FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Identity Theft and Public Interest Groups

by LARRY TUTTLE

Nearly 30-million criminal identity thefts were reported last year. Most federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have full-time units assigned to identity-theft prevention and investigation. Interviews with identity-theft victims are television sweeps-week staples.

But more pervasive identity thefts threaten the lives, health, and safety of every US citizens. These embezzlements manifest under several aliases: task forces and blue ribbon committees; advisory boards, task forces, working and consensus groups. Whatever the label, to politicians and bureaucracies these individuals are “stakeholders.” And whatever their designation, stakeholders are the hand-picked or self-selected delegates with whom politicos and agencies choose to negotiate.

Early 1960s business-school literature defined stakeholders as groups or individuals with the potential to affect achievement of a firms’ objectives. Politicians and bureaucrats soon after found stakeholder buzzwords irresistible. Now, few public sector speeches and writing fail to include stakeholder references. But this appropriation of stakeholder terminology overlooks one essential: although both governments and corporations have client groups, only governments have public interest obligations.

Stakeholder processes are perfect solutions for issues and people who will not go away. By pushing stakeholders out front, political and bureaucratic interests can feign resolve and embrace all sides of an issue at once. At a minimum, so long as something is being talked about, difficult decisions or structural changes can delayed or avoided altogether.

Non-aligned stakeholders are always solicited to add a patina of fairness. But they are easily and quickly outflanked by paid industry and agency stakeholder participants who have more time, money, and paid experts to back them up than will ever be available to stakeholders selected to represent public interests. Affable professional “stakeholders” respond with lightning speed when errant idealism interferes with their desired outcomes. Besides, ultimate decision makes are rarely at the table. When discussions or proposed actions take troubling turns, professional stakeholders can always defer to largely anonymous policy-making structures.

In the end, public stakeholders — who have no grant of authority to speak for or to act for the public on anything — find that they must compromise or labeled obstructionists or extremists, then shunned. The remaining stakeholders and their sponsors are then free to proscribe an outcome of their liking.

Stakeholder groups are unacceptable alternatives to governments’ obligations to obey and to enforce their own laws. When politicians or bureaucracies attempt to substitute stakeholders for our identities, three actions — as in any identity theft — are indispensable:

1) Report the theft immediately: Write, e-mail, and call the sponsoring agency or elected official. Demand the following:

a) public notices of all stakeholder meetings;

b) records of proceedings including audio tapes;

c) schedule and locations for stakeholder meetings;

and, d) written minority reports.

2) Undo the damage: Notify in writing the executive officer and governing board immediately if you are a member of a group which is participating with stakeholder activities. Inform the executive officer and governing board that stakeholder participants are not authorized to act, or to make decisions, on your behalf.

3) Cancel affiliations: End memberships and stop donations if groups fail to withdraw from stakeholder participation. Write to boards of directors explaining why your membership and donations are ending. Send copies of the correspondence to your local newspaper; to other groups in which you hold memberships; and, to your mail and e-mail lists.

Laws and regulations designed to protect all of us are not open to negotiation by hand picked or self-selected individuals or groups. Stakeholder processes allow political and bureaucratic leaders to escape scrutiny and responsibility for their actions and decisions. When this happens, few citizens will be inspired to push for change or care what decisions are made or who makes the decisions.

LARRY TUTTLE is executive director of the Center for Environmental Equity in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at nevermined@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail