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Why so much negativity toward "Corporation"?

Why are some of the posters here are so negative about corporate working environment? I mean in general scheme of things without these corporations there will be so many people without jobs, and your country will not be as strong as today. And people seems to give low impression for people who manage to have a career in a corporate ladder.

Ricky
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Why so many stupid questions lately?


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Do corporations produce employment? I don't think so.

What they are very good at is making the jobs people do have less enjoyable, less secure and worse paid.

Mr Jack
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I think ultimately a corporation is regarded as a capitalist venture. Capitalism favours profit over loyalty.

Smaller business while still capitalistic often tend to be alot more caring, the person at the top is within reach etc. If a department/role needs to be cut then the management will work hard to reposition you within the organisation rather then just make you redundant.

At least that is the impression I get.

Aussie chick
Thursday, August 19, 2004

> Smaller business while still capitalistic often tend to be alot more caring, the person at the top is within reach

Translation: you can extend your fist at some velocity and twat them if they annoy you too much.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Actually, I've found smaller companies, especially family run ones, to be amongst the worst in the way they treat their employees.  There are a few happy exceptions but there is often a feeling of ownership and 'loyalty' which overwhelms the staff.

Corporations may be more bureaucratic and can sometimes have an aggressive culture that wears down individuals but there are also many corporations that understand that they succeed because of success and not through pointless negativity and pressure.

But then I'm a lone gun for the most part.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Aussie Chick, what kind of non-corporate company has a department to get rid of let alone another one to redeploy you to.

In my mind anything bigger than 30-40 people is big enough to be corporate and if a company any smaller than that needs to get rid of you then there is a high chance they will be getting rid of everybody fairly soon.

Me, I just (past few weeks) moved from a small company (15 people) to a larger company (~600 at my location, ~5000 worldwide (AU,NZ)) - already I can see the politics coming into play and a few other things I don't like so I know it isn't going to be a perfect ride. But it is 1000% better than my old small company

My present feeling is that if I had to pick between a small company and a large company, I would pick the larger company.

it comes down to the resources, while at a smaller company it may be easier to get new resources, there aren't that many to get - "Boss, I would like a bigger screen, this 15inch isn't big enough to work on" "We will see what we can do in next months budget", where as at my new company, "Would you like a laptop or desktop? How big do you want the screen?", while if you want something new you need to fill in the expense request and wait for it to be approved, there is a higher chance of it being approved at the larger company simply because they aren't at the financial point of relying desperately on that invoice being paid this week so you can get your wages paid to you.

in my case the depressing parts such as politics etc was even there at the smaller company so why not pick the company who can give you more?

NB All observations are based on my personal experience working at just 1 small company that was run by cheapskates, and 1 large company that seems to be run by people who are willing to spend money "wisely" in order to create a nice working environment.

and just as an example of the kind of company my new one is - so far I have only met 3 people who have been there less than 5 years, and everybody else can't remember anybody quitting because they didn't like the place, which if true indicates this place isn't quite normal (it also indicates there is a lot of old people). And the word is that nobody has ever been made redundant, they have always reassigned people. To my knowledge most corporates have dozens of people resigning each week?

Me?
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Simon hit the nail on the head.

>>There are a few happy exceptions but there is often a feeling of ownership and 'loyalty' which overwhelms the staff.


That is exactly the kind of "politics" i was referring to at the smaller company, most people wouldn't call that politics. But it is just as bad, if not worse - the pressure that it puts on you it actually made me feel quite bad about resigning and then the "oh but I thought we were happy family" after I had resigned it was just terrible.

Me?
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"...the pressure that it puts on you it actually made me feel quite bad about resigning and then the "oh but I thought we were happy family" after I had resigned it was just terrible."

We can't have everything.  Where is the company that isn't cutthroat about hiring and firing but doesn't expect the same sort of consideration in return?  Point me to it...! 

It's a two-way street.  I would love for things to be the way they were in the 90s...where I could tell employers to kiss off without a worry.  Now, I have to play the game.  Yuck.

hateCorpsLoveIT
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I agree with Simon on this as well - the worst politics I've seen has been in small companies or small IT divisions of mid-size companies. Combine that with the normal lack of sophistication in project management, estimation, scheduling, technological understanding, etc., and I've reached the point where unless I have a serious equity stake in a small business, or it's my own company, I won't work for one again.

Aussie Bloke
Thursday, August 19, 2004

For me the larger the company I have worked for the worse I have been treated, there has always been an inverse relationship between the number of employees and my job satisfaction. I guess this is why I work in a company with 1 employee, myself.

Tony Edgecombe
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"I mean in general scheme of things without these corporations there will be so many people without jobs, and your country will not be as strong as today."

The problem, IMHO, is that this is a side effect. Actually, you can look at the "let's outsource to the cheapstakes of the month" craze as a signal of how much any corporation cares about your job and your country.

I have no problem with making a profit. However, I can't feel nothing but contempt for "profit uber alles".

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Tiny co.'s are the hardest to fit in.  There is no place to hide, even the CEO knows your deal.  You have to be perfect for that position because there is no such thing as "backup" in some really small co.'s where everyone is their own dept.

If this wasn't true, I'd still be working there.  hehe.

Brian R.
Thursday, August 19, 2004

http://www.perkigoth.com/home/kermit/stuff/bullshitbingo/

  http://www.isip.msstate.edu/about_us/misc/humor/dilbert/quotes.html

get the idea?

trollop
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Corporations haven't done themselves any favours in the PR department in the last decade, between dot-com mania, H-1Bs (this isn't limited to tech), outsourcing, offshoring, 'rightsizing', lawsuits, etc. 

In my mind, the basic problem is that people, shielded by corporate structures, often exhibit more refined versions of mob behaviour.  People will do things in their official capacity at work that they would never do personally, and rationalize it as part of the job. 

Regardless, the anti-corporate sentiments expressed by posters like muppet and on the range are just empty, childish, fight-the-man rabble-rousing.  There are good companies to work for, and bad companies, and that depends on the people inside.  There are companies that are really great places to work.  For every Walmart, there's a Costco (Walmart's average wage is lower than the bottom of Costco's wage scale).  UPS is apparently a great place to work.  The Container Store has been in the top three best employers in the U.S. for the last five years, according to Fortune magazine (I've seen it first hand).  These places aren't anomolies, they represent a significant portion of the corporate employers in North America. 

So whinging about the 'corporatist' lifestyle is like complaining about Americans as uneducated, uncultured, imperialists--yes, everyone knows someone like that, but the generalization is empty because so many Americans aren't like that.  To me, it's a sign that someone really hasn't seen much of the corporate world.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, August 19, 2004


Family run have *always* been the worst in my experience...

Sure, there are rules, but they don't apply to everyone.  And if you don't work well with a particular person and/or tick off the wrong person, you're gone.

I like smaller companies 500-1500 people.  They're established enough that the rules apply to everyone, there is usually *A LOT* going on with numerous opportunities and the company is still a size that you're not just a number.

KC
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I thought people had jobs before corporations.

But I have no issues with corprophiles.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Thursday, August 19, 2004

+++But I have no issues with corprophiles. +++

I do.  They are frightening, soulless human beings, like soccer moms and Wal*Mart managers.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Well, aside from some bad breath, I wouldn't cast aspersions on their lifestyle choices.

I hope you eat your words and become a corprophile yourself.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Thursday, August 19, 2004

A corprophile is just as unbalanced as a corprophobe.  There are good companies to work for and bad companies--and this extends to any organization, not just private enterprise.  There's nothing essentially evil or good about corporations--they're the sum of the people working in them, and like any community, those people can be, collectively, beneficial or poisonous.

Justin Johnson
Thursday, August 19, 2004

+++There's nothing essentially evil or good about corporations--they're the sum of the people working in them+++

Rule by committee removes personal accountability.  That inhibition gone, base motivations are in control.  The single deepest base motivation for running a business in 99% of cases:  greed.

Corporations are ruled by the bottom line.  Shareholders don't care about humanitarianism more than they do their ROI.  On an abstract level, certainly yes, on a literal level which affects their personal bank account, no.

That's what's inherently evil about corporations.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

The negativity has more to do with the obsession with quarterly profits and stock prices. Much of the nonsense has to do with manipulating numbers, just to keep the stock prices up.

Why did Enron screw everyone? Was it fun for them? They wanted their stock prices higher, and they stepped on everyone they had to. Not every company is as blantant at it as Enron was, some are pretty close.

Recently, some of the econ journals (and wsj) have been moaning about shortages in certain professions. One of the latest ones is a type of machinist called "swiss-type machinist." That is a job that takes about 5-10 years of experience to get good at. One or 2 bad quarters and that person is out on the street. How can a sane person expect rational people to stay in a profession that takes 5-10 years to get into, but expect zero longevity. This sort of analysis is why students are declining to enter other skilled professions like engineering: where the median career won't last long enough to pay off student loans. And if the profession does pay enough to pay off student loans by the end of the median career (like nursing), pundits claim there is a drastic shortage, and we have to import cheap labor to drive down wages.

>"Why so much negativity toward "Corporation"?"
The answer is cynicism. As you get older, you will understand.

Peter
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"The single deepest base motivation for running a business in 99% of cases:  greed.

Corporations are ruled by the bottom line.  Shareholders don't care about humanitarianism more than they do their ROI."


Do you have *any* basis for that assertion?

I've found that many of the people I know have started businesses in order to "not work for someone else" or "because I can do it better".  Most new companies don't see *ANY* profit for their first couple years.  it seems like it's more effort and work than cash at that point.

Corporate vultures, on the other hand, come into an existing business...

Of course, if a company is not public (as in stock publicly traded), there are *no* stockholders.

KC
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Slant puns aren'tthat popular yet.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&q=coprophile&btnG=Google+Search

anon
Thursday, August 19, 2004

KC -

The vast majority of large corporations are public and therefore fit my description and not yours so much.  The case of people who started a business for the love of it or to work for themselves are usually smaller ventures, not public, and not your typical multinational corporation.

The term "Corporation" is largely associated with the multinational flavor, moreso than the Ben and Jerry's of the world.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"""I mean in general scheme of things without these corporations there will be so many people without jobs, and your country will not be as strong as today"""

Damn boy, apply a little critical thinking before you post crap like that.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

>> "I think ultimately a corporation is regarded as a capitalist venture. Capitalism favours profit over loyalty."

Well, this is just nonsense.  Corporate leaders are the most anti-capitalistic people on the planet.  They are tall morons with good hair, who are much more interested in carving out their fiefdoms and imposing their will than in profit.

Real capatalists - and by the way, real men - work at startups. 

anon
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I agree with anon.  I think the deeper motivation for corporate execs is power, not money.  All they have to do is become an exec in most huge companies, and they are hooked up.  At that point, they don't realy care the capital health of the company, just in preserving the power/fear/respect they command.

Usually in orderto preserve that power, they must make the bottom line look good.  They do that by extorting all the other managers below them into being obsessed with profit and bottom line, so much that the culture becomes corupt with the illusion of greed... but no one is actually as greedy as they seem.  They have mostly just fallen under the evil spell and become pawns to support the power-trip of the executives.

The people who really are as greedy as they seem: day traders and career commission salesmen.

Clay Whipkey
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I would take a corporation over a person any day.

With a corporation you can predict their motives. e.g. money. To a corporation there is no other thing. If a corporation has stated a different goal, then they will ultimately fail.

Even non-profit corporations fit this model. Think fund raisers.

Now with people we have no predictability, we can't know their motives.  Without a thorough understanding of what their motivations are, we can’t predict what they are going to do.

It is much easier to make laws, and have things like stock markets when we have a group of corporations worshipping the almighty dollar. It is also to predict what the CEO will do when sales are down.

How does good vs. evil enter in to this? Good question.

A corporation may polute a river to save money. But a corporation would probably not engage in terrorism, unless a good money reason exists.

