Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Corporations Are Made Up Of People" and Freeride Markets

"Corporations are made up of people". If you've listened to right-wing radio, or listened to talking points of any of the many of the right wing elite's've probably heard this red herring. It ranks up way up there, and may be even the very favorite of right wing red herring, I mean, talking points.

Well, sure, corporations are made up of people. It doesn't mean they should get a pass on crimes or social costs that everyone else is made to clean up or a free ride on the so-called free market which is more appropriately called the "freeride market". The free ride is for corporations - they dodge taxes, don't have to fight and die in the wars they encourage/demand, never die, and then never have any calling to answer to those they get the free ride from.

Let's take the favorite whipping boy of the right - the government. The GOVERNMENT is made up of people, too, but that never keeps a right-winger from lambasting government "inefficiency" (as if efficiency was the noblest of human goals in the first place) or crimes of a government out of control. Sure, corporations don't usually kill people directly - instead they hire governments or armies or police or paramilitaries to carry out their crimes instead. See the history of labor organization in this country or places like Colombia now - I originally learned about the alleged crimes of Coke in that left-wing communist rag, the Wall Street Journal, BTW. The KKK is made up of people. The SS was made up of people. How can right-wingers get away with this flimsy excuse for corporate crimes?

So this idea that since corporations are "made up of people" and employ people, clothe people, feed people, etc. does not mean they are above reproach.

I was eating dinner with some folks, we were talking politics and I let slip a comparison between corporations and the mafia. This was in relation to Google buying up fiber in secret under the guise of other front companies. It was not received all that well, but I wasn't being facetious. There are many comparisons. Like I said above, corporations won't usually kill directly - they'll pay someone else to do it. Let's take a closer look at this comparison:

1. Mafia will do things for PR as well to show that they care for the community.
2. Mafia will kill those that threaten its lifeblood - which is money, just like a corporation.
3. Mafia will even use companies as fronts.
4. Secrecy reigns supreme at the top tiers of both. Lip service is paid to transparency but if corporations really had their druthers, they'd reveal nothing.
5. Both reward sociopathic behavior.
6. Both are made up of people.

Is it really hyperbole to compare the two? I don't think so. Not that all MNCs or even Google has reached that sort of depravity (yet), but many have and many have the potential to do so - and get away with it, often with cheerleading from Wall Street.

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