As I’ve been thinking about The Great Business Experiment over the past months, one of the big questions in my has been: What is the definition of big business?
Robert Kyriakides defines big business as those corporations that are so large they have undue influence over government. This is certainly a valid definition. Part of the problem I want to address is Big Money in government, because it prevents government from being for the people. (You can read more about my thoughts about this in Her Lost Year chapter 18.)
That’s a start, but I need a bit more precision for my experiment. One way might be to outline the criteria for companies I will support:
- Locally-owned businesses (unless it is well known that the owners don’t treat employees well or that the business activities cause significant environmental destruction)
- Employee-owned businesses (e.g. King Arthur Flour, Hy-Vee, Bob’s Red Mill)
- Customer-owned businesses (e.g. Co-op grocery stores, Vanguard Group, REI)
- Certified B Corporations
- Fair Trade Certified businesses
And now for the companies I won’t support:
- Large multi-national companies (I know, this includes IKEA—sad…)
- Companies that are known to evade federal taxes (e.g. GE, Pfizer, Microsoft)
- Companies that are known for destroying the environment
- Companies that are known for horrible worker conditions
- Companies that displace local business and funnel money out of local economies
- Companies where CEO makes more than 100 times the average worker salary (using Executive Paywatch)
When I don’t have a choice but buy something from a large corporation, I’ll look at the combination of CEO to worker compensation ratio, made the USA, sustainability practices, BBB rating, and quality ratings.
I’m sure I’ll think of lots of other criteria as I go, but this is a start! What did I miss?