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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/12/10

Centralized Power is Always a Danger

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Message Paul Cohen

As late as the 1950's, this country did have a business climate that was a reasonable approximation to a free market capitalist system, but in the second half of the 20th century there was a noticeable growth of large national corporations taking over sectors of business that had been locally owned. Even earlier there had been large corporations, primarily in the manufacturing and transportation sectors, but restaurants, pharmacies and the many other retail establishments were usually locally owned and operated. It was not a true free market, but at least a reasonably healthy mixed economy, partially free-market and partially oligopoly or monopoly. And there was also a third economic sector that should not be forgotten, the public sector; businesses that were considered important for the society and its general welfare (such as utilities and hospitals) were often owned by the government or were at least strictly regulated.

As more and more sectors of the economy were taken over by large national corporations, small locally owned businesses could not compete and were driven out of business. Success after success by these over-sized corporations led to irrational exuberance and further expansion of the corporate model until today there is little room for the small entrepreneur. To the extent that new businesses are formed, it is often with the hope of being taken over by some large corporation, sometimes U.S. based but it matters little. The big corporations are now international, not national. If we are headed toward a world government it is probably through the takeover of all of the world's government by these international corporations.

Whether or not this will actually happen is anyone's guess, but the trend seems to be toward ever bigger and more powerful corporations and ever more subservient governments. Latin America seems to be the promising exception of governments standing up to corporate power, so developments there deserve more attention that they seem to receive. Another alternative is an economic collapse of the world economy; governments might be empowered to come in and save us all as the corporate powers collapse.

We live in interesting times.

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A concerned citizen and former mathematician/engineer now retired and living in rural Maine.
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