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Round 1. Jamuhn V. howmuchisthedoggy: Corporate Power

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posted on Jun, 24 2005 @ 11:00 AM
The topic for this debate is "True power lies in the hands of corporations, not in the hands of elected representatives."

Jamuhn will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
howmuchisthedoggy will argue against this proposition.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debater posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image may be included in each post. No more than 5 references can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 13 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (7) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

posted on Jun, 25 2005 @ 02:11 PM
I'd like to thank Amorymeltzer and Nygdan for organizing this debate, as well as howmuchisthedoggy for participating, and of course the fair judges.

We've all heard the old adage, "Money is power." We find the truth of this statement becoming more evident everyday. In today's democratic capitalist states, it is the economy that will make or break the country, defining its power in global terms. Money is needed for nearly every endeavor by a given democratic government. A democratic government must resort to raising money from its people and borrow, the two most prominent economic activities among a government. But, for mass of the people to be able to provide, there must be someone able to provide them with the money. This is where the true power of the corporations step in. Throughout this debate I will show how corporations exert the true power of the state over the lives of a government's people, in a much more absolute way than elected officials are able to provide. I will also show that the line between elected official and corporate agent is nearly invisible as it is the corporations who essentially give the people their choice, a limited freedom to choose.

Who has the money?

The extent of money present within corporations is astounding.

Excerpted from Global Issues

Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDPs).

As well, the GDP of a country is comprised of the activities of these 51 corporations in addition to numerous other corporations who help set the tone for the economic development of a country. Corporations drive innovation not only in the economy, but also in the culture of a society, essentially guiding the way of life of a people.

Corporate influence over human thought and culture
By now, most media outlets are under the direct control of multi-national corporations. Television, newspapers, and the Internet serve as three major outlets of news information about what is going on in the world. While it is much harder to manipulate facts, it still happens. The most prevalent form of control though is associated with the information given and that witheld. These multi-national corporations can dictate what it is a viewer will read or hear.

Excerpted from Free Press

In 2002, you were 4 times more likely to see a political ad during a TV news broadcast than an election-related news story.

Elected officials as Corporate Agents
Asking whether corporate power is stronger than that of elected officials is somewhat a trick question. For the elected officials of a government, such as in the United States, their campaign and even presence at the polls is dependent on how much money they can raise.

In the 2000 US congressional cycle, "total soft money contributions (unlimited contributions from corporations, labor unions and individuals) to the two major parties for the 2000 congressional election cycle: $463.1 million" (Public Citizen). Over half this money came from the Business sector at $232.2 million.

Now let's see how the amount of money raised affects the success of a campaign.

Excerpted from: Public Citizen

Senate: average winning candidate spent $7.2 million; average losing candidate spent $3.7 million. House: average winning candidate spent $831,077; average losing candidate spent $305,419. Eighty-five (85) percent of Senate candidates with the most money won their races; 94 percent of House candidates with the most money won.

When it is the corporations who are actively involved in getting the people elected, how can one not say that it is the corporations who have the power?

Corporate power takes a multi-directional approach
To emphasize, the line between corporate power and the power of elected officials is not clearly marked. Corporations can and do influence who is elected into positions of government. In return for a seat in Washington, these officials help to deregulate rules on corporations, and even provide money for them in the form contracts, opening up drilling in Alaska, and creating other such markets for multi-national corporations. Even after receiving corporate support for a candidacy, these officials are heavily bombarbed and paid by lobbyists. If an official does not vote in the right way, or represent the interests of a corporation, they are not paid.

As well, in the media sector, corporations assure that their candidates receive the proper amount of coverage in the form of political advertisements. It takes money to get one's name and position to the people, seeing that political ads are shown four times more than election news stories. There is a lack of free advertisement in today's politics. If a candidate wants to get elected it takes money, with most of the money coming from corporate interest. Most politicians today are not agents of the people, but rather corporate agents. Money is power.

posted on Jun, 26 2005 @ 08:00 AM
Firstly, let me thank Amorymeltzer, Nygdan and the judges for their freely given time and effort setting up and running these debates. Also best of luck to my worthy opponent, Jamuhn.

