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Business - Pillars of Business: McLibel

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Ben Maltbbe

on 17 February 2011

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Transcript of Business - Pillars of Business: McLibel

The Pillars of Business Accounting Economics Business legal system Definition: Accounting is the collecting, analysing and reporting of financial info to interested parties. Examples from movie: The main examples of accouting practices shown in McLibel are used to highlight the differences between McDonalds and the defendants. While McDonalds is able to employ the most expensive lawyers and accountants to manage their legal case, the defendants are reliant on donations from all around the world to sustain their case. In fact, the difference between the amount of money McDonalds spent on legal fees and what the defendants spent was a massive 9,970,000 pounds! Businesses are run primarily for the benefit of shareholders, the people who have invested in a stake of the company. This means that profits always have to be as high as possible, and can come at the expense of human or animal rights, working conditions and environmental protection. Extra info: All accounting work is usually done by an accountant, or somebody who is employed to collect and analyze financial data.
Information produced by accountants is passed on to shareholders, who are required to interpret and make informed decisions based on the information.
When shareholders are not involved (for instance if the business is much smaller or is a not-for-profit organisation), the accounting data is still used to make decisions about how much money can be allocated to certain areas of the business. Examples from movie: The defendants also highlighted during their trial that all resources need to be used by McDonalds in a fair, humane, sustainable AND profitable way, and that profits can not come at the cost of human health or human and animal rights. Economics is the study of how we allocate limited resources to satisfy some of our unlimited wants. Definition: Economics is shown in the film from two perspectives; the amount of money that McDonalds is able to spend (and what they choose to spend it on) as well as how little money and resources the defendants have to put towards their trial. Despite their lack of funds, the defendants manage to win more of their case than McDonalds through not only their own skills but their budgeting of the funds they have. McDonalds aims to make its burger production as economical as possible by using the cheapest ingredients, the cheapest staff and the cheapest land. Unfortunately, all this means that it is constantly impacting on the health of its customers and workers as well as the planet itself. Extra info: In businesses, economics is about using the least amount of time, money or human resources possible to achieve the most profit.
There are 4 main human resources: land, labour, capital and management.
Each of these resources is limited both in size and scope - for instance, a business may not have enough workers, or it may not have enough skilled workers. The more of any of these resources a business has, the more it can achieve. A comic highlighting an economical way of producing profit - cutting out all of the human resources involved! Examples from movie: Definition: A very big part of creating and maintaining such a big business is marketing. If people don't know what your product is, they have no reason to go and buy it! McDonalds spends a huge amount of money on marketing to many different age groups to increase their business traffic and therefore their profits. In the movie, it is shown very clearly that McDonalds is a huge business. It controls a massive part of the fast-food sector and is constantly expanding into new countries and areas. As such a big company it has a huge amount of power over smaller companies and individuals, as seen very clearly in the case of the McLibel lawsuit against the two defendants and the pressure that was put on them to fold their case. Extra info: McDonalds also has an interesting business chain; many of the company's store managers and executives started off working in the McDonalds kitchens and proved themselves to be capable of more senior jobs. However, in the film the defendants argued that by getting so many people involved in their business McDonalds was trying to completely dominate their market and reduce human creativity and competition. Clearly, there are many arguments both for and against even having such big businesses As well as referring to an actual business organisation, the term 'business' can also refer to the amount of money and products moved in a particular timeframe.
For instance, a good day of business indicates that a lot of products have been shifted in a short period of time, causing rising profits. A bad day of business indicates that demand may have fallen for the goods that a particular business organisation is offering, causing profits to be lower.
Businesses will always try to promote as much business as they possibly can through using economical production, assembly and distribution methods. The cheaper products can be, the more attractive they will appear to buyers. More people will buy cheaper products, causing business trade to go up. A business is an organisation formed to distribute goods and services, while making profit for its owners or proprietors. The product McDonalds makes so much money from trading Definition: At the conclusion of the first part of the film, it was revealed that after the so-called 'McLibel' lawsuit McDonalds suffered its first ever loss. This massive decline in profits was very directly attributed to the lawsuit and its impact on the public's perception of McDonalds. After the suit, the company was also forced to increase wages and improve conditions at its kitchens and abattoirs. This shows what a great impact the legal system has on companies, and the influence it can have not only on businesses but also the general public. The Legal System outlines acceptable standards of behaviour that reflect society's values. They are written to try and achieve peace. The legal system has a massive part in the world of business. Without it, there would be no laws actually controlling what businesses can and can not do. It allows there to be competition in the marketplace and it alleviates the dominance of big businesses in society.
However, there are also many laws in place to protect big businesses and to help them defend themselves. The Libel laws seen in Britian are an example of this, as they ensure that companies cannot be subjected to unproven and slanderous allegations which can harm their business.
Often, laws are very easy to circumvent - there are always very low minimum standards to conform to which are often not even worth enforcing, and bigger companies will always have power over smaller ones. The movie 'McLibel' is entirely based around Britian's legal system and libel laws, so there are many references to the legal system within it. The film clearly showcases the debate over libel laws, with one side arguing that they should be enforced to protect companies against slander and another side arguing that they are extremely anti-free speech. The legal system has to sort out this difference of opinion. Another intriguing reference in the movie is seen when one of the McDonalds executives confronts the press and the defendants about their accusations, saying that their health, cruelty and minimum wage standards 'exceed minimum legal requirements' and therefore they should not be prosecuted. This clearly shows that while many things are legally acceptable it does not necessarily mean that they are morally acceptable. Examples from movie: Extra info: The trailer for the film 'McLibel'.
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