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It’s strange the way we accept so much as “just the way things are,” and effectively impossible to change, when such fundamental beliefs are so often proved to be flawed, at best; or, more often, just plain wrong. For instance, it was once generally accepted that the world was flat, and you’d fall off the edge if you journeyed that far, but I am now reliably informed that the Earth is round, and that we are sort of glued to the surface by this thing called ‘Gravity. If you doubt me, try jumping off a rooftop – I recommend six stories or more – and, if you fly up, then you’ll have proved me wrong. As to the consequences of my being proved right, let me assure you that you’ll be fine on the way down; and after you stop, you will have nothing to worry about any more.
In much the same vein, there was once a time when The Divine Right of Kings was accepted dogma. Such a belief meant that a King was literally ‘God-given’ and therefor entitled to do pretty much whatever he wanted – whether it was declaring war, grabbing another man’s wife, or taxing the nation on a whim. That belief passed, as well, after Oliver Cromwell chopped off King Charles I’s head in the interests of parliamentary democracy, and the remaining monarchs eventually decided that cutting a deal with the people was better than being cut down to size by them. Louis XVI’s unfortunate encounter with a guillotine blade in 1793 accelerated the trend so his significant – if inadvertent - role in advancing our political freedoms should not be minimized.
You might think that having found out that gravity exists, and having got rid of any king who believed in Divine Right, we’d have enough sense to keep greedy power-grabbers in line, but instead we’ve handed over control of this Great Nation to Corporate Interests – as if that was the most natural thing in the world. Worse, based upon no legal right or precedent whatsoever, we’ve made corporations into legal humans with all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens, but with the additional advantages of being immortal, and being able to operate globally. In effect, large Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are answerable to no one. That raises the power inherent in Divine Right to a whole new level, one never reached by mere monarchs. It means that the Divine Right of Corporations is in a class of its own. It ensures that Corporate Interests now rule us more effectively than any mere monarch. Why not? Who is there to tackle corporate power? Corporations not only manipulate what we think, and control every facet of our lives, but they own our government. Under the protection of the Supreme Court, Congress has been – quite legally - bought. And to add insult to injury, when one works for a corporation, the hard fought rights contained in the U.S. Constitution, do not fully apply.
One might forgive all this if our Faustian bargain with Corporate Interests resulted in prosperity for all, but the fact is that the current American Business Model, which is based almost entirely on large corporations, has resulted in the following: (1) The worst recession since the Great Depression. (2) The loss of approximately 8.5 million jobs. (3) Effective unemployment and underemployment rates of around 20 percent. (4) Low pay and declining earnings for the bulk of our population, the Middle Class, since the early Seventies. (5) The outsourcing of much of our manufacturing base. (6) Massive pollution of our environment. (7) A way of life which is generally considered to be unsustainable. (8) The corruption of the integrity of our food chain. (9) One of the worst healthcare systems in the developed world at roughly twice the cost. (10) The creation of a Military Industrial Congressional Complex which now spends more on defense and National Security than the rest of the world put together.
Given all this, a reasonable person might not ask why we are not re-thinking the American Business Model in the most fundamental way, yet all we’re doing is tinkering with the status quo. What has happened to us? George Washington must be spinning in his grave.
Farewell for the moment. Write soon. I miss your wit and your company.