They may raise product prices to make more "evil" profit, but that is predictable. Of course they are going to want a profit. Money rules.

eclectic_echidna
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Right.  So you prefer predictable vileness and societal corruption over unpredictable potential vileness with an equal chance of potential goodness and societal improvement.

Somehow, I can't get on board with that logic.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I think everyone knows a story like this one but a couple years back my coworker's dad got canned from a major food processing company after 25 years on the job.  He was the guy that went in during snowstorms to keep the production lines moving.  His employees were treated as extended family, never missed a day of work, the whole shebang.

Then one day after they decide his job can better be handled remotely by another manager also managing his own plant.  Even though logically we all know that the only legal requirement is that the company pay for hours worked, this worker felt totally betrayed.  The corporation did what was best for it's bottom line with no regard for the worker.  He was just an entry in some spreadsheet.

Mayo
Thursday, August 19, 2004

So... evil can only be as evil as it is unpredictable.

After thinking on that one a little longer than I should've, I believe it is much more true than common sense dictates.

I am Jack's fear of the unknown
Thursday, August 19, 2004


Actually, the vast majority of businesses in the US are small businesses.. usually defined as "less than 50 employees" and  "less than 10 million in revenue".

Very few of these are publicly traded (according to the Small Business Association) because "going public" is a HUGE influx of cash and attention which usually spurs more growth.

KC
Thursday, August 19, 2004

KC -

"The vast majority of /large/ corporations"

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

The get back to basics - corporations are artificial persons with legal rights, responsibilities, ability to own property and owe debts, etc.

My third hand understanding is that the work of certain dead 19th century German philosopher d00ds (Kant?) established the philosophical context in which an abstraction like an artificial person was credible. Before this groundwork, the idea of a corporation was just plain butty. Ok, that's the "Bill and Ted" version, anyway. (on the other hand, my understanding is also that the New World spice trade created the need for "companies" to underwrite expeditions. So take your pick of the timeline.)

Moving right along - being artificial, and having as its purpose *only* financial survival and profitibility, a corporation aside from its owners, is literally soulless and has no ethical or moral context. It exists to make money. Period.

Same kind of things can be said of a car, or a computer, or a cake. They exist and are created by humans for specific purposes. I don't want my cake telling me I can't eat it. Being inanimate is not necessarily a bad thing, it's the use to which that thing is put that is good or bad.

I think what many who dislike corporations are really bitching about is the group behavior, the non accountability, and the politics of groups.

On group politics and groupthink:

I used to attend and vigorously support a church that I finally realized really didn't "care" about me or my family's unique problems. One attends a  church in part for mutual support. I was told by the pastor in no uncertain terms that he felt that our family's issues were trifles compare to the "real problems" with with the church is occupied. He has asolutely no idea, no clue, and is absolutely out of touch.

Meanwhile, certain high profile and newsworthy programs that the church has identified as "strategic" consume 120% of their attention.

So, what I am saying is that the people of a church can be extraordinarily callous, insensitive, and blind.

A church is a body of people. It's therefore prone to being political and just as deaf to "right" as any corporation, owing to exactly the same factors: diffusion of personal accountability, the feeling that someone else "must" inevitably be taking care of things, the justification of "policy", etc.

I trust people. I don't trust groups. An individual's sense of right and wrong can be appealed to. A group of even two or three has infinite means at its disposal to evade responsibility for a result.

End of story.

- Bored (an S-corp owner)

Bored Bystander
Thursday, August 19, 2004

butty --> nutty.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Bored -

Precisely.  Well put.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

It's the man, man. And the man is keeping me down!

Doug Withau
Thursday, August 19, 2004

> Right.  So you prefer predictable vileness and societal corruption over unpredictable potential vileness with an equal chance of potential goodness and societal improvement.

Societal corruption is not the fault of corporations, but solely the fault of people. That is because corporations are made up of people.

It was just a few hundred years ago in Europe that you would be killed for not following the established religion. It STILL happens today. Not to mention that during revolutions, the rebels would kill you if you were for the government, and the government would kill you if you were a rebel. If you are lucky enough to support the winning side, you are now a patriot.

Give me a corporation any day instead of other institutions like religion. How many modern day religious extremists are killing followers of other faiths? Do you have that with corporations?

Why don’t we complain about more heinous and demonstrably harmful institutions like: church/religion (follow us, we’re good, everyone else is damned), quack-science (chiropractors, bottled water, reflexology, homoeopathy), and two-bit warlords/dictators/patriots (the men with guns).

Further, before you really complain about corporations, what is a good reasonable alternative? Communes? Communism? Anarchy?

> an equal chance of potential goodness and societal improvement.

You got to be kidding. Many people I meet are polite until you bring up subjects like abortion, nationalized healthcare, taxes. It gets ugly real fast... Like here

--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Thursday, August 19, 2004

> An individual's sense of right and wrong can be appealed to.

No it can't. We aren't homogenous. I think abortion should be legal, my neighbor doesn't.

Now what? Should I drag him in the street and kill him, or wait for him to do the same to me?

I think letting a certain amount of pollutants in to the air should be legal, my neighbor doesn't.

Now what?

With those pollutants my car cost $10,000 instead of $30,000. The harmful effect being the 1 in 1,000,000 chance that one person would get cancer.

Is this a good vs. evil decision?

Also, corporations can be appealed to:

Govt: Hey Evil corporation, you can’t dump mercury into the pond.
Corp: Screw you.
Govt: We are calling your banks and freezing your assets.
Corp: Ok, ok, ok, we’ll stop.

Of course that last exchange took 18-24 months of court battles. I guess it is better then nothing…

--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Thursday, August 19, 2004

eclectic_echidna:

>> An individual's sense of right and wrong can be appealed to.

>No it can't. We aren't homogenous. I think abortion should be legal, my neighbor doesn't. Now what? Should I drag him in the street and kill him, or wait for him to do the same to me?

Geez. I MEANT that every individual has SOME internalized notion of right and wrong that has value to him or her. Whether it reaches any particular conclusion or whether everyone has the same definition of "reasonability" is beside the point.

> Also, corporations can be appealed to:

>Govt: Hey Evil corporation, you can’t dump mercury into the pond.
>Corp: Screw you.
>Govt: We are calling your banks and freezing your assets.
>Corp: Ok, ok, ok, we’ll stop.

Proving my point. They stop polluting/offshoring/treating workers badly ONLY because of a brute force attack upon their assets. Not because of any sense of social responsibility.

Ultimately, it's all up to whomever  runs the corp, and then you have the effect of groupthink and diffusion of responsibility kicking in.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, August 19, 2004

You should check out "The Corporation", a Canadian documentary which posits that the laws governing corporations encourage psychopathic behaviour. It forms a pretty persuasive argument!

http://www.thecorporation.com/

Natty
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Try this one. Australian company James Hardie kept selling asbestos sheeting for housing long after it knew asbestos caused lung disease.

When they were finally caught and ordered to pay compensation to thousands of people dying slow deaths, the bastards and their smug lawyers arranged to transfer to the Netherlands so as to escape further liability. To avoid attracting attention, they set up a special fund that was to pay out existing compensation cases, but then secretly blocked the funding for that fund. Read about the spin put out by the nicely coiffed chairman:

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/19/1092889285282.html

However, the depth of her sorrow was limited. She was only sorry that there was a shortfall in the initial funding of the Medical Research and Compensation Foundation, a shortfall she agrees was "woefully wrong". It's only a matter of a miscalculation about which she's truly, truly, very, very sorry.

You can be certain that Hellicar and the rest of the board are profoundly, profoundly sorry that the share price of the company has been slaughtered.

Catch the liars
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"Give me a corporation any day instead of other institutions like religion. How many modern day religious extremists are killing followers of other faiths? Do you have that with corporations?"

