Exploitation in State and Private Sectors

By Dr. Tilak S. Fernando8711.psd

Private companies are owned by multiple of shareholders and overseen by a board of directors consisting of hired business managerial staff or those who have been promoted through the ranks to the board with share options. Private corporate businesses engaged in trading are sometimes known as unlisted companies. They are less detectable amidst public trading counterparts with fat profit margins that run into billions and take a major slice of the world economy.

Existence of 'big guns' in private companies is a common feature. They become the sole decision makers and act in an absolutely ruthless manner leaving no stone unturned in achieving their own objectives. These so-called 'yes' men may not condone any sleazy and distasteful programmes proposed by a trickle of those who 'crack the whip' in many instances and force these 'yes men' to turn a blind eye and turn 'injustice into law and resistance to become duty.' These types of corporate models have also been applied to the State sector in the form of government-owned corporations.

The irony with these 'big guns' is that they keep on bragging about immeasurable programmes, forgetting the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is the corporation's initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company's effects on environmental and social well-being. In doing so, they tend to forget the fact that "charity begins at home."

Egoism

To maximize and boost up their egos, the 'play-actors' get hold of naïve media men and women to manipulate and get such fabrications publicised in the form of commercials and advertorials along with the 'mug faces' of the key troupers to create, impress and condition the public with their ulterior motives of gaining adequate mileage. This becomes the secret behind their deceptive means of creating a compassionate corporate image.

These 'head honchos' are unable to get about unless they travel in plush, chauffer-driven, luxury vehicles that cost millions of rupees. Some, in fact, require a fleet of vehicles, instead of one vehicle for their spouses' use, to do marketing for their homes, shopping and to take kids to schools and back. It is rather strange that no one bothers about their getting approved of huge colossal entertainment allowances, including medical facilities, foreign holidays, first class travel in air travel and other expenses encompassing their families; finally, at the end of the day by consenting themselves to 'huge emoluments and bonuses.'

Illustrious big wigs

Even if the staff do and feel bad about it, what can they do after all? One wonders how the majority of the public will react, if at least some ideas of what these few big time illustrious big wigs earnings are exposed. Would the public assimilate such a disgusting defeatist view? This in fact is the basic reason how and why the exploitation has taken place in this country for years.

The same is virtually the case with government, semi-government and other public enterprise entities to a lesser extent where in most cases the senior management regulates emoluments by way of salary and related allowances. In such a backdrop, one cannot avoid the favourites of the politicos (who bleed the people and the country of its wealth for their own personal gains) and bureaucrats 'showering themselves with perks' in a bid to get 'on par' situation with the private enterprise big boys, at least in their mindsets.

What is the dire need for these obstinate 'big guns' who do not appear to have any grey matter in their 'puny brains,' need to run about in super luxury vehicles costing millions of rupees? Any foreigner taking a glance at the latest models and variety of luxury vehicles and SUVs in Sri Lanka will certainly get the wrong impression that people in this nation island are an affluent lot, wide across the board, even with the world's record breaking car prices and luxury vehicle taxes prevalent in this country.

Skeletons out of those corporate 'big guns' cupboards could be pulled out to find out to what extent they dabble in duplicity only when spoken to some of the employees in these enterprises. It is needless to say that the 'blue-eyed boys' get extra crumbs off the plates of the bosses all the way.

Self-employed professionals

Self-employed professionals are no better in this equation. A considerable percentage of these entrepreneurs (who work for themselves as freelance or owners of a business) are the ones who have been benefited out of the 'free education in the country's universities at the cost of the taxpayer. Such categories consist of many a field that includes law, medicine, engineering, architecture, management, economics and other disciplines. Once they become professionals why do they become hell bent on charging exorbitant and unconscionable fees for their services from the public? It is such a disgrace that money has become an insatiable temptation today among professionals in this country where ethics and human aspects are totally allowed to go unheeded.

The legal vocation was once regarded as a noble profession, but sad to observe how such a profession that once considered as a first-class career has deteriorated or to put in a crude phrase "gone to the dogs." Could those who dedicate themselves to work for the sick and infirm, and take the Hippocratic Oath (medicos) in order to alleviate pain and disease of their fellow human beings be called doctors of medicine or ‘dosthara’ anymore, whose aim appears to run their private clinics to fatten their bank account balances out of people's suffering? This is applicable to other professions too, not to mention other occupations including teaching.

Vital qualities

From time immemorial folks in this nation island possessed three vital qualities such as integrity nobility and piety, which managed to turn this country into a blessed land and be recognised as Dharmadeepa. In the current deteriorating circumstances, our forefathers are certain to reel in their graves if only they could see what transformation has taken within this Dharmistic society at present that is impregnated with greed, jealousy and selfishness? What input could these so-called patriotic people contribute to the up and coming younger generation in this country expect keep on bragging about being patriotic overtly but behaving in a most ghastly manner covertly?

Needless to say, red warning lights are flashing and alarm bells keep on tolling ceaselessly for these "rich and the super rich" big guns and politicos and their inner circles to change their ghastly acts of bleeding the people and the country's wealth for their selfish gains before they confront a bloody mayhem.

The clergy of all faiths too has an enormous and responsible role to play. Immediate and remedial action is needed to uplift the lot of the poor people and alleviate their misery.

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