Sunday, October 23, 2011

VOR’s Turn: Andrew N. Liveris Is A Brilliant Communicator. He Also Happens to Be The CEO of Dow Chemical.

View of Capitol Hill from the U.S. Supreme Court

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The U.S., at present, is not a democracy though it masquerades as one. Fundamentally, it is run by the Rich and Corporate Interests to their own advantage.

If they don’t benefit, it doesn’t happen. Since Congress is bought and paid for by those self same interests, they follow orders. Much the same situation exists at state and county level. Corporatism rules. It has no right to, but it does. It is an absolute violation of the Constitution.

If you doubt me, just look at unemployment. Currently we have 25 million people either unemployed, or underemployed, or who have dropped out of the job market, yet Congress refuses to do virtually anything. Much as Congress doesn’t do hunger and poverty, it doesn’t do unemployment. Yet, do you doubt for a second that if the tens of thousands of corporate lobbyists were agitating for action. and supporting their pressure with campaign donations, that disastrous situation would continue to exist. It would not. Corporatism really does rule. It also does not care about unemployment. Indeed, it likes it. High unemployment undercuts the ability of labor to bargain.

I’m against corporate control of our economy with ever fiber of my being. I’m well aware of the limitations of democracy, especially in a society where many of the potential voters are ignorant of the issues – as is the situation in this country - but still believe that it is a better system of government than the alternatives. I regret deeply that the U.S. has, in fact, if not in name, abandoned it.

For all that, I’m not against corporations as such. I think the notion that a corporation is legally a person is a corruption of the law, and a damming indictment of the integrity of the Supreme Court; and I would like to see corporate power diminished in a significant number of ways; but such qualifications apart, I wish them good fortune.

It is in that context that I draw your attention of Andrew N. Liveris. He is the CEO of Dow Chemical, a corporation with a dubious reputation, but he’s a superb communicator; who – based on what I have heard so far – speaks a great deal of sense. He is also an advocate for the revival of manufacturing in the U.S., and the author of MAKE IT IN AMERICA: The Case for Reinventing The Economy.

He argues for “smart manufacturing” and he makes a compelling case. As I keep on arguing, we don’t have to be in this ridiculous economic mess. The solutions are out there, and so are some extraordinarily talented people. But, there is a disconnect in how our society is structured so that it’s needs rarely seem to be met by the talented.

It wasn’t always thus.


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