Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Oliver Hartwich writes:
As far as corporate scandals go, they do not come bigger than the Volkswagen affair. Yes, other companies make mistakes too. Except Volkswagen’s sin was no mistake. It was the deliberate deception of their customers, regulators and the general public.
In fact, it was worse. Volkswagen wilfully risked contributing to widespread health problems by allowing its fleet to emit several times the allowed levels of pollutants.
There is no excuse for what Volkswagen has done, not even that the German carmaker is unlikely to be the only one cheating emissions tests.
As someone who generally favours free markets, I am outraged by Volkswagen’s behaviour. It is precisely this kind of arrogant and potentially criminal behaviour that can give capitalism a bad name.
Markets are subject to rules, and market participants must play by them. No company has the right to put itself above the law.
And this was so flagrant. Special software that would show lower emissions during tests. That is not something one rogue employee can do. This must have been signed off at very high levels.
There is, however, some consolation in the Volkswagen case for free-marketers. The market’s reaction to the Volkswagen scandal has been exemplary: Before even a cent of compensation or fines had to be paid, Volkswagen’s punishment has already arrived in the form of a battered share price.
Volkswagen’s share price crash shows that markets are working. The crashed share price reflects not only future liabilities but also the loss of reputation and reduced demand for VW cars. It thus shows that companies behaving unethically ultimately face the toughest judge there is: their customers. This should serve as a warning to other companies.
At least with markets, we have a chance to punish those who behave unethically by withdrawing our custom from them. We cannot do likewise when we are dealing with government agencies. If a government department, a council or a Crown agency behaved criminally or irresponsibly, we often cannot switch providers but we are stuck with them.
The shareholders of VW will demand blood from those responsible, as they have destroyed billions of dollars of value from their investment.Tags: NZ Initiative, Oliver Hartwich, Volkswagen
IRAN’S soccer association has been blasted as “unethical” following bombshell reports that eight members of its women’s team are men.
“[Eight players] have been playing with Iran’s female team without completing sex change operations,” Mojtabi Sharifi, an official close to the Iranian league, told a local news website.
Officials have now ordered gender testing of the entire national squad and leading league players, The Telegraph in the UK reported. The eight players have not been named.
The women’s team plays in hijab headscarves, long-sleeved jerseys and tracksuit pants.
So that’s why they play in hijabs!Tags: Iran
The Herald reports:
The Dalai Lama has suggested that his successor could be female – but only if she is “very attractive”.
The spiritual leader said there was no reason a woman could not replace him, adding that she would be more biologically suited to show affection and compassion.
Speaking to the BBC, the Dalai Lama recalled how he had originally made a comment to a French journalist about 15 years ago.
He said: “I think females should take more important role.
“I told the reporter, if a female Dalai Lama comes her face must be – should be – very attractive.”
When asked for clarification, he continued: “When female Dalai Lama comes, then that female must be attractive, otherwise not much use.”
I guess it is proof that all religious leaders can say stupid things.Tags: Dalai Lama
The Fair Work Commission has found that a Tasmanian woman was bullied by a work colleague who unfriended her on Facebook after a confrontation in the workplace.
It is part of a wider bullying claim that also allegedly involved hostile behaviour and inappropriate comments.
Rachael Roberts, a Launceston real estate agent, complained to the commission that she was bullied by her colleague Lisa Bird, leaving her with depression and anxiety.
The Facebook incident took place in January this year, after Ms Bird allegedly called Ms Roberts a “naughty little schoolgirl running to the teacher” during an aggressive meeting in the tea room.
Ms Roberts told the commission she left the office crying and when she later checked Facebook to see if Ms Bird has commented on Facebook about the incident, she found that Ms Bird had deleted her as a Facebook friend.
Fair Work Commission deputy president Nicole Wells said in her decision that the unfriending was unreasonable behaviour
If I was Australian, I’d like to unfriend the Fair Work Commission.Tags: Facebook
In a stunning reversal of decades of copyright claims, a federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Warner/Chappell Music does not hold a valid copyright claim to the Happy Birthday To You, song.
Warner had been enforcing its copyright claim since it paid US$15 million (NZ$23m) to buy Birch Tree Group, the successor to Clayton F. Summy Co., which owned the original copyright. Royalties on the song bring in about US$2 million (NZ$3.1m) a year for Warner, according to some estimates.
Judge George H. King ruled on Tuesday (Wednesday, NZ time) that a copyright filed by the Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific arrangements of the music, not the actual song itself.
Tuesday’s ruling means that the song is now considered a public work and is free for everyone to use without fear of having to pay royalties, according to a statement from the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
A good example of the need to reform copyright law. The maximum term of copyright should be the life of the author + 20 years.Tags: copyright