Nike: made by sweatshop labor; worn by child soldiers;
and dedicated to the destruction of culture worldwide.
Just do it! Don't buy Nike!

What we want you to do
1. Understand that since a legal decision in 1886, corporations have had full rights under the law, including First Amendment rights, as “persons.” However, they are able to escape the responsibilities that you and I, as individuals, must bear. Through what is known as “limited liability,” and also via a number of other factors, they are able to escape responsibility for the consequences of their actions. When our system of checks and balances was designed, insufficient attention was paid to the means by which economic institutions could subvert the government and hence such checks on their behavior. Furthermore, many of the costs that corporations incur are intangible and difficult to calculate (think of the complex effects on community welfare of a factory closure), and they are under no obligation even to try. Accounting standards apply only to direct financial costs. They have not been extended to these other effects, which are regularly of an enormous magnitude. Finally, you should grasp that a corporation’s only motive is to earn profits, and that if the incurring of social and environmental costs for which they are not held responsible better enables them to accomplish this, they will not hesitate to do so. They have no compulsion whatsoever to be upstanding social citizens. For example, all companies have an incentive to strive for monopoly market positions, and many, in return for such positions, will willingly assist the most despicable government regimes and dictators.

2. If you are employed by a company, we encourage you to track its business operations and evaluate all of the costs which are incurred. If you become aware of inappropriate and even illegal actions, you should alert top management, or, if you feel this is too risky, i.e., that you might be fired, or worse, then expose such actions as an anonymous whistleblower (please make a submission to our Boycott and Protest list).

What we intend to do
1. Working with other interested groups, we intend to push for changes to a corporation’s legal charter and other applicable regulations: to reverse the effects of the 1886 judicial decision; to eliminate limited liability; and to recreate an effective set of checks and balances (such as through the ongoing efforts to accomplish campaign funding reform).

2. Recognizing that successful activism requires movement from within as much as pressure from without, Dictator Watch encourages corporations to establish “executive risk management” positions which monitor, measure and control (limit!) all of the costs of their behavior on all of the publics and environments on which they have an impact.

The establishment of such a position would require a fundamental restructuring of the organization of a for-profit enterprise. It represents a large step beyond current efforts to create the job of “ethics officer.”

We seek the creation of the following top management position in leading international companies, with our initial goal its establishment in members of the Fortune 500.

Executive Risk Manager Job Description

In support of this, we also intend to press such corporations to develop social and environmental accounting systems which accurately measure all of their costs, including intangibles; and also seek the publication of such costs, including via product labeling, as a guide for the public to use to make rational consumption choices.


© Roland O. Watson 2001-3