Credit: Jorge GryntyszOnline film streaming service Netflix drew criticism for removing content at the request of Saudi ArabiaCritics argue that such companies should be prepared to uphold the values of liberal democracies and should not bow to pressure to amend business practises to cater for local requirements. For investors focused on incorporating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria, deciding on what should be reasonable behaviour is an issue that deserves wider debate.It is somewhat hypocritical to decry the behaviour of the modern social media titans when set against the behaviour of the older behemoths of the stock market throughout the last century.Perhaps the most egregious was IBM supplying tabulating machines to the Nazis in the 1930s, which allegedly helped in the genocide of European Jews – as reported by Edwin Black in his 2001 book ‘IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation’.Stakeholders versus shareholdersThe fundamental issue for investors is to decide to what extent companies should be driven by the philosophy espoused by Milton Friedman: that the only social responsibility of a business is to use its resources to engage in activities designed to increase its profits, so long as it stays within the rules of the game.The problem with this argument is that it justifies the reported actions of IBM – as well as the sale of any weapons or destructive substances, provided they are within the law.Should companies refuse to deal with regimes that are deemed to be inimical to the liberal values of free speech and democracy? It would certainly seem an attractive way forward, but would rule out dealings with a large fraction of the globe, including “allies” such as Saudi Arabia.To espouse the ideals of ESG investing is to promote the idea that it is all stakeholders that matter. Company management needs to bear this in mind in its actions.The pendulum does appear to be swinging back towards the idea of stakeholder value, rather than solely shareholder value maximisation. Some commentators – such as Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs in this letter to the FT from October 2018 – argue that the future of the planet depends on such a shift.Perhaps a distinction can be made between actively supplying goods and services intended for questionable purposes, and passive acquiescence when faced with laws that deny the supply of goods and services that could promote liberal values. Both may be unacceptable to idealists, but clearly the former is in a different league to the latter.On those grounds, it is the providers to Saudi Arabia of arms being used in a destructive and pointless war in Yemen that should be criticised, and not a company that declines to supply something on the grounds that it has been told it is illegal to do so.When US president Donald Trump declared that he would not punish Saudi Arabia or crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as it would impact US weapons sales to the country, perhaps it demonstrated that there were greater issues of concern for ESG activists than US social media companies.Further readingLong Term Matters: What do Facebook’s investors care?Long Term Matters: What should investors do about authoritarian governments? (The video is still available on YouTube.)Countries such as China and Saudi Arabia have values and laws that are often different to those of liberal democracies. This poses a challenge to international technology companies such as Facebook and Google. Earlier this month, Netflix pulled an episode of Patriot Act, presented by Arab-American comedian Hasan Minhaj, in response to objections by Saudi Arabia.As the episode was essentially a diatribe against the Saudi ruling family, the fact that the country raised objections was not a surprise. But should Netflix have acceded to its demands?Netflix stated that its actions were in response to a “valid legal request”. Saudi Arabia claimed it contravened Article 6, paragraph 1 of Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Cyber Crime Law, which forbids “production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers”. The penalty is up to 5 years in prison.Presumably if Netflix had refused to pull the episode in Saudi Arabia the company’s operations there would have been closed down. For shareholders, it would not have made any significant difference given the size of the market, and conceivably such an act of “virtue signalling” might have brought benefits, as others have found. Netflix chose not to go down this path but, by doing so, it attracted considerable criticism.
Tag: 上海gm资源交流群 C-NS edges Corning, wins regional Class AA football title
Tags: C-NSfootball The Northstars started out as if no dramatics would be required. Farouk Ibrahim’s 60-yard return on the opening kickoff set up an immediate touchdown that Mike Washington scored on a 15-yard run less than two minutes into the game.After Corning went up 8-7 on Mike Freeman’s 10-yard TD run and a two-point conversion, the Northstars quickly responded, driving to the Hawks’ five before quarterback J.J. Razmovski scrambled into the end zone.In the last minute of the first quarter, C-NS had the ball at midfield. Going deep, Razmovski found Adron Pafford, and the 50-yard touchdown, plus Osier’s third consecutive successful extra point, had the Northstars enjoying a 21-8 lead.But that was the last time C-NS would find the end zone, a tribute to a Corning defense that clamped down throughout the game’s middle stages, but also a reflection of mistakes that nearly derailed the Northstars.Recovering a Hawks fumble inside the Corning five right before halftime, C-NS could not capitalize, Razmovski intercepted in the end zone by Justin Rodriquez.Then, after Corning cut the deficit to 21-14 on Ja’Ovian Fisher’s one-yard TD run in the third quarter, the Northstars drove inside the Hawks’ 15, and Razmovski ran for a second TD – only to have it called back on a holding penalty.Those errors loomed larger when Fisher scored from 17 yards out with 9:40 to play and Corning gambled, going for two and the lead – and got it to move in front 22-21.Now needing to put a drive together, C-NS did so in the closing minutes. By far, the biggest play came on the Corning 39 where, facing third-down-and-20, Razmovski found Pafford in double coverage for a 22-yard gain.Working down the rest of the clock, the Northstars would have preferred to get a touchdown and not put it all on Osier -but when it had to, the senior delivered the biggest kick of his high school career.And now it’s C-NS in the same state semifinal round where Lancaster (in 2017) and Rochester Aquinas (in 2018) stopped them. Here, McQuaid (who rallied late to beat Lancaster 32-28 in its regional final) provides the opposition, and either the Northstars or Knights will get to the Dome Dec. 1 for a state championship game against New Rochelle or Shenendehowa.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Andrew Osier didn’t have to do much – just kick a ball through the uprights at a distance similar to the extra points he had converted so many times throughout the fall.Only in this instance, a game, a season and the dream of a state championship for the Cicero-North Syracuse football team hung in the balance.One second showed on the clock in Saturday night’s Class AA regional final at Vestal High School. The Northstars had squandered a 13-point lead to Section IV champion Corning, and had seen a clutch drive stall just short of the Hawks’ goal line. For a long while, Osier waited as Corning spent a time-out, attempting to unnerve him. Then Osier lined up, watched as the snap arrived and then calmly kicked it – straight and true.Within moments, the entire C-NS roster was on the field, celebrating a 24-22 victory that continued a remarkable run of dramatic post-season wins and allows the Northstars to play on home turf at Bragman Stadium next weekend for the state semifinals against Rochester McQuaid.Given the big comebacks that C-NS made to defeat Liverpool and Utica Proctor to earn its third consecutive Section III title, it only figured that this game would have its own rally – only from the other side.