SUBJECTS SUPPRESSED AND CENSURED
Under pressure, the DNWE Board made a pretence of inviting members to engage in on-line discussions on the dnwe-intranet, i.e. internally, although not publicly. The competent board member Fetzer, who describes himself as a professor, sought reasons not to allow debate on the following subjects, and indeed they were never submitted to the membership as candidates for discussion. In their place the Board proposed for debate the happenings at a German drugstore chain that had already been discussed to exhaustion in the German media.
Enquiries & offers How tenders are and how they should be handled, seeing that drawing up detailed offers & prices usually involves a great deal of work and indeed risk with, as a rule, no recompense for those who fail to receive an order. Although some formulations of the German Corporate-Governance code require that an appropriate payment be made for each performance received, in practice, in Germany, there is no such recompense. There is not even a report on the outcome of an invitation to tender, such as is allegedly the case in Scandinavia.
Confidentiality agreements – how these may work counter to the market economy. An initial corrective would be to introduce a stamp fee of, for instance, ten thousand euro, for such agreements to obtain legal validity and with automatic expiry after five years.
Advertising as undermining and falsifying the market economy. Much mass advertising involves moreover imposing on all citizens the consumption of advertisements (visually, acoustically) against their will such that their civil rights are infringed. An initial counter-measure would be to end the tax relief on advertising expenditure and, as a second measure, to impose a tax on such spending. Prohibition of advertisements in most public space would be an ultimate aim, with as a first step the suppression of the use of sexual titillation and other offensive or obviously manipulative imagery.
Agencies The unchecked spread of employment and service brokerage. The murky trade in working people is not restricted to temping companies, it also affects commerce with many professional services. In precisely which regards does this trade differ from people trafficking, in which regards are the two indistinguishable? How justified is talk of exploitation in this context? Why do major companies have resort to agencies, whether for employment or for the provision of occasional services? Why do they not employ people directly? Can members of the EBEN chapter provide matter-of-fact reports on these matters so that we are not dependent on attributing bizarre corporate conduct to bribery, the avoidance of statutory responsibilities, laziness in the human resources department, credulity towards supposed experts, etc.
Culture How can culture (in contrast to entertainment) be enabled to pay its way? How do taxes and similar charges discourage the creative arts? Are subsidies justified?
Alternatives to patents Discussion in German (for the purpose of subsequent dissemination in the media in Germany) about the Health Impact Fund (Initiator Thomas Pogge). This is an alternative to patents so that the pharmaceuticals industry can be rewarded for innovative and development work without poor people and countries being disadvantaged by intellectual property rights. (By the way: Why do dnwe-members not learn about such innovative ideas although the Kuratorium – the supervisory body – counts among its members the director of the Novartis foundation?)
Financial crisis – Who owns up? The role of the major audit companies. So far these have excused themselves by explaining that they did meet their (very limited) statutory obligations (i.e. as guard dogs rather than bloodhounds). There has been no discussion within the German chapter of EBEN that they did, and do, have ethical obligations extending beyond those of strict ethical accountability. This is although – or is that rather, because? – the dnwe board contains a representative of one of the big four audit firms.
Limited liability – free as a fool? Should there not be a more extensive liability for managing directors of limited companies, both private and public, such that when they are found to have been grossly negligent they lose the major part of their personal and family assets, including their pension claims, and are excluded from any future management or advisory roles? Does such confiscation ever occur under the current legal system and, even if provided for, does it ever occur?
Management consultants How often are their contributions constructive, competent and original? How often do they only create mischief? An intranet, with access only for members, would be – would have been – a proper place to discuss examples.
THE REMAINING TEXT IN THE GERMAN VERSION provides incontrovertible and detailed evidence that those in charge of the DNWE internal forum chose to suppress any discussion of the above topics. It includes an open letter to a professor of psychology who, although unelected, chose to support this suppression of debate. The open letter accuses her, with detailed argumentation on the basis of her emails (these people systematically avoid going public with their positions and seek to impose their control by underhand means) of being thoroughly unqualified and ignorant; for example, she assumes as uncontroversial concepts of ethics and science that have been discredited for decades. She demands respect and pleasantness from others, but is herself in practice disrespectful, indeed she is the spitting image of arrogance. The board member who originally blocked the discussion may, generously, be described as a control freak. The documentation runs to nearly 4000 words. It contains, with appropriately aggressive rhetoric, extensive presentation of basic ethical and academic maxims such as not attributing to others positions they have never adopted, not being patronising, and not arrogating to oneself powers one does not, by rights, have.