Sunday, March 22, 2009

Democracy or Corporatocracy (the Sunday Funnies on a serious note)

Like many people of my generation, the baby boom one, I grew up with both awe and wonder at the big corporations of the day. IBM, Xerox and General Motors were behemoths during my younger years.

As time went by I began to think less of these specific entities and corporations in general. This has been a multi-decade process for me, but at last I've come to believe that through our greed, laziness and lack of paying attention we allowed our government to be hi-jacked by corporatism.

After the last two terms of alleged conservative rule we find ourselves in the deep doo doo without a clue how to stop the smell, much less clean up the mess. Our new president seems sincere in wanting to effect change, but really, I wonder if anything substantial is going to take place.

Here's why:

In spite of the huge stimulus package just passed we have spent triple that on financial institutions, banks, insurance companies, and trading houses with a couple trillion more likely to spent in the next 3 quarters.We have been bullshitted and bullied into believing these corporations are essential to our national and global survival. Are they?

It feels like we are being run by faceless cabals of financial swindlers who have blackmailed and bought the congress and various members of the new administration. I am very unhappy to have come to this conclusion. I still support our president, but he's being sandbagged by Wall Street bigtime.

This is what "Corporatocracy" looks like when things get bad. The wealthy and powerful figure out ways to socialize their losses all the while screaming socialism when any action is attempted to help the diminished and devastated middle class.

If you think I've gone too far, then think about this. The middle class hasn't had a gain in real earning power since the mid 70s. That's a quarter of century of losses. How many families do you know that can afford for just one parent to work?

Can you remember when a career for a mother (or father) was an option instead of necessity?

Wages are at all time lows compared to costs and they will only get lower during this recession. Small businesses sprang up out of discontent with corporate chauvinism, but this companies tend to offer few benefits and low wages, so how does that help the working man and woman?

Meanwhile we are treated to daily reports of corporate greed and malfeasance with nothing ever done to the perpetrators. Where are the perp walks when you need them Oh sure, blatant crooks like Bernie Madoff get caught and imprisoned, after 20 years or so. That's right, the geniuses at the SEC going back to the Reagan administration managed to overlook his Ponzi scheme for more than two decades.

Small wonder then that myriad other corporations and individuals have done the same in some fashion without getting caught. We allowed the very people we should trust least to set their own rules and regulations. Does that sound like a Democracy or a Corporatocracy to you?

There are too many examples of how we allowed big businesses to rule us, our daily lives and set the standards by which we live to list them all here. Instead I ask this question:

What can we do to keep the corporations out of our lives, diminish their power and control and bring the companies we must deal with down to a reasonable size? A size that requires responsiveness and responsibility. A size that is never to big to fail, too remote to be watched, too powerful to bring to justice.

No one is seriously talking about breaking up the companies that were key players in our latest economic bust. They never do. But wouldn't it be nice to hear about how we can regain some control of our cultural, political and economic destiny.

Without these conversations and the resulting actions to downsize our vast and parasitic corporate culture we are doomed to cycle after cycle of this kind of crisis.

Our limited history as a country and people give us the startling example of the great depression. It seems the only thing we've learned from our history is how to screw up the economy in different ways.

What do you think?



Thom said...

Richard for the first time when you post about this I am in total agreement with you. There's hardly anything else to add except for GET THE DAMN THING FIXED AND QUIT POINTING FINGERS

Richard said...

Amen brother, amen

Dr.John said...

Your right of course. The real problem that wrecks every economic system is greed.
The greedy executives aren't even smart.The AIG executives had to know there would be an out cry but they went ahead anyway.
The rest of us are dumb enough to think that by changing parties ever eight years we solve the problem. It doesn't of course. Democrats are as greedy as Republicans.
Obama is a good man but his party doesn't want to go where we need to go.