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WALL STREET AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST

July 31, 2013

WALL STREET AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST

Banking and other corporations (“artificial persons” until recently redefined by the Supreme Court as “people”) do not like to be regulated by government in the public interest (or, for that matter, any other reason). Such entities want to do their own thing with minimal if any interference from anyone in the pursuit of profit. They are of the view that their interests should prevail anytime such interests intersect with a public interest and a policy choice must be made. Regulation which impedes such pursuit of profit is per se bad policy, even if a lack of such regulation results in nation-wide impoverishment, unemployment, trade deficit disasters, increases in deficit and debt, under-invested government initiatives in education, infrastructure  etc. Every governmental activity is to be sublimated to an open road to corporate pursuit of profit, however urgent the public need; and more specifically, all laws and rules or union efforts to increase wages for the working class are to be resisted, since such increases are a drag on profits which in turn could alter the power ratio to be played out between labor and capital in our political playhouse, a ratio which now overwhelmingly favors capital.

The “public interest” as defined in court decisions of yesteryear is no more; the public interest of today is secondary to that of profit-seeking corporations and the culture that comes with them. “We the People” under such a regime has become a meaningless phrase consigned to near historical oblivion. We have been reduced to vassal and spectator status as powerless citizens perhaps already under corporate control and verging on corporate ownership.

I have blogged repeatedly that my greatest fear is not atom-armed Pakistan, soon to be atom-armed Iran, North Korea, or even (at least in the short run) the degradation of the environment occasioned by global warming. My greatest fear is that America and its people will soon if not already come under total corporate control – or ownership – the two become synonymous in time, and while the foregoing paragraph may seem a bit overstated, I think it not by much, as anyone who is awake can see that the corporate culture is pervasive, single minded, well financed and aggressive in its design for control, and that we the people are inclined to be meek, submissive and prone to believe corporate propaganda.

Further evidence of impending (if not a fait accompli) corporate control was demonstrated recently with the SEC’s reversal of an 80-year old rule in re advertising by hedge funds and other vulture capitalists for investment funds from the general public. That has been prohibited for 80 years, and for good reason. Its reversal suggests that the government if not complicit is at least as submissive to corporate greed as policy as we are. The reversal will allow private investment funds to get beyond teacher and firemen retirement funds and into the pockets of middle America. Expect the usual fees and fraud as their salesmen (on commission) fan out across the country in search of funds for these unregulated entities.

What to do? I don’t know for sure how to stop this tsunami of money and power that threatens to engulf America, but I have some ideas. I think we need greatly heightened regulation of corporations (especially those in the financial sector) for starters, regulations that never again allow the big banks to bring on bailouts and near world-wide depression. I think we the people through our representatives need to be far more proactive in running our economy based on the public interest rather than the balance sheets of its relatively few corporate participants. I think it is far past time for us to discard our vassal status and act like citizens, to speak truth to power, to get beyond profit and loss statements of the few and into the further education of our people and rebuilding of our infrastructure. There are many who may have more and better ideas than I which could avoid the catastrophe of corporate control, and I welcome any such ideas. Time and space prevent my naming other possibilities.

Finally, we should all be aware of the lesson of 1984. That dictatorship was governmental, but Big Brother can emerge as corporate dictatorship as well. Be warned.  GERALD  E

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