10 Worst Corporations

By Ben Cohen

Robert Weissman of Multi National Monitor lists the 10 worst corporations of 2008 (in alphabetical order):

AIG: Money for Nothing

There’s surely no one party

responsible for the ongoing global financial crisis. But if you had to

pick a single responsible corporation, there’s a very strong case to

make for American International Group (AIG), which has already sucked

up more than $150 billion in taxpayer supports. Through “credit default

swaps,” AIG basically collected insurance premiums while making the

ridiculous assumption that it would never pay out on a failure — let

alone a collapse of the entire market it was insuring. When reality set

in, the roof caved in.

Cargill: Food Profiteers

When food prices spiked in late 2007

and through the beginning of 2008, countries and poor consumers found

themselves at the mercy of the global market and the giant trading

companies that dominate it. As hunger rose and food riots broke out

around the world, Cargill saw profits soar, tallying more than $1

billion in the second quarter of 2008 alone.In a competitive market, would a

grain-trading middleman make super-profits? Or would rising prices

crimp the middleman’s profit margin? Well, the global grain trade is

not competitive, and the legal rules of the global economy– devised at

the behest of Cargill and friends — ensure that poor countries will be

dependent on, and at the mercy of, the global grain traders.

(Read the abbreviated version here, or the full length article here.)

I would imagine a top 50 might be necessary for 2009, as we’re only beginning to find out what some of the mega conglomerates have been up to.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.