True power lies in the hands of corporations, not in the hands of elected representatives.

I believe that true power is not in the hands of corporations, but still firmly held by elected representatives.

It is true to say “Money is Power”, but only when that power is to influence corrupt politicians. The true power still lies with elected officials who, by the law of the land, can make or break a corporation's fortunes.

A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.
Barry M. Goldwater

I will over the next few posts dispel the myth of Corporate Omnipotence. I will show that despite vast sums of money, despite massive public influence and despite the harnessing of human greed, that true power, a.k.a. the law of the land, as determined by the elected representatives of the people, is still firmly wielded by Government.

Stepping on toes...

Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky recently discovered to his dismay that despite wielding massive corporate power and wealth to further his political ambitions, stepping on elected toes can be dangerous.[1]

Excerpt from [1] Khodorkovsky: an oligarch undone (BBC News)
The 1990s privatizations involved an implied obligation. New owners of Russia's prize assets - including its media - would get the wealth; but could not oppose the Kremlin.

Taken off his private jet and into 9 years of prison. True power is billionaires behind bars.

Even in America, where the line between corporate and governmental power is at it's most blurred, corporate power won't protect you from the Government.

Excerpt from[2] Corporate America in the dock (BBC News)
All the same, the forthcoming clutch of hearings should send some shivers down the spines of any unreformed crooked executives. Past abuses may yet be uncovered, but new ones are not happening to the same extent.
The air of hubris has undoubtedly gone, and the law has undoubtedly been tightened.

The big fish aren't in the pan yet but on display is the true power in being able to shakedown corporations any time you please.

Might is Right? Or Left?

Despite being among the largest of economic entities in the world, corporations exist at the behest of the largest economic entities of the world, the countries which spawned them in the first place.

Corporations are bound by international laws and treaties. Laws and treaties created by elected officials. While it is true that most can flout these rules by having the right official in their pocket, a fact that can't be ignored is that bribery and corruption of officials is necessary in order to do business in the first place.

In other words, Corporations can't just do as they please, if they could, they would have been drilling in Alaska years ago and not having had to fight it every step of the way. They require the support of ALL of the Government of the land in which they seek to do business. Whether this is bought or won is a moot point unless you have every official in your pocket.

Fooling all of the people, some of the time....

Anyone who saw Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock, remembers his experiment where the kids all knew who Ronald McDonald was but had trouble identifying their own President.

Corporate advertising pervades our society. You will more likely remember a corporate jingle than a political party slogan. However, if the message being given out is contrary to the well-being of the populace or the image of the Government, elected officials can wield true power over advertising.

Excerpt from [1] Khodorkovsky: an oligarch undone (BBC News)

Boris Berezovsky was another beneficiary of the 1990s state sell-offs, but his media channels started to criticize the Kremlin.

He is now a refugee in London facing charges should he return home.

Other examples would be the smoking ban and the ban on advertising of alcohol in sporting events in Ireland.[3] Tobacco and alcohol lobbyist's power is waning in the face of opposition from publicly elected officals.

Follow the Money....

You don't pay taxes - they take taxes.
Chris Rock

People choose to buy corporation's products. You have to pay taxes in most every country in the world. Governments have the power to supply Corporations with cheap labor, tax breaks and subsidies in order to maintain the Corporation's bottom line.

Government and politicians have been around for thousands of years. Corruption and bribery from the minute that politicans realised they could vote themselves a pay-rise. Corporations are only a new entity and nothing more than another easy mark for politicans to make money off.

That is true power.

[1] Khodorkovsky: an oligarch undone (BBC News)
[2] Corporate America in the dock (BBC News)
[3] Ireland thinks again on drink (BBC News)

posted on Jun, 27 2005 @ 04:38 PM
Jamuhn has gone far too far over the time limit, and has forfeited the debate. Good luck in Round 2, howmuchisthedoggy.

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