Big corporations are destroying our lives, but what can we do? Here are some ways to begin to deprive Big Greed of a little bit of the lifeblood that keeps it so damn strong.
been sold a bill of goods. Big Greed has convinced us they are the only game in
town. In some cases that might be true, but where we do have options let's use
them. Must we always eat Big Greed's bad food? Or loan Big Greed money? Or buy
Big Greed's sweatshop products from Big Greed Box stores that are miles away?
Greed's Dream I suggest Three Rules for Ending Big Greed's Tyranny:
1) Recognize the actions of Big Greed in your life.
2) Minimize and/or eliminate your transactions with Big
scourge of Big Greed is now obvious, but let's review just to get your blood
pumping, for it's your lifeblood Big Greed is sucking out of you. Nothing the
government is doing or plans to do will stop Big Greed.
you read this, Big Insurance lobbyists are working hard to derail any
substantive health care reform or, at minimum, make it as favorable to them as
Finance is changing the terms on tens of millions of credit cards from fixed
rate to variable rate in order to skirt the rate hike protection supposed
gained in recently enacted "reform."
Energy will continue to obstruct any efforts that might circumvent their
control of power production and delivery.
Big Food will continue its price pressure on small farmers and independent
retailers & restaurants to assure their strangle hold on the food supply.
to the Wall Street Journal (July 21, 2009), based on an analysis of the Social
Security Administration data, "highly compensated employees now receive more
than one-third of all the pay in the U.S..." And get this, that doesn't count
billions of $$$ in compensation that is not included in the federal wages and
salaries number, like stock options.
Greed continues to ship jobs overseas where it can dodge costs, use inferior
materials and exploit workers. Mike Elk documents just such a case in "GE
Promotes Manufacturing Jobs in US... Then Ships 'Em Overseas." (July 21,
reports on ATI, an American company, which invested $30M in a Michigan plant to supply wind turbine parts
to General Electric. GE backed out of the deal when a Chinese firm underbid
ATI's price. Even after offering to match the Chinese manufacturer's price, GE
refused to return the business stateside. Three-hundred and two union workers
were laid off and the modernized plant shuttered.
June figures from the government put unemployment at 9.5%. Shadow Government Statistics and
its economist John Williams who takes the time to adjust a number of government
issued indicators to more accurately measure the real situation, puts the June
unemployment rate a 20.6%.
can you do...? If you want jobs to be created here again? Or to stop the race to
the bottom of worker wages? Or to crimp the siphon of profits that are sucked
up and out of your community, your state and your country by Big Greed into
some netherworld of corporate excess?
an American car? Okay, but a typical car is now made from parts and assemblies
sourced from all over the world.
you own food? The percentage of Americans in a position to be sustenance
farmers and/or hunters is minuscule.
pay taxes? Sure, you go first.
understand who Big Greed is: large corporations that have all the rights of a
person, but never die. This gives them one huge advantage over us mere mortals.
Because they never die they never intend to pay back one cent of the money they
have borrowed or that has been invested in them. They get by with paying only
interest on their debt. And when they can no longer make those meager payments
they will file for bankruptcy protection without compunction.
recent government bailouts took Big Greed favoritism to a surreal advantage.
Several firm were picked for immunity from all consequences for failed business
practices. Some received taxpayer loans even though their actions were, in
fact, criminal fraud.
don't know if we can bring Big Greed down, in fact, I rather doubt it.
I'm suggesting is we begin by slapping a tiny hurt on it. Kick it in the shins
and run if you will. Then, come back later to do some more damage. No, it's not
a magic bullet approach. It's only revolutionary in its grassroots, guerrilla
warfare style. But I believe we must start somewhere.
think baby steps. Let's think things that may be a small sacrifice now but will
pay off in changes down the road. Things all of us can do to some degree.
are some ways to begin to deprive Big Greed of a little bit of the lifeblood
that keeps it so damn strong. Please, please, please contribute more ideas
and/or amend these to be more doable and effective:
Buy local. Buy food raised and grown here, not abroad, and if local produce is
available buy that. Buy as close to home as possible. Not just food,
everything. I've found this is easier said than done, but we must take back
what we can and keep our money as close to home. The global market, products
shipped anywhere, anytime plays a role in both obfuscating true costs and makes
us dependent on distant suppliers for necessities that should always be
Do buy Made-in-America whenever you can. Consider the entire cost of your
purchase in terms of value, environmental and economic impact, not just the
price. Low prices do not necessarily mean low cost. Big Greed has a hundred
ways to pass costs onto you later, including out-sourcing your job, wasting
your gas, polluting the earth and limiting your choices, allowing them to
charge you more another day.
Minimize purchases at Big Box Stores, a.k.a. Category Killers. Sad but true, we
are now to the point where many things can only be purchased at these community
wreckers. Do what you can. Don't drive miles to the home center when the local
hardware store, if you still have one, has what you need. If there's a locally
owned market, give them your local business.
Get out of debt. Pay off your credit cards. If you can't, pay down your credit
cards. Do whatever it takes to divest Big Finance of those interest payments
and fees. If you are in a dire financial situation do consider bankruptcy
protection. Don't feel bad about it, Big Greed corporations use it again and
Bank local. Big Banking offers a lot of convenience, but we're feeding the
machine. Find a local FDIC insured bank or credit union that will appreciate
your deposits and where they have a chance of being invested locally.
Weatherize your home. This is a great way to thumb your nose at Big Energy.
Green advocates report this low-tech approach to residential energy savings is
a big winner. Under $1,000 can cut your energy bill by an average 20%. You'll
be creating local jobs and most of the materials will be made in the United States.
Many homeowners are eligible for DOE grants for these improvements. See:
National Low Income Housing Coalition website for more information.
Stop driving. You know you can drive less, you just don't want to. This is
important. Leave the car whenever you can. This action will save you money.
Don't invest in stocks and bonds. Don't lend Big Greed money, as we've seen
without the proper regulation of these markets the risk is just too high it
will be stolen from you. Right now, with U.S. Treasury Series I Bonds are
paying 0.0%. So, perhaps the best place to put your money is an FDIC insured
savings account even though they don't pay much more. I'm sure someone will
recommend a safe way to bank some cash in gold or silver, but I won't propose
this option because I haven't found it.
Don't buy unnecessary insurance. Review all your insurance contracts now. What
you'll find is your buying options and features that are ridiculous or aren't
right for you. Shop around for insurance that covers only what you need or you
must have as mandated by law.
some of the above will cost us more in the short-term. The prices we pay at the
checkout will be higher, but if you consider the other costs of doing business
with Big Greed it's a long-term bargain.
Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration caused the greatest tragedy of the space age based on Richard C. Cook's book "Challenger Revealed." He is a former Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood of NYC. His website is: www.WordsWillNever.com