FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Taming the Giant Corporation

by RALPH NADER

 

Back in the nineteen thirties, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt went on the national radio and declared what the basic necessities were for the American people–a wage that can support a family, decent housing, the right to health care, a good education and future economic security.

Sound familiar today? It certainly would sound familiar to a majority of the American people. The struggle for livelihood, the struggles to escape poverty, calamitous health care bills, mounting debt, gouging rents and failing, crumbling schools continues year after year.

What’s that French saying–“the more things change, they remain the same.”

Things have changed for the rich and corporate, though. The rich have gotten richer. The talk now is about the super-rich and the hyper-rich. The richest 1 percent of people in this country has financial wealth equal to the combined financial wealth of the bottom 95 percent.

The big corporations are more avaricious than ever. The past decade’s corporate crime wave, dutifully reported in the major business media-newspapers and magazines-demonstrates how trillions of dollars were looted, or drained away, from tens of millions of small investors, pensioners and workers.

In FDR’s time, the CEOs of the top 300 corporations paid themselves about 12 times the average wage in their company. Now the “top greed” registers 400 to 500 times what the average workers eke out in a full year. WalMart is an example of that sheer self-serving power at the top.

All this is occurring while the big companies deliver comparatively far less to the economic well-being of the American worker. The CEOs are otherwise preoccupied with figuring out how they can outsource more American jobs to China and India, how they can hollow out more communities and ship whole industries to those and other countries, many under authoritarian rule, that promise to keep the CEOs’ operations at costs close to serfdom.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the CEOs say it is necessary to flee our country-where they were nurtured to their size and profits-in order to keep up with global competition. But they never urge outsourcing their own CEO jobs to hardworking, bilingual executives in the Third World willing to work for less than one-tenth of the U.S. CEOs’ pay package.

Besides, who wrote the rules (NAFTA, WTO) that define the global competition? Big Business and its lawyer-lobbyists.

Uncle Sam has bent over to give Big Business what it has demanded in the past 25 years. Huge tax reductions, compared to the prosperous nineteen sixties. Massive deregulation, or the abandonment of law and order against criminal, negligent or defrauding corporations. Your tax dollars were transferred in the form of subsidies, handouts, giveaways and bailouts to demanding, mismanaged or corrupt large businesses.

Still, it was not enough coddling to keep these giant companies from casting aside what allegiance they had to our country, its communities and people. The companies’ standard is to control them or quit them as these CEOs see fit.

When BusinessWeek Magazine answered a resounding YES to its cover story in 2000 “Too Much Corporate Power?” the editors were not kidding. They even wrote an editorial saying that “corporations should get out of politics.” I guess they meant that since corporations do not vote, and are not human beings, that they should not be honing in on what should be the exclusive domain of real people.

More and more conservatives believe that Big Business (Wall Street vs. Main Street) is out of control and stomping on conservative values. They don’t like corporate welfare, corporate eminent domain against the little guys, commercial invasion of privacies, WTO and NAFTA shredding our sovereignty, corporate crimes (Enron, Worldcom, etc.) or Big Government on behalf of Big Business Empires around the world.

They are appalled by corporations directly selling bad things and violent programming to their children, whom these companies teach to nag parents.

It is time for the American people to get off the defense and take the offense against corporate power, the way it was done in the consumer, environmental and worker areas from 1965 to 1975 and beyond to new frontiers of subordinating the big corporations to the rights and necessities of real people.

Toward those objectives, hundreds of leading advocates, scholars and activists will convene on June 8-10 in Washington, D.C. to address how to subordinate raw corporate power to the will of the people.

The title of the conference tells its content: “Taming the Giant Corporation: A National Conference on Corporate Accountability.”

Conference speakers include: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman; Robert Monks, veteran leader for corporate governance; Mark Green, president, Air America Radio; Robert Greenstein, Director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Ron Daniels, President of Institute of the Black World in the 21st Century; Dr. Sidney Wolfe and Lori Wallach of Public Citizen and many more distinguished persons.

If you wish to attend the entire conference, including the Saturday evening dinner, go to www.tamethecorporation.org for details or call 202-387-8030. Hurry up. Space is available but seating is limited.

RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions

 

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail