It’s creepy, this shadow employer and personal brand combo world.
A company that you can set up with as little as $600, with no proper identification, one that you can then rent a board and faux investors for, creating a shell company that you can run, anonymously, and sell whatever products and services you want — without paying corporate taxes in the United States — the proverbial offshore tax shelter we hear about in Belize or Seychelles or Cyprus or the Cayman Islands that we loathe yet secretly envy, without legal repercussions unless you’re investigated and subpoenaed by the very country that allows, some would argue encourages, these kinds of shady yet perfectly legal business entities.
Breathe — wait for it — the United States of America. According to a recent report from NPR Planet Money and a New York Times editorial by Adam Davidson, the United States is the easiest place to set up a shadow company, with at least four states requiring no proper identification at all, which is against international law established by the United States and Europe.
This isn’t a political indictment per se; this is an unfortunate reality check that the best of business brands will do anything it can to play an overly complex and outdated tax and regulatory system, as opposed to transforming the economic climate into a more transparent interaction that improves global commerce and job creation.
But as I wrote last week, if it wasn’t for those pesky, messy, meddling humans, the world of work would actually work flawlessly. We’d work together happily and collaboratively, without deceit, harassment or discrimination. We’d all be accountable and personally responsible and have each other’s backs, we’d have reciprocal respect with our leaders, and reality TV would not be a reality.
However, that’s not our reality, although we spend an awful lot of progressive thought leadership time focused on enlightened and aligned personal and employer brands. Not a bad thing, mind you — but is being a maligned employment brand all that bad, especially if you’re legitimately conducting business via offshore accounts instead of being what’s called a “shelf company,” which is nothing more than a name and a URL sitting on a shelf to protect money transactions later?
If you’re employing folks who would otherwise not be employed, who you’re paying so in turn they’re keeping shelter over head and food on the table, and maybe even paying them under the table so even they’re skirting taxation, their personal brands will somewhat align with their employers’ because basic needs are satiated. Yes, it helps if they’re okay with the work they do too, but even then we forgo much happiness and ethical considerations when survival is critical.
Sorry to bring you down, kids, but the international community could do much to alleviate these shadow woes, again improving our progressive goals of ever-enlightened and aligned employer and personal brands while improving the way we conduct business and our global economic practices. That dirty little tango secret starts with us.
Speaking of us, all of us, thank you for joining the TalentCulture #TChat conversation yesterday. As usual, your tweets were smart and inspired. Following is a slide show of Top 20 Tweet Tango. We’ll see you next week!
Your #TChat Top 20 Tweet Tango: “Employer and Personal Brands do the Tango”
Storified by TalentCulture · Wed, Aug 29 2012 21:42:00