Bravo – My last post was *way* too long for people to read. I was trying to respond to all of your points. It was also way too late at night. Allow me to consolidate our argument and reinforce my position.
Essentially, there are two related arguements.
#1 – you are challenging my suspicion that our presence in Iraq is primarily corporate motivated.
#2 – you are challenging (or perhaps just questioning) my assertion that corporations are at war with democracy, which is a rhetorical way of saying that the objectives of corporations and democracies are frequently at odds. This covers my observation that Bush is on the side of the corporation and is effectivly shifting power to them.
I won’t belabor #1 anymore, I’ve already laid out the arguments in my previous posts along with government sponsered statistics that support my argument. I *will* stress that I never said anything about a conspiracy. I think the American public is ill-informed but that doesn’t make any of this a conspiracy. The information isn’t hidden from us, it just isn’t blasted out in the top 40, so Americans have to look for it, something they aren’t always willing to do.
I’ll follow up on #2, because this is where your strongest arguments are. My primary challenge is that corporations don’t give you a voice and you responded with the popular right-wing response, that we do have a voice through consumerism. I’ll admit that this makes sense on the surface, but this is assuming the best of conditions.
Here are some reasons why conditions may be different:
1. Monopoly: Our power as consumers, weakens in the presence of a monopoly. There are many people that were concerned about Bill Gates for example, cornering the market and forcing the competition out, leaving us with no choices and as far as consumerism goes, no choice, no voice. The Anti-trust laws are government devices that interfere with corporate success and I think there were a lot of conservatives that are thankful for that.
2. Diversity: I presented this argument in my last post, but essentially a consumer has the right to boycott, but in the end, a large diverse corporation has a lot more staying power than a consumer.
3. Not always about shopping: Corporations make decisions that affect people regardless of whether or not they depend on them for revenue. For instance, there is a Canadian company that produces MBTE and sells it to the American oil companies who then add the stuff to gasoline. In CA people complained to their state government because MBTE is a serious health hazard and it doesn’t matter what kind of gas you pump, it’s always in there, all the gas stations have it, so there goes your “choice” argument. The government, the democracy that represents the people, motioned to stop the practice to protect the health of the people per their request. The Canadian company, brought up a free-trade agreement signed earlier by corporate influenced government officials without public consent, (remember what I said about free-trade and the Fast Track law?)and said look, according to this agreement you can’t tell us not to sell the stuff. It’s obstructive. So the federal government held up their hands and shrugged. Sorry, people.
This is a clear case of the democratic power of our voices being over-ruled by the power of the corporate profit margin (the war on democracy) and the invalidates the “voice through market” argument.
4. Sometimes we are forced to consume: Many conservatives have a problem with excessive taxes, but funny enough, most of our taxes support government programs that they support such as national defense. Now let me be the first to admit, we need a national defense and I’m willing to pay for it, but if you look at the Pentagon which runs a huge clearing house for government contracts, you’ll notice that they are using tax money that people are forced to pay and most of the contracts are going to private industry. Again, the fairness of contract bidding is irrelevant to my argument. I’ll let the dems squabble that one with you. My point is that people are not given a say in what products to buy or what price they are willing to pay. Now, I tend to think the people in the Pentagon know a bit more about buying fighter jets that the average voter at home so it makes sense that we have this system, but I mention it because it’s another case of people, not having a choice, which means that when a company with a government contract processes rocket fuel in CA and leaks toxic poison into the water table and decides not to clean it up, and the government says don’t worry about it despite the fact that local hospitals are reporting an impact, the people being poisoned can’t just say let’s put them out of business and not buy their product, they are being forced by the government to buy the stuff by collecting tax money and giving it to offenders. I remember the story, I just wish I remember the name of the company – I’ll try to find that.
In conclussion, I’m not just throwing slogans around and trying to rally up a protest. I’m not saying “all corporations are evil” I’m simply stating that corporations are much to powerful to be so casual about them. They are driven by profit, not ethics and when/if a person’s symbiotic relationship with a corporation goes bad, odds are very slanted that it will be the person that suffers not the corporation. Finally, the idea that we have a voice in corporate America is a little bit like beleiving in Santa Clause. It’s a nice idea for those who don’t know any better.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither”
– Ben Franklin, 1759