March 9, 2013
Big Business and Government
Global Ethics Forum: Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business & Government – YouTube
Garten Rothkopf CEO David Rothkopf talks about the conflict between big business and government.
“He explains that we are in a crisis. There has been a net loss of jobs in this country over the last ten years. Social mobility is declining. Inequality is increasing. Our democratic system is under threat by massive corporate power because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United that perverts the right of free speech to include money.
What gives the average citizen a voice? that would be the government. Government is a leveler.
Historically the battle between church and state was the last big battle on the same scale as this one. It was not really a battle over religion. It was an economic battle – who had the authority to tax.
The one country that has done the most to empower corporations is the United States. This country is born of the industrial era.
Even early on corporations had an outsize influence. In the Dartmouth college case, the Supreme Court decided that states could not revoke charters once granted essentially giving corporations immortality.
Later we saw the courts use the 14th amendement for its first fifty years arguing the corporations should have the same rights as people. Yet people are not immortal. People do not possess legions of lawyers to get laws passed.
Today, most of the value bearing instruments are created by the private sector mainly derivatives. Only about five major powers are able to have currencies on their own.
Nations unable to compete with corporations in terms of power should be considered semi-states.
Markets don’t promote competition (read Adam Smith) efficiency is achieved by scale.
The current size of corporations is larger than could have been imagined in the past. Fundamental shifts in power are occurring.
More than half people on the ground in our last two wars were private contractors
In America – the political process is corrupted by money and Internationally – no institutions capable of dealing with this issue exist.
We need to ask ourselves – What produces the kind of society we aspire to?
As the economic center of gravity moves so does the intellectual center. Right now that center is moving to Asia.
Government is the only way the average person has a seat at the table. “
(Forgive my poor summary – I wrote notes as it went along.)
November 14, 2011
Image via Wikipedia
I was watching Gasland, the Josh Fox documentary with my class a few days ago. There were two scenes in the film that struck me. Fox tries to call a gas company for comment and gets the run around, a vigorous spirited run around. It gave off a scent of “We don’t have to tell you little people anything, ever.”
But don’t we get that treatment all the time? We call our bank, we call our computer company, we call the cable company, and we call and we call, and we find ourselves enmeshed in a web of partial answers, refusals, and promises to call back later. I hate promises to call back later, they always come when I’m in the middle of something (like teaching class) or they don’t come at all.
It is certain that some organizations, some companies, have these telephone walls, merely to channel messages or discourage the unnecessary message. However, with the giant corporations in this case the gas companies, these phone walls have a more sinister purpose, that is, to deny the public the interviews, the information that would place the companies in a bad light. After all, there is a strong implication that having lobbied successfully to evade federal regulations, even the most mundane studies, that you are doing something wrong.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine a great corporation accessible without going through a gaggle of public relations minions and the occasional attorney. But we are not yet a complete oligarchy of corporations, corporate clients and a compliant government manipulating a passive, electronically entranced populous, American citizens still have responsibility to other citizens. I happen to believe that when you are a corporate citizen and are building a nation wide infrastructure of gas wells, you have a responsibility to give an occasional interview.
June 28, 2011
I have advocated for the corporate death penalty before. I continue to believe it is a vital idea whose time has come.
Now that corporations have full political rights in terms of money and political advocacy, they are more and more like human beings.
So, killing one for its crimes makes more and more sense. A corporation whose crimes have risen to a certain level is seized by the government, sold off piece by piece until nothing remains. The stockholders lose everything for their failure to oversee their investment.
via AntiCorruption Society
June 23, 2011
From Andrew –
“There is no religion and no moral philosophy with Milton Friedman’s dicta that corporations exist only to maximize profit anymore than we exist to maximize our bank account or our stock portfolio”
Except that a corporation is not a person. It is an organization designed and built around the sole idea of delivering a product or service to make a profit. Its business. If its not competitve, then it will die. How socially responsible is it for a company to allow itself to go under and risk the livlihoods of its employees just for the sake of doing whats “socially responsible”? Self interest creates jobs. Entrepreneurs, in the search for greater profits, will build bigger manufacturing plants, bigger offices, bigger everything. That creates jobs. How is that inconsistant with being “socially responsible”?
I dont understand the bipolar nature of this country sometimes. People expect for a corporation to act morally in the same way you’d expect a person to act morally, yet the very same people freak out when corporations are given rights the same as a person would (i.e. campaign contributions).
January 2, 2011
BNET has an interesting essay complete with clips about the corporation as the villian of choice. It’s a fun read and the film clips alone are enough reason to view the article.
Corporations and their leaders are seldom cast as movie heroes.
But in the movies of 2010, whether you were at the multiplex or the art house, the go-to bad guy was the American corporation.
Even the adorable Despicable Me has super villains who need to finance their nefarious schemes and pay a visit to the Bank of Evil, or, as the posted sign indicates, the former Lehman Brothers. From Tron: Legacy to Inception, the choice of evildoer was so consistent it was a relief …. Read More.