5 U.S. Businesses That Ought to Be Ashamed of Themselves

Goldman Sachs London officeWhen a big company gains enough momentum that its direction becomes self-sustaining, its influence can ripple through society with a bevy of positive consequences -- like the creation of jobs, the spread of ideas, and a general improvement in living standards.

But capitalism -- like any other -ism -- is far from a perfect system. Along with a host of American companies that we should view with pride, there are a number that have created situations we think are downright evil. For exploitative behaviors that harm customers, employees, shareholders and the general public, these companies (and one whole industry) have earned their seats on the corporate netherworld's board of shame.

Think the list is missing a few candidates -- or that some of these are being included unfairly? Sound off below with your thoughts.

Motley Fool contributor Brian Stoffel does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this story. You can follow him on Twitter, where he goes by TMFStoffel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart Stores. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Goldman Sachs and Chesapeake Energy, creating a modified stock repair against synthetic long position in Monsanto and a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores.

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crazy ray

Mexico is outstandingly corrupt. If you want to do business there, you have to pay bribes, no matter who you are. Walmart is no more guilty than anyone else doing business in this third world cauldron.

May 01 2012 at 11:16 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mom Cat

Walmart is self serving. The quality of merchandise is poor, and though inexpensive they also treat their employees badly from what I have seen. All those listed here deserve to be on this list.

May 01 2012 at 12:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Obama's class warfare pitting Americans against each other - Walmart? really? Walmart serves millions with affordable products - the poor particularly benefit from Walmart's reasonable prices and availability of goods and services that people of meager means can afford. It's the Federal government of the United States that should be ashamed of itself for trying to turn us against each other with this type of David Axelrod PR. Shameful!

April 30 2012 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GH's comment


April 30 2012 at 4:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

The goverment is not on this list because they are not a profit making organization.

April 30 2012 at 1:11 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

You forgot the worst business in America - Federal government. Mismanagement with no end in sight. Bunches of old men playing around with America's money with greed and pride and never listening to us smarter people out here in the land when we have perfectly well thought out suggestions as to how to make it all better. Blame shifting, posturing, pontificating, doing every illegal act they can think of and then covering up what they've done with more illegal acts. But we're just as stupid because we keep putting them in office to waste more and more.

April 30 2012 at 12:14 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Would love to see a list of the other side of the coin. What companies are the best to invest in?

April 30 2012 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

didn't see GE...most of their jobs went overseas....and they don't pay taxes

April 30 2012 at 10:14 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to c21marybisig's comment

It wouldn't look good for certain people to put this company on the wall of shame. Actually, they are quite shameless, to the point of being a sanctimonious disgrace. Immelt has huge influence over Obama financial and economic policy. You can call him part of the problem. I call him part of the picture.

April 30 2012 at 11:11 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Robert & Lisa

Our govenment has been meddling in business and doing a terrible job for us taxpayers. Why aren't they on the list?

April 30 2012 at 10:11 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert & Lisa's comment

I tend to look at it the opposite way.Business has been meddling in government and doing a terrible job.

April 30 2012 at 10:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hdvh56's comment

You are both right with one big difference. Government has way of picking and choosing winners and losers, and like the free market parasites they are, they have profited immensely by doing so. Government produces nothing. They steal the wealth from those companies and their workers who have earned it and give it to the scammers who won't work, and whose genetic lineage would have gone extinct otherwise. You'll note that I'm referring to those who "won't work," not the helpless.

April 30 2012 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

of course walmart is always vilified...because they haven't succumbed to the over zealous unions

April 30 2012 at 10:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

All the companies that cheat the US goverment should be ashamed of themselves. I think that taxes should based on a scale and those who make more, pay more and nobody can avoid the taxes, period. What do these big corporations do for anybody? All they do is cheat by taking these hefty, unbelievable salaries and bonuses. Some of the amounts of money they take are absolutely immoral. there must be a special place in HELL reserved for these rogues.

April 30 2012 at 10:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to jroycrs's comment