<sarcasm>
Absolutely not. Corporations support life - e.g., they support life by employing kids all over the world (selected parts of the world, that is); as I've read once, "at least these kids are not starving".
</sarcasm>

"Why don’t we complain about more heinous and demonstrably harmful institutions like: church/religion (follow us, we’re good, everyone else is damned), quack-science (chiropractors, bottled water, reflexology, homoeopathy), and two-bit warlords/dictators/patriots (the men with guns)."

Seems to me you should do some more thinking/researching before dissociating corporations (the ones with the big money) from "two-bit warlords/dictators/patriots".

"Further, before you really complain about corporations, what is a good reasonable alternative? Communes? Communism? Anarchy?"

I have, basically, two problems with power groups (and I agree with you that there are other power groups besides corporations)
1. That they believe that their power allows them to behave above the law.
2. That they believe they don't have to adapt to reality, just like everyone else does.

To clarify #2. When reality changes around me, I have to adapt. I may whine about it (it's only human, I guess ;) ), but I have no other option. Others refuse to do it, using their power, and changing reality to suit them; as a consequence, we get copyright extensions, idiot patent laws, special protection clauses, you name it.

Paulo Caetano
Friday, August 20, 2004

-----"Try this one. Australian company James Hardie kept selling asbestos sheeting for housing long after it knew asbestos caused lung disease. "-----

The fibre cement that they produce does not cause asbestosis, and is perfectly legal to manufacture in many countries, and there is no warning against it by the WHO.

The asbestos that caused asbestosis (and nearly bankrupted Lloyds of London causing the biggest redistribution of wealth in the UK ever) was a different kind of asbestos used for fire-proofing. It crumbled easlily, and thus the fibres got into the lungs.

Asbestos cement roofing and ceiling sheets are still common in many countries (I've just put one on my house) and countries that have discouraged or banned their use have found the replacements to be inferior.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 20, 2004

Stephen Jones, you're aware that the decisions against James Jardie were made by courts in Australia that had the chance to review every shred of evidence? Even James Hardie doesn't deny its culpability, as far as I know.

Catch the liars
Friday, August 20, 2004

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/20/1092972745982.html

Mesothelioma, the excruciating and always fatal cancer caused only by asbestos, can strike up to 40 years after exposure to the fibre, so there was little comfort in the fact that manufacturing had ceased 14 years earlier.

At the time, only three out of 70 Hardie companies seemed vulnerable to being sued for compensation by people injured by asbestos products. By April last year, all three had been shed from the group and were instead owned by two charitable trusts.

One of Shafron's tasks in February 2001 had been to brief the incoming directors of the foundation about expected compensation claims against two subsidiaries that had made asbestos between 1937 and 1987.

Catch the liars
Friday, August 20, 2004

Hardie at present only makes fibre cement. This is not what it was declared liable for. However the companies still have liability for previous products.

Now this is no different from you being held responsible for the genocide of the aboriginail population, even though you have never killed a single aborigine, and it is quite possible that your ancestors were not even in Australia at the time. I think you would not be too happy at the possibility that all your future earnings could be confiscated to pay compensation for this, and would look for some way to emsure that your liability was limited. This is exactly what the company was doing.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 20, 2004

I don't follow you Stephen. Perhaps you are not familiar with the case. James Hardie knew as early as the 1960's that its asbestos housing products caused lung diseases, but continued selling them until the 1980's.

Victims, many of whom died while the court proceedings were underway, sued them and won compensation claims. James Hardie then created sham funds and moved offshore to avoid the new claims that doctors knew were coming from the exposure over the past 40 years.

Catch the liars
Friday, August 20, 2004

>> and would look for some way to emsure that your liability was limited. This is exactly what the company was doing.

Again, this is the reason that corporations exist - to shield owners, employees and investors from liability.

It's a shame that irresponsible behavior by corporations and the separation of accountability from individuals is rampant, but the alternative is no commerce.

If every participant in a business was jointly and severally responsible for a business's actions, nobody would want to own, be employed by, or invest in a business.

Bored Bystander
Friday, August 20, 2004

Have a look at this for an example of the worst and best mangement styles at work, in the same town, in the same business. Skip to the end for the punchline:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/workplace/etc/script.html

trollop
Friday, August 20, 2004

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