When People Exist for the Benefit of Corporations

It seems to me that institutions should exist for the benefit of people and not the other way around. But as I mull over the state of affairs in the world, I can’t avoid the conclusion that most of today’s governments operate to enrich global corporations at the expense of their citizens.

I am not talking only about the dictators in China, who long ago discarded their Marxist notions and now use their iron fists to pound productivity out of the population.

I am talking about America, the United Kingdom and most of the “capitalist” world as well.

What puzzles me is that the “democracies” and the “dictatorships” seem so similar in their eagerness to do the will of the global corporations.

I would have thought that when the people choose a government, they would opt for policies that benefit them. But that is increasingly not the case.

In America, for example, voters recoil in horror from proposals that would make their lives better, and embrace policies that enrich corporations at their expense.

That’s what happened in November’s U.S. elections. And the consequences are being felt today in places like Wisconsin (click here to read a very perceptive article about that horror).

I find it hard to believe that the Supreme Court is entirely to blame for the U.S. election’s disastrous results, although the justices’ ruling that corporations should enjoy the same political rights as individuals was certainly a contributing factor. The ruling opened a floodgate of corporate cash that swamped the airwaves with right-wing propaganda and funded “grassroots” movements dedicated to getting extremist conservatives elected.

But surely people aren’t so impressionable that it takes nothing more than an avalanche of preposterous propaganda to bend them to the corporate will?

I know that most Americans are terrified of the prospect of “socialism,” whatever they conceive it to be.

But is that also true in the United Kingdom? And everywhere else?

To tell the truth, I am mystified.

I used to think that corporate profiteering had some justification because anyone can buy corporate shares, so there’s nothing to prevent you or me from getting some of the loot. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

The truth is that about 5 percent of Americans own about 70 percent of the shares in the market. And the gap is even wider in other countries.

The stock market has become far too complex for ordinary investors. The idea that workers would benefit from it through their 401(k) and pension plans, for example, was shattered by recent financial disasters.

Corporations don’t belong to the people; the people belong to the corporations. So do the governments.

And that explains a lot of the oppressive political policies that are prevalent today.

It might also explain what’s going on in the Middle East. It could be that the populations there have grown weary of the corporate yolk imposed by dictators and Big Business, and have decided to risk their lives in the pursuit of a better political system.

They might be ahead of a worldwide curve.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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