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Constraining the Corporation

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Constraining the Corporation

You see them every day.  

The flagrant and contemptuous displays of money and power in the service of money and power.

From the bailout of the Wall Street criminals, to renewed offshore drilling after the Gulf disaster, to tornado victims held hostage to budget concessions.   

And while they are favorably treated by the mainstream media (sanitized and spun for our consumption, of course), and perhaps more perceptively chronicled in the best of the alternative sites, money and power continues unilaterally and unabated to shape your destiny. 

The trends that have come to so completely reflect the human condition are these: Staggering wealth is amassed by the few, at an alarming and accelerating rate, while the permanent and growing underclass becomes increasingly irrelevant to those in power. We live in a state of perpetual war, both at home and abroad. The health of the planet is increasingly at risk and, with it, our very survival. And representative democracy has long-since ceased to reflect our will, as politicians openly cater to the demands of a tiny elite - so emphatically described by Lawrence Wilkerson: "What we have today is a corpratocracy. We have the president and the congress in the hands of Big Food, Big Pharmacy, Big Oil, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate...the President doesn't run this county; the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State don't run these people, and God help us (!) the American people don't run this country!  Big Money runs this country." 

It is Big Money, the multi-national corporations, that so completely control the key issues affecting the human condition. The multi-national corporation is the vehicle by which money and power serves money and power, the mechanism through which the elite influence (read: buy) policy makers for their exclusive benefit. As a group, multi-national corporations have become the most dominant economic and political force the world has known, and they have become perhaps the greatest threat to mankind in its history. They are driving a headlong rush to our ultimate demise. Simply put, corporations are killing us. And they are killing us in ways both large and small, long-term and immediate, as even a partial list will show - they drive the negative trends in our changing climate (while denying the science that proves the case); they pump ever greater volumes and varieties of carcinogens into the environment without any apparent oversight; they create the conditions for debilitating systemic poverty and unemployment; and, as integrated partners with the military, they participate in and profit from the subjugation and misery of people around the world.  

Strange that this most successful form of human organization, one that exists and endures only through human effort, an entity created entirely of the human imagination, could be our ultimate undoing. Not surprising, though, considering its legal mandate to amass, to maximize and to exist without end - the potential for corrupt and criminal action is baked into the corporation's DNA. And yet,  perhaps there is the faintest hope. Precisely because the corporation is an invention of the human mind, it seems obvious that we simply correct the mistake, that we rethink the corporation! Why are we held hostage by a creature of our own imagination? To answer, the present realities are so completely aligned against any change you can believe in, the infrastructure so completely ingrained. Money and power, in the service of money and power, will not be undone. It is an insurmountable force beyond remedy, one that relies upon our ingrained sense of learned helplessness, based on a strategy calculated to suppress any concerted response. We are supposed to be rendered helpless and mute by the daily barrage of job losses, entitlement reductions, labor bashing and diminishing civil liberties. Each is a hammer blow intended to ensure our inaction. No, this thought that we can redress our errors is a fantasy - to imagine that corporations could be subordinated, that elected representatives would actually reflect the will and serve the needs of the many, that our looming catastrophes could be averted. As Chris Hedges said, "The war is over, and they won." 

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David Ruhlen is a writer and musician living in Canada. He notes with great alarm the profoundly negative trends that will increasingly affect us all. And the trends that have come to so completely reflect the human condition are these: (more...)
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