my Bob, & John ALgeo's lecture
Nov 20, 1994 12:25 PM
by Liesel F. Deutsch
Back from the antique show. Some of it was _real_ antiques. We
admired it, then sat & watched people, then walked & looked some
more, then sat & watched again. In the middle of it all we took
an ice cream break. We had a great time, we 2 older ladies.
OK first Bob on multi-national corporations. I hope I can give
you a good picture. I took notes over the phone, and he talked
very fast. To give some weight to what he thinks & says, he has
an MBA, and his job involves working with the international
trade, but he's not working for a large corporation. He said
that the big corporations are not at fault for what's happening.
Their overseas labor standards may not be like ours, but they are
reasonably good for the country in which they operate. Their
factories are reasonably safe. They deal with labor unions, and
they pay the high end of the prevailing wage.
(LFD - A girl posed a good question from the audience of a C-Span
forum recently. She asked how we can compensate between the
American usual wages, and the much lower ones which are
considered high in 3rd world countries. If we pay little, it
affects our American workers, if we pay the 3rd world people too
much more than they're used to, it might throw their economy out
Bob also said that the multi natinal corporations do training, &
that they bring in technicians and marketing experts to teach the
people in the 3rd world how to run their own factories.
But then, you get the little sweat shops. These are
subcontractors, very often operating in free trade zones where
there are few restrictions. They are local imitations of the
large corporations. They have inferior working conditions, they
work people real hard & under poor conditions, because they're
trying to keep their costs down to keep competitive. They may be
providing parts to the large corporations.
We talked about that the various governments should create rules
to protect their workers. Bob's reply was that, just for
instance, there are 500 million unemployed Chinese, for whom
working in a 3cent an hour sweat shop beats not working at all,
and that if 1 Chinese drops dead from overwork, there's always
another ready & willing to take his place. What can the
government do given this desperate situation. How should that be
handled? Does anyone have any ideas?
If you get development in the 3rd world, he said, it feeds on
itself. With more money coming in, there's more demand for
goods, & also for better working standards.
We went through the same process in the West, he told me. They
burn rain forests, because they want to become modernized. If
you tell them, please "no", they won't listen. The 3rd world
says "no" to our labor standards. Wages keep on getting to be a
smaller & smaller part of the costs of manufacturing If it were
true that factories are all fleeing to low cost labor centers,
there wouldn't be any more factories in the US. But the
proportion of manufacturing to the GNP is level. There are less
people employed in manufacturing, as there are less employed in
farming, but the production is up. End of Bob's telephone
John Algeo's talk was called "A Theosophical View of War &
Violence" Most of what I took down were the questions, and not so
much his comments. The questions were to be answered with one of
the 2 choices he gave his audience. I think the questions are
still a propos, except that he didn't make up a puzzler involving
crack cocaine. Well maybe someone will feel like joining in, &
making up a good story about that. John said at the end that
these questions didn't really have very satisfactory answers, but
stuck in your craw. He began the talk with asking his audience
whether if you were trying to practicwe Ahimsa the response to
violence was doing nothing. Then he presented his "hypothetical
but not impossible" cases. Everyone in the audience was given a
stubby pencil & a sheet of paper with 10 sets of A and B, They
were to respond that they would do either A nor B (no other
choices were allowed).
The first one with the hold up man standing in front of a manhole
I already mentioned. Your choices were A.)do you push him into
the manhole in back of him, or B>) do you hand over your wallet?
2.) You're a policeman walking a beat in a busy downtown area at
midday. A chimpanzee has escaped from a pet shop. The excited
chimp has already bitten several people. "What do you do?" Do
you A.) phone the animal control, & wait for them to come with
tranquilizer darts, while the chimp bites some more people? or
B.) Do you pull out your gun & shoot the chimp ? (this was an
actual situation in Atlanta)
3.) You're a physician to a young pregnant woman. She's in her
5th month. Earlier you prescribed a new drug and you've now
discovered that the drug has hitherto unkown side effect. The
drug may have damaged the foetus; it may be malformed. She wants
an abortion. "What do you do?" A.) perform the abortion? or B.)
refuse to perform the abortion?
4.) You're the physician of a young woman in her 20ies, in good
health. She's in her 5th month, & unmarried. She requests an
abortion. Shes's sexually active, & uses birthcontrol only
sporadically, has had other abortions. What do you do? A.)
Perform the abortion or B.) refuse to perform the abortion.
5.) You're driving in very heavy traffic. You've stopped at a
red light at an intersection. There's a long line of cars behind
you. From the rear, 1 car drives forward on the shoulder to your
right, & pulls up alongside of you. The driver clearly intends
to pass you by when the light turns. "What do you do?" Do you
A.) Let him cut in front of you. or do you B.) Gun your car & go
forward to pevent him from cutting in?
6.) You're the President of the United States. The island of
Guam has been attacked & captured by Indonesia, which now claims
a right to the island on historical grounds. The people of Guam
overwhelmingly want to remain an American Protectorate.
Indonesia is on the island in miltasry control. It has rejected
any discussion about the sovereignty of the island, but will only
discuss how to evacuate any islanders who want to leave. "What
do you do?" Do you A.) prepare to evacuate the inhabitants from
the island of Guam? or B.) Do you alert the Navy for an invasion?
7.) You're the director of the FBI (This scenario appeared in a
magazine at the time). A terrorist has hidden an atomic bomb
somewhere on the island of Manhattan, set to detonate in a few
days. He demands several million Dollars, & the release of some
of his buddies with safe passage to Lybia. The FBI has the man
in custody, but has no leads as to the whereabouts of the bomb.
1 of your subordinates suggest that the only way to go is to
subject the captive terrorist to torture. "What do you do?" do
you A.) Wait, hoping the terrorist will have a change of heart?
or do you B.) Tell your subordinate to try torture.
8.) You're the mother of a newborn child, which has been
kidnapped by terrorists. The baby is being held hostage for the
release of some terrorists from jail. The leader of the group
has been caught , but refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the
baby. The FBI says they haven't a clue as to where the baby is,
but are considering torture to find out where the kindnapers are
hiding it. "What do you do?" Do you A.) ask them not to use
physical violence on the kidnapers, or B.) say you hope they'll
do whatvever is necessary to get your baby back.
9.) You're a member of a TS study center. A new person has
applied for membership. This person is a member of the Ku Klux
Klan, & also of a political party organized along Nazi lines, &
affiliated with the Klan. He says he intends to continue his
membership in the Klan and in the neo Nazi party, but that he's
also in sympathy with the 3 objects of the Society, & he sees no
conflict between these memberships. You are asked to vote on his
admission. "What do you do?" Do you A.) vote to admit him? or
B.) vote to deny him admission?
10.) You'e a member of a jury that must sentence a convicted
murderer. This is his 5th conviction for murder. Twice he
killed during an armed robbery, once he was a hired killer, once
he killed a fellow inmate in prison. This time, he killed a
kidnap victim. "What do you do?" do you A.) vote for life
imprisonment with a chance of parole in 10 years, or do you B.)
vote for the death penalty?
That's the end of the questions. He said that in real life the
answers would be multiple choice. I like his ending so, I'd like
to share it with you. The golden rule says deal with others as
you would have them deal with you. This is sometimes turned
around into the silver rule - Don't do to others what you
wouldn't want them to do to you. But then, there's also the
brass rule "Do onto others, before they do to you."
The Golden rule is exoteric. The esoteric rule is - there are no
others, what you seem to be doing to others, you're doing to
All beings desire their own well being.
Isn't it good?
Signing off now
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application