Wikko makes a permanent record of corporate bad behaviour, by logging misdeeds on Wikipedia.
In the 21st century the workplace is changing, with jobs becoming precarious, and corporations able to move to low wage economies. Some avoid paying their fair share of tax.
Invasion of privacy, increased surveillance and are becoming more common. Power has moved to corporations and away from the individual and the democratic state. The new wave of automation will displace more workers.
The media regularly finds examples of corporations misusing their power:
– taking advantage of their customers or employees
– causing pollution
– or using up scarce resources.
But many of these stories are quickly forgotten, and some companies are repeat offenders.
Wikko will simply aim to make a permanent record of corporate failings, by using volunteers to add articles on Wikipedia.
WIKKO DOES A JOB THAT NO ONE ELSE IS DOING
No one else focuses on logging corporate misdeeds in Wikipedia:
Pressure groups such as Oxfam and Greenpeace run valiant campaigns in pursuit of a goal, such as saving the rainforest, improving access to clean water, or supporting oppressed people. These campaigns are aimed at mobilising support against a specific and often limited objective, rather than recording corporate bad behaviour. And their campaigns usually have a limited time scale.
Business accountability groups: There are very few groups specifically aimed at business, such as Corporate Watch (corporatewatch.org.uk); and they aren’t widely known. That said, we can mine their information and link our Wikipedia entries to their sites.
Single issue groups such as are concerned with one problem, such as immigrants or housing. They don’t tend to target corporations generally, and they don’t necessarily get good Google rankings.
Government organisations such as Trading Standards seek to combat local malfeasance, but they don’t publicise their work.
Newspapers and media organisations write about bad corporations, and these stories are filed and usually searchable. But you need to know where to find them, and the stories often have low Google rankings.
AND SOME ORGANISATIONS PROTECT BUSINESSES FROM SCRUTINY
Pro-business groups. There are numerous well funded pro-business lobby groups, such as the Institute of Directors and the CBI, that deflect attention from bad businesses.
Libertarian organisations. There has been a growth of nationalist, right wing and shadowy groups that serve to sow confusion or promote ideals contrary to progressive values. Migration Watch and the Koch brothers come to mind.
In summary, there is an absence of planned and structured activity that will systematically record corporate bad behaviour.
That’s why we propose to create a new action group, Wikko.com to address the problem.
We want to stop the disappearance of these stories – by recording them on Wikipedia.
Wikko does the following:
– We publicise wrongdoing by corporations, by recording the facts about bad behaviour into Wikipedia.
– We point out the weaknesses and failings of shareholder capitalism by recording the damage it can do to communities and the environment, and where it creates inequality.
– We thereby encourage people to consider more supportive and sustainable forms of enterprise, such as stakeholder capitalism.
– We thus encourage critical thinking about how society could manage capitalism for the benefit of all.
The logical place to store evidence of malfeasance is Wikipedia. It’s the world’s biggest and most widely used depository of factual information. Wikipedia has been shown to be largely accurate .
Wikipedia is also highly influential, often without being recognised as such. It is used by opinion formers, policy makers, civil servants, law makers and advisors.
And it ranks highly, often in first place on Google.
But around one third of corporate bad behaviour doesn’t get recorded in Wikipedia.
That’s because there is no mechanism to ensure that corporate bad behaviour gets logged.
Wikipedia is a neutral organisation run largely by volunteer posters and editors, who are not politically focussed. Where controversies arise in Wikipedia, they mostly relate to national and international issues, religion and concepts .
So there is a need for a structured system that ensures that corporate malfeasance is listed in Wikipedia.
Most people assume that corporations are like their outward appearance, friendly and well mannered. 48% of the UK population think businesses behave ethically, though this percentage has been falling .
But around the world, less than half of millennials think corporations behave well, according to a survey in 36 countries carried out by Deloitte.
Many businesses behave badly, and for obvious reasons. Corporations are controlled by shareholders whose primary focus is the pursuit of profit.
This means that corporate goals are often at odds with the needs of employees, the local community and the planet.
This gap between people and corporations has grown wider as businesses have increasingly gone global. Most corporations no longer feel answerable to a local community or nation.
In its pursuit of profit, British industry is afflicted by short-termism – the need to keep maintaining shareholder dividends. This leads to under investment, and poor terms and conditions for employees.
Corporations spend billions running PR and CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaigns that suggest they’re good citizens. This is often just whitewash.
So it is important that corporate bad behaviour should be logged and made available to the public.
We need to ensure that Wikipedia records corporate wilful misbehaviour, so that opinion formers and the public get to know what they’ve done. Too many corporations are repeat offenders; and much of the malfeasance is never recorded.
THE OUTCOMES WE WANT
Ensuring covering of corporate bad behaviour in Wikipedia will have the following outcomes:
• Influence opinion formers. Opinion formers such as MPs, US senators and the people who brief them will read the articles. They will recognise that a specific corporation has committed one or more acts against the public interest.
• Influence the public. Readers will develop a more critical awareness of corporations’ behaviour, and will be more likely to call for bad behaviour to be sanctioned. There will be a groundswell calling for democracy to recover the ground lost to freewheeling corporations.
STRATEGY AND METHODS
We are seeking volunteers who will take responsibility for reading the news on one specific day, and recording it in Wikipedia.
The Wikko.com website has a database that holds the records of volunteers, the articles they placed, and the names of irresponsible organisations. It will track and manage the record keeping programme.
The website will also have a form that allows the public to report stories they have seen in the media.