From DSC:
How is it that corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars (estimates vary) but the unemployment rate continues to be towards the high end of historical unemployment rates? Where’s the love and compassion for one’s fellow man? (Some of Charles Dickens’ writings in The Christmas Carol come to my mind here…)

One has to ask, what’s the state of our hearts these days? Is business just about serving the almighty shareholder? Is that the ultimate goal of our businesses? Seriously…what percentage of Americans is that perspective currently benefiting? (I don’t have the answer/data, but I bet its not a majority of Americans. The lines at the soup kitchens and shelters are getting longer, not shorter.)  Corporations have — today — the power to change the situation.  But what’s the ultimate vision of our corporations?  Who do our corporations ultimately serve?


The State of the Heart

Some relevant articles:

  • Corporate profits at all-time high as recovery stumbles (March, 2011, The
    NEW YORK — Despite high unemployment and a largely languishing real estate market, U.S. businesses are more profitable than ever, according to federal figures released on Friday. U.S. corporate profits hit an all-time high at the end of 2010, with financial firms showing some of the biggest gains, data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show. Corporations reported an annualized $1.68 trillion in profit in the fourth quarter. The previous record, without being adjusted for inflation, was $1.65 trillion in the third quarter of 2006. Many of the nation’s preeminent companies have posted massive increases in profits this year. General Electric posted worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, while profits at JPMorgan Chase were up 47 percent to $4.8 billion.
  • Remarks by the President to the Chamber of Commerce — President Barack Obama (February 7, 2011 from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Headquarters, Washington, D.C.)
    “So if I’ve got one message, my message is now is the time to invest in America.  Now is the time to invest in America.  (Applause.)  Today, American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets.  And I know that many of you have told me that you’re waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand, and that with millions of Americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like.”
  • Hoarding, not hiring – Corporations stockpile mountain of cash (April, 2010,
  • U.S. firms build up record cash piles (June 2010, WSJ)
  • Corporate America sitting on $1 trillion in cash ($2 trillion if you count short-term investments) (Dec. 2010 from

    What does that mean?  It means that when the fear subsides, and companies are convinced that the world is all sunshine and roses, the turnaround can be rapid.  Putting $1 trillion of cash to work in the economy, whether in the form of new product launches, capital expenditures, or even mergers and acquisitions paying off investors for their shares of companies and forcing them to find another use for their newly freed funds, can go a long way to solving the unemployment figures.


Addendum on 10/4/11 to potentially address a part of the other side of the table here: