Corporations and Civic Responsibility

Copyright 2004 Bob Persons
April 4, 2004

After seeing the Wisconsin Film Festival movie The Corporation (and expanding on earlier ideas).

They can make profits. That's what they're in business to do. That's what they owe their shareholders.

But we have granted them powers far beyond that, to the point where they control communities, at the local and federal levels, and other countries, and the marketplace.

Along with the grant, by the people, to do business to make profits, there should also be responsibilities. Our early government recognized this. Jefferson warned against the potential abusive powers of corporations. States chartered them only under conditions - specific accomplishments, limited lifetimes, and the threat of removing the charter if they acted against the people's best interests.

But since the Civil War and the opening of the West, corporations have gained continually more power.

It is far past the time to insist that they be held accountable for what they do in the pursuit of profit:

Corporations will never achieve these responsibilities if they are allowed to decide how to implement. Greed and their chartered obligation to make a profit will overcome any good intentions. The people must decide what corporations can and can't do. They do this by instructing their governments.

If the people don't act to rein in corporate abusive power, we and our descendants will reap the harvest of private control over all our resources and, ultimately, our lives.

One of the most egregious of recent events illustrating this, is the 2001 EPA report on global warming. Recognizing that global warming is a fact (earthly cycles? product of irresponsible and greedy business? makes no difference - warming is real and we should attack the problem). But what is the government's response to this planet devastating future? We'll prepare for it! We won't reduce the pollution that contributes to it. No, we will instead encourage new businesses to develop new technologies that will help us live with

Yes, business can take advantage of this disaster to make even more bucks!

The short term goal of making a profit (fueled by greed) takes no account of the destruction it causes, even though the businesses themselves depend on the very infrastructure that they are willing to destroy. It's time for the people to force them to make the necessary responsible considerations.

Will the people do that? The American people especially will find it hard, because the sugar daddy corporations have given them so many toys in their vast playground, that they are constantly distracted into thinking this is a good way to live. Never realizing that it feels good in the short term but will be hell to live for the next generations.


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