The struggle between the the players and the owners within the USA’s National Football League is hardly unique within our country’s great economic divide. And, as similar struggles within major league baseball discount the interests of host cities that actively and financially courted teams, such marginalized stakeholders continue to eat major losses. Few citizens are sympathetic to the millionaire players or their team’s billionaire owners. Although, in the grand scheme of things and from the player’s perspective, these are games for the young. It is understandable that an individual athlete would charge a premium for their best years in the context of a career that is relatively short.
On August the 19th in 2019, the Business Roundtable released what they billed as a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation. It was signed by 181 CEOs. Those executives made a commitment to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. As the wealth of these executives and their companies continued to accrue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, employees were unceremoniously dismissed. The feigned sincerity of the Business Roundtable leadership was, and still is, correctly perceived as a public relations head fake.
Any democratic republic that aspires to authenticity, while failing to address corporate subterfuge, is chasing a conceptual illusion. An authentic corporation is composed of people associating for a common purpose and acting corporately. The Roundtable’s attempt to obfuscate, with insincere proclamations, is designed to forestall any return to a true balance of stakeholder interests. Employee Owned Benefit Corporations represent the only path forward to building authentic democracies. They are the hope for building a global federation of democracies with tremendous potential for advancing world peace.
When a union of authentic democracies commits to democracy world wide, it will align its policies to that end. In trade, the most favored nation status will be keyed to the authenticity of whatever democracy is trying to peddle its product in the global marketplace. Only those leaders that were elected through the actual consent of the governed will be recognized as true heads of state. And, any leader committing an act of war upon any nation, will automatically become target number one for international armed forces.
As our planet evolves, sentient beings are looking for the kind of work that will help us transition from purely profit motivated labors to ones that balance profit imperatives with those endeavors that may be of service to a greater humanity. The entrepreneurial spirit, that activates a nation’s workforce, is always enhanced when the work is seen as purposeful in ways that go beyond transactional forms of remuneration. Benefit corporations appeal to a worker’s motivations yielding true job satisfaction. Companies that only enrich the inheritors, skimmers, and hoarders of wealth do not inspire. The worker’s paycheck represents fleeting gratification at best.
Of course, there is no guarantee that a Benefit Corporation would not be re-chartered to become exclusively profit seeking, once outside investors gain a majority interest and install malleable managers. There is also nothing to prevent the majority of employees, within an employee owned corporation, to sell the whole enchilada to a well positioned buyer. It is the combination of an ownership stake and a commitment to providing a public benefit that has the potential to stabilize an organization that is truly integrity centered.
While the United States Supreme Court’s series of decisions concerning corporate personhood may be attributable to either a lack of integrity or a lack of intellectual rigor, granting citizen rights that are not coupled with responsibility is undeniable folly. In the case of inauthentic corporations, the foreign ownership and subterfuge is effectively masked through the dark money politics that the Supremes have also condoned in spite of serious implications concerning any consent of the governed.
In the United States today, there is a general distrust of government institutions. And this is clearly merited just to the extent that those institutions of government are no longer seen as of, by, and for the people. Our democracy has been surreptitiously hijacked and repurposed to benefit they the select few instead of We the People. The key to correcting this is Intentional Consumerism. We should avoid doing business with any corporation that distorts our national dialog or political discourse by the use of relentless messaging through captive platforms, or through the use of dark money.
Any politician accepting dark money contributions, or supporting judges whose nominations, confirmations, and accommodations are secured through dark money, should be shown the door. We don’t need the kind of political operatives, putting a wet finger to a political wind ,while masquerading as leaders. We need true statesmanship.
In 1870, James Freeman Clark offered the only litmus test that should be used as we consider how to cast our precious votes. He said, “A politician thinks about the next election. A statesman, the next generation.” As it is with our elected representatives, so it should be with the votes we cast using our hard earned dollars. Make every vote count!