The problem with words is that anyone can use them.
I ran into this problem as a young adult. When I was attracted to women, all the things I’d say to them had the opposite effect than I expected. Too often, they’d say something like this:
“That’s what all the other guys said. Suuuuure you mean it.”
As a somewhat ironic side note, those repeated accusations usually ended up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But now, governments and companies have gotten really good at doing the same thing. One of the most obvious examples lately has been “greenwashing”. I know of a local business that has made a big deal of putting in recycling initiatives in the public areas… but still tosses huge amounts of corrugated cardboard and plastic bottles in the trash in employee and warehouse areas.
They’re using the same words – but as propaganda. Recycling and environmental concerns per se do not actually matter to the company. Otherwise recycling would be a concern throughout the whole company. Because the company is primarily concerned with public appearances, however, it’s obvious that the company only cares about public relations.
This isn’t inherently a bad thing – it’s what we expect from the sociopathic entities we call corporations. But it also means that we as the public should not expect actual altruism from any company. Instead, we must demand transparency.
When we demand (and get) transparency, it forces the company to stay honest. Corporations, just like people, act very differently when they know they’re being watched and may be held accountable for their actions.
There is no reasonable reason for corporations to hide their true intention behind a veil of secrecy. It’s time to demand transparency and openness from companies.