Twenty five years later, I’ll turn it around for the sake of historical symmetry.
American business IS the problem.
Right wing think tanks, corporate leaders, media moguls and rich Republicans in the government have long been working together to grease the wheels of industry, but before they can fully realize that goal, they first need to finish the job of demonizing, hobbling, de-funding, disparaging and finally using the very power of the government to eliminate government functions, oversight and prosecutions.
They have nearly accomplished what they set out to do. From the Justice Department to the courts, and FEMA, FDA, and all other agencies, the US Government is dying.
Government records indicate that perhaps as many as 80,000 bridges in America are rated structurally marginal or poor. The electrical, phone, water, sewage, highway, port, railway, airport, education and even industrial infrastructures of this country are aging, and in many cases could be considered marginal, or poor. That includes not just decrepit bridges you may drive on every day, but also deteriorating nuclear power plants, octogenarian skyscrapers in earthquake zones, suspect water treatment systems, the pothole-ridden roads you drive on, the sub-standard levees in places like New Orleans, and the laughing stock power grid that fails everywhere on a regular basis.
The bridge collapse in Minneapolis is already being used by corporate America to push for privatization of the highway system. Just imagine toll roads everywhere, roads that will become even more decrepit over time in order to ensure maximal profits. Corporate reps ask defiantly, “why shouldn’t somebody make money on it?”
The government is always sluggish to do what is right, and what is necessary, but eventually, critical things often eventually get done, even though they may be a more than “a dollar long and a day late”. But ever since half of the American electorate, with the help of the Supreme Court, put government-hating businessmen in charge of everything for the last six years, the national infrastructure, public health, education and even our troops have been far more neglected than usual.
This neglect is not negligent, it is planned. Corporatists have endeavored for years to make everyone hate all politicians, hate the government and hate everything associated with them. As you can tell, the plan is working.
The complete and permanent marriage of government and corporations in America is not an inevitable fate. Government in America can be what the people make of it… if they work hard enough. It took blood during the Revolutionary war, and the reign of the Pinkertons in the Gilded Age, but it will only take organization and perseverance now if the people can unite against the Corporateocracy.
The uniting part is hard. Very hard.
Currently, business IS the problem. Until we return to the ancient and now quaint Aristotelian idea that the purpose of business craft is to excel at what they do, to serve their customers, make a fair profit, and to be a productive part of the community, we will be the victims of a perverted system that puts quarterly profits and shareholders above everything else, including the quality of life, and indeed, above life itself.
What can be done?
I suggest that progressive organizations coordinate rolling “buy boycotts” for various goods and services targeted at the large corporations that are part of the problem. This would focus initially on corporate media, and their advertisers. It would have to include letter writing and phone call campaigns to make our intentions unmistakable. It could move to energy companies and other sectors that have a stranglehold on our government, media and society.
This would only work if progressives were willing to do the hard work necessary. If most progressives are too busy, and would rather not be bothered, then there is no chance that this could work. It would be both difficult, and time-consuming. But if you want to do something, I suggest that you pick your favorite progressive organization, join it, and work to coordinate with other organizations, local and nationwide, to plan and execute consecutive and effective boycotts. If this became a national news story due to the persuasive effects on businesses, it could help shift the debate and the political center of gravity to the left, and away from impending corporatocracy.
As I’ve said before, money doesn’t talk, it screams bloody murder. We’ve got to use our collective buying power as consumers to scream bloody murder. If you’re mad as hell, and don’t want to take it anymore, there is no better way to express it than what you do with your money. And besides, money is the only thing that the corporatocracy cares about.