Andrew Jackson, with his forced march of the Cherokee along the Trail of Tears is no darling of humanitarians. He did, however, get one thing right. Upon closing the Second Bank of the United States, he correctly accused the bankers of having privatized gains while socializing losses. He recognized, two hundred years ago, what many of our most revered economists fail to acknowledge today. Many of our nation’s largest enterprises are leveraging the worst aspects of both capitalism and socialism.
There is a big, big difference between the entrepreneurial business person that can create something of value from almost nothing, and the custodial CEO, who’s chief talent is sticking it to taxpayers in parasitic fashion. There is a stark contrast, between the custodial management that persuades constituents and investors to expect every indulgence, as opposed to those highly disciplined entrepreneurial leaders who exude a spiritual idealism, one that has the awesome power to take an enterprise and even a nation from one level of attainment to the next.
True leaders steadfastly refuse to discount the value of motivational factors. No one of quality wants to work for a company that fails to exemplify a higher calling. Those companies that make gobs of money without making meaningful contributions to the public treasury, while using the infrastructure that is mostly financed by individual taxpayers, are properly defined as freeloaders. The companies that pay wages so low they make public charges of their employees, forcing them to seek heating, rent and nutrition assistance, are operating in a parasitic fashion, while embarrassing their the employees and making them take the rap.
Those companies that have advanced the fiction of corporate personhood have clearly distorted what was, at one time, a constitutionally grounded democratic republic. While such companies masquerade as good neighbors and “good corporate citizens” they are, in actuality, no such thing.
The static cliche in the suburbs is promoted by the evangels of mammon, the penny-wise, pound-foolish that are currently at the commanding heights of the world’s economy. Even so, we must know, that we are not going to put a ten to twenty trillion dollar national debt to rest by sustaining the last gasp of an outmoded economy or the fossilized thinking of those deeply vested in it.
We are faced with the reality that we must rebuild our nation’s economy. We should be asking ourselves: “What kind of economy do we want?” Faux corporations, those controlled by outside investors, act in parasitic fashion. They engage in tax avoidance to maximize returns primarily for those outside investors. This is most recently evidenced by the fact that 91 of the Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes in 2018. It is common practice for a business, consistently offering high dividends and low prices, to deliver these competitive advantages to investors and customers by the systematic tamping down of employee compensation, through a combination of poverty wages and hollowed out benefit packages.
A new type of Employee Owned Benefit Corporation or EOBC is less likely to exert a distorting and malevolent influence upon our democracy. It is far more likely to act in the greater interest of the community. Within the body politic, healthy enterprises are the foundation for affluent countries and a thriving global economy.
If we are to expose the blithering incoherence of those who believe increasing the minimum wage is a job killer, it will be by questioning how paying a CEO over one thousand times an entry level employee’s wage is not a job killer. Pseudo-conservatives have demonstrated their calloused disregard for the health and welfare of marginalized people throughout human history. They have claimed that financial assistance for those in need would run up deficits, negatively impacting future generations. In their self-serving world view, only the most privileged are likely to become a part of any future generation.
The US economy and that of the world is not sustainable to the extent it is overly burdened with an increase in the cost of disease care, perpetual warfare, migration patterns driven by genocide, pollution, and climate change; plus a seriously demotivated workforce. When the will of the electorate is continually subjugated to that of the moneyed interests and the whims of authoritarian leaders, democracy declines as would-be participants adopt a “Why the hell should I bother?” attitude.
We can break this cycle of corporate socialism and parasitism for ours is an entrepreneurial country. To fix it, we must first realize that a corporation, controlled by outside investors, is not a store of value nor is it typically a center for creativity. It is not a job creator and instead devotes significant resources to getting the people out of the loop. It is far more likely the means to siphon the life plasm out of any organization, composed of diverse personalities, working together for a better life.
Intentional consumerism is how we vote every day with every dollar. It is how the citizenry can express its preferences for a promising future with each and every transaction. It’s how we can direct our purchasing power towards employee owned corporations and better yet, Employee Owned Benefit Corporations (EOBC’s).