Structural Violence in Business
- Nick Hanaur, a US Zillionaire, predicts the move from a capitalist society back to a feudal society. The move is driven by policies which benefit the elite and undermine the middle class. If structural violence remains unaddressed, Hanaur tells us in his article ‘The Pitchforks are coming…for us Plutocrats’, businesses will have fewer consumers because of the wealth distribution and increased inequality. Fewer cashed up consumers bring less business opportunities.
- The G20 raised the issue of multinational tax loopholes which damage those nations where the multinational presides. They undermine the wealth of a country through tax abuse, intergroup loans and subsidiary profit shifting. Funds are not reinvested for local benefit.
- There are the Australian business owners with lucrative Swiss Bank accounts. Tax treaties between these two countries are bringing the extent of the tax evasion to light. Estimations are that 10% of Australia’s richest people have been evading tax over the years. Voluntary disclosures through the ATO’s Project DO IT indicate an expected $600 million in income and $4 billion in assets had been undisclosed and untaxed. Expected tax revenue is $300 million.
- Around 275,000 small businesses are dealing in a cash economy and hence avoid tax. Charles Barnard from 4 Day Week was talking to us at the Shellharbour City Business Network on 18 March about this issue. He explained the downside of cash transactions become evident when valuating your business for a sale. The lower revenue has a direct impact on the business sales price and the type of retirement business owners can experience.
While most examples have a tax focus, there are of course others such as manufacturing overseas using (un)principled methods, investment into pollution generating industries instead of green energy, lobbying by big business etc. Yet, all examples show the self-interest and lack of focus on the common good by the business leaders involved. A leadership focus change, ethical consumerism and political intervention is the key in changing this structural violence.
Structural Violence in Politics
- Politicians decide over war and peace including military spending in readiness or preparedness for an anticipated war!? Australia was listed the 13th highest military spending nation with on the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in 2013. Military expense costs increased by $5 billion under the Abbott Government to $29 billion in 2014 and expect 5.3% of real growth per annum until 2024.
- Since the Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney in 1978 the number of terrorism victims in Australia was 113. Crickey compared this to other violent death tolls over the last 10 years. There were 2617 homicides, around 700 to 1000 women killed in domestic violence, 190 died from accidental gun discharge, 66 indigenous people died in custody, there were 22,800 suicides and 8500 deadly car accidents. Yet, politicians milk the terrorism bull for all they can.
- The Drum eloquently talks about the fear mongering by politicians. “Fear sells, and certainly anxiety wins support for…laws no matter how much they infringe on civil liberties. Fear is the currency of both sides of politics....” Hugh Mackay said in a 2007 speech that “Above all, be afraid of the corrosive and paralysing effects of fear itself. If we allow it to dull the clarity of our focus on the local issues facing us…terrorism has indeed won’. Creating a society full of perceived fear is a form of violence on the population.
Fear paralyses regardless of the context that generated it. Hence, political fear also influences business negatively. Fear throws a wedge between humanity and reduces people’s ability to function properly. When people are preoccupied they have lower productivity, are less creative, have less resilience, more health issues and are less willing to contribute in a collaborative way. To avoid the Pitchfork raising its spiky head you can do your bit by voting wisely, speaking up on issues, ensuring present actions benefit the common good not just personal interests and overcoming personal and business fears with more conscious leadership.
We can help you with conscious leadership development. See details on our in-house program.