Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The near future

Have large corporations always been considered untrustworthy? Actually, yes.

In 1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I hope that we shall . . . crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

From Woodrow Wilson, “There was a time when corporations played a minor part in our business affairs, but now they play the chief part, and most men are the servants of corporations.”

Image result for corporations are not peopleMitt Romney gave us, “Corporations are people, my friend . . . of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings my friend.”  For comparison, Senator Elizabeth Warren at the Democratic Convention in 2012 countered, “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get sick. They thrive. They dance. They live. They love. And they die. That matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”The last two decades have given us ample evidence of the influence big business has in our governments.  Regulatory changes 'purchased' by the finance industry gave us the Great Recession.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership is more of the same.On the Forbes list of America's most trustworthy corporations, there's not a single bank or finance entity.  No surprise there.
The issue, of course, is not the existence of incorporated businesses.  Small and local businesses are the backbone of the economy.  Our difficulties emerge from the extraordinary power inherent in the largest corporations.  They seem to become extractors of wealth and resource, thriving at the expense of employees and suppliers, and even regions, channeling benefits away from communities and across the country to the wealthy and fortunate few.  They exert inappropriate influence in both the marketplace and in government for their financial success rather than for the benefit of the nation or the citizens.  Of particular concern are finance and oil corporations, many of which are bigger than countries.
Of the world's 100 largest economies, 63 are countries and  37 are corporations.  Of those 37 corporations, most of them are oil companies or banks.  These are economic behemoths that are larger and more influential than most of the world's nations.   The 'economic convergence' theories defend big business citing the equivalent of international trickle-down promises.  It hasn't worked, and a significant number of developing countries have seen zero growth over decades while their resources and wealth are consumed by the international marketplace.  

In the absence of significant regulatory reform, eco & poly sci forecasts are for continuing transformation of national governance in favor of greater economic dominance, economic conquest and empire, if you will. 

Things will indeed change in the near future. Do you know how your vote affects the issue?  And your faith?

As individuals, we perhaps cannot solve the dilemma, but we can make a difference for others.

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