Lenoir, North Carolina gives us a sad and disappointing glimpse into the real soul of Google -- the Silicon Valley titan and leading brand in the world.

BusinessWeek just published an outstanding government/human interest story called: "The High Cost of Wooing Google" where it chronicles the story of how Google exploited the "down-on-its-luck" town of Lenoir, North Carolina with hardball negotiating tactics to extract :  "a package of tax breaks, infrastructure upgrades, and other goodies valued at $212 million over 30 years, or more than $1million for each of the 210 jobs Google said it eventually hoped to create in Lenoir."

The BusinessWeek article continued:

  • "Some felt bullied. "It's simply unconscionable from an ethics standpoint for this company to go in from this very unfair bargaining position," says Robert F. Orr, a former North Carolina Supreme Court justice running for governor. "These are business decisions by the smartest businesspeople in the world, and it's just exploiting a desperate town."
     

I have long thought that Google's "Don't be Evil" ethical standard was among the lowest ethics bar in the Fortune 1000. The definition of "evil" is immoral or wicked. I think most every American would agree that, at an absolute minimum, we expect and hope that our fellow man and publicly-traded companies would strive for more than not being wicked or immoral?

Watch what Google does...not what it says.

  • Google "exploited a desperate town" that was so starved for economic development that it would do just about anything to attract attention and jobs.
    • Google's behavior is the ethical equivalent of price-gouging Huricaine Katrina victims for food, water, and passage to safety -- just becuase they had the power to do it.  

Let's be very clear what this incident was all about -- a backroom, sophisticated corporate welfare scheme.

  • Google sure does have a nose for corporate welfare!
  • Google extracted, under duress, a $212 million wealth transfer over 30 years from the high-unemployment city of Lenoir to the dotcom billionaires at Google -- with no commitment to operate in Lenoir for even a minimum period.
    • Seem like a fair and honorable deal to you? 
Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths