The Sharp Pain of Atos

Since May 2013, philosopher and a lawyer Lynn Sharp Paine has been a proud board member of Atos, the company that continues to punish the disabled to enrich the very, very few. Equally proud of her right-wing political heritage, Sharp Paine serves as a advisor to the influential militarist US-think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, what Sharp Paine is better known for is her commitment to ‘rationalising’ the insanity of capitalism, a political system that must by law place profit before all other ‘considerations.’ This is a noxious task that she took up with glee in her 2011 book Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business.


In an interview given in 2011, Sharp Paine noted that the “Banks that precipitated the [financial] crisis got bailouts. Executives who arguably should have prevented the crisis got million-dollar retention packages. Meanwhile, innocent bystanders lost their homes and their jobs in the post-crisis recession.”

She continues, observing that: “The crisis also fed into a growing sense that our economic system is not so vibrant an engine of economic and social mobility as once thought and added to suspicion that the system is rigged in favor of the wealthy.” All true, but while socialists would argue that we need an alternative to capitalism, Sharp Paine is not quite sold on that egalitarian idea yet. Instead she talks “about the need for a surge in entrepreneurship” and “call[s] on business leaders to spearhead [such an] effort.”

Sharp Paine says that: “By setting standards for what people can expect of one another, a shared morality helps create the trust and cooperation necessary for common effort, which is essential to any human endeavor.” This is all very nice, but it is clear however that such morality does not apply to Atos, her current corporate home of preference. For corporations, while the promotion of morality (or so-called ‘corporate social responsibility’) is a key component of their public relations machinery, such ethics fade into complete insignificance when considered alongside profits. Pain is all corporate monsters like Atos are capable of providing to the global working class, and so Sharp Paine’s “ethical” whitewashing services will remain in demand at such corporations until the working class shed off the shackles of their global oppressors and tide in our socialist future.


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