Monday, April 15, 2013

Tata and Kony: "lamb" and "tiger" in two very different human enterprises

It was Shakespeare who wrote the words, "What a piece of work is man!"
And it was William Blake who asked, in his poem, The Tiger, "Did he who made the lamb make thee?"
There were introductions, via television, to both the human tiger and the human lamb in yesterday's offerings, one from the corporate world in India, the other from the jungles of Central Africa.
First, from India, Ratan Tata, spokesperson for the large mega-corporation operating under the family name Tata, whose members own barely two percent of the shares while non-profit agencies caring for the poor, providing medical care and education for India's poorest own approximately 65% of the shares of the many companies that constitute the Tata "empire".
A complex of corporate operations in multiple sectors, including industrial, agricultural, hospitality, Tata, although it has bought out many corporations, has never undertaken a hostile take-over. "If the company does not want us, we do not wish to take them over," commented their family's spokesman on CNN's GPS with Fareed Zakaria, yesterday morning. Also, when anyone of the 450,000 employees does not comply with the high ethical standards of the many companies, Tata has been known to pursue such an employee into the courts through prosecution and even to a jail sentence, to demonstrate their commitment to high ethical standards for all others in their employ.
With two thirds of the shares owned by charitable trusts, that means that the same two thirds of the profits go to their efforts, what Ratan Tata declares as a 'noble purpose' of the work that the group of companies does. "What we are doing is plowing the profits back to the people of India," a concept almost unknown and unheard of in the current operations of most corporations whose existence seem depend on the drive for profit, while a minimal percent is dedicated to charitable purposes.
Imagine the major corporations of the world turning two-thirds of their shares over to charitable trusts, along with two-thirds of the profits just what kind of world that would create....very different from the kind of have's versus have-nots that we see today.
On the opposite side of the human equation, we met Joseph Kony, warlord, child abductor, terrorist, and cult leader operating in four African countries, raping, cutting ears, lips and limbs from people to instill fear, and conducting havoc for his own personal acquisition of power. His introduction came from the CBS program, "60 Minutes," with host Lara Logan, who accompanied the U.S. Colonel who now leads a Special Forces unit charged with helping the African militaries to find Joseph Kony and to put an end to his recruitment of child soldiers, some of who have defected, and are now helping with his capture. Kony has abducted some 25,000 young boys and girls, turning the boys into soldiers and the girls into slaves in a sex trade.
Starting in Uganda, Kony has put on a religious "mask" in his attempt to seduce young boys and men to joining his "campaign of terror". The jungles where he hides are so thick that Kony and his army are very difficult to find, in an area being searched comparable to the size of Texas.
Literally, a human "beast", Kony presents precisely the opposite of the image presented by Ratan Tata, former executive in the Tata Group of holdings, and after two decades, the United States has finally decided to enter the search for Kony and his brigade.
The world will continue to evolve, hopefully in a manner that enhances the lessons being taught through action by companies like the Tata group, and also in a manner that reduces the emergence of the kind of activity and desperation that is emblematic of Joseph Kony. We also need more urgency from more sources to combat the Joseph Kony's and more education in the history, tradition and ethical standards and principles that are incarnated by the Tata group of companies.

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