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How American Corporations Transformed from Producers to Predators

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posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 08:40 PM
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Tripped over this article promoting a new documentary series that examines "the foundations, history and purpose of the corporation to answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?" Sounds GREAT! Haven't watched it yet but the article is excellent.


Ov er the last 30 years, corporations have turned on the 99 percent. Here's how it happened and how to fight back.

Corporations are not working for the 99 percent. But this wasn’t always the case. In a special five-part series, William Lazonick, professor at UMass, president of the Academic-Industry Research Network, and a leading expert on the business corporation, along with journalist Ken Jacobson and AlterNet’s Lynn Parramore, will examine the foundations, history and purpose of the corporation to answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?

In 2010, the top 500 U.S. corporations – the Fortune 500 – generated $10.7 trillion in sales, reaped a whopping $702 billion in profits, and employed 24.9 million people around the globe. Historically, when these corporations have invested in the productive capabilities of their American employees, we’ve had lots of well-paid and stable jobs.

That was the case a half century ago.

Unfortunately, it’s not the case today. For the past three decades, top executives have been rewarding themselves with mega-million dollar compensation packages while American workers have suffered an unrelenting disappearance of middle-class jobs. Since the 1990s, this hollowing out of the middle-class has even affected people with lots of education and work experience. As the Occupy Wall Street movement has recognized, concentration of income and wealth of the top “1 percent” leaves the rest of us high and dry.


Further down the page, another paragraph strikes a chord.



What a difference three decades makes! Now mass layoffs to boost profits are the norm, while the expectation of a career with one company is long gone. This transformation happened because the U.S. business corporation has become in a (rather ugly) word “financialized.” It means that executives began to base all their decisions on increasing corporate earnings for the sake of jacking up corporate stock prices. Other concerns -- economic, social and political -- took a backseat. From the 1980s, the talk in boardrooms and business schools changed. Instead of running corporations to create wealth for all, leaders should think only of “maximizing shareholder value.”



...Will update when I find a link to the vid.




posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 08:44 PM
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Maybe the problem isn't corporations but money itself. I think what we are witnessing is the ever-growing evolution of the global financial system. Companies and corporations are spending money more wisely, being more efficient, and (unfortunately) sacrificing quality of product for their own profit.



posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 09:22 PM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Someone just passed forward "The Confessions of an Economic Hitman" for me to read.
Your topic is right in alignment with the subject matter contained in the book. Maybe you have read it?
If you haven't, you might find it interesting. Along those economic lines, you might find the book
"Endgame" rather enlightening (or darkening) as the charts and forecasts are all there.
The ship can be be set on a new course of true reckoning, but there are still rough waters ahead.

S&F to your thread.


Oh and by the way, now that a corporation is considered a person, IT CAN BE TRIED FOR TREASON.
I wonder if anyone has thought of that yet?
Best Regards

edit on 2-4-2012 by Wildmanimal because: Add Content



posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 11:17 PM
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There was a time when a corporation had it's head offices in an American city and there was a mutually beneficial arrangement where products were made by local workers and in turn the corporation gave back through philanthropy sponsoring museums. libraries, scholarships, internships. and public interest events of all kinds.
The corporation became a part of the image of that city like Kodak in Rochester, NY where I grew up. Because there was a local tie to the business it was good business to keep in the good graces of the locals. Now they are amorphous, international financial entities that use factories and localities as commodities, perfectly willing to abandon one place for higher profits at another.
Nomadic slave traders.

Ghengis Khan only lacked a logo.
edit on 2-4-2012 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 2 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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Planned obsolescence.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by Wildmanimal
 


Great topic people...

Just thought I would add to wild animals post... That book Endgame, By Derrick Jensen... I havent read it, but when you mentioned it, it reminded me of the documentary Derrick Jensen made, that I have seen and is great! Its called

"END CIV: Resist or Die"

Its great, its been a few months since ive seen it, but it follows along with the topic of this thread, how corporations are poisoning the earth with their byproducts.... destroying our forests, blocking salmon from being able to spawn properly, and tons of other topics on how our "civilization" is killing ourselves for a profit...



After you watch it... Would you rather the "rebels" in Star wars did the movie how they did, or by peaceful protesting Darth Vader by chaining themselves to the snack machines in the Death Star and Pieing Vader in the face then begging Vader to please not blow up any more planets... and then getting a little mention in a newspaper about how they tried to stop the death star...

Hmmmm
edit on 3-4-2012 by morder1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 12:19 PM
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The decline of our economy has more to do with our shift from an industrial/agricultural producer economy to a service economy than it does corporations. The growth of corporate power is just a side effect of replacing labor with machines. Less money required to pay workers = more money in the company's pockets to lobby with.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 01:31 PM
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Originally posted by Wildmanimal
reply to post by soficrow
 


Someone just passed forward "The Confessions of an Economic Hitman" for me to read.
Your topic is right in alignment with the subject matter contained in the book. Maybe you have read it?
If you haven't, you might find it interesting. Along those economic lines, you might find the book
"Endgame" rather enlightening (or darkening) as the charts and forecasts are all there.
The ship can be be set on a new course of true reckoning, but there are still rough waters ahead.

S&F to your thread.


Oh and by the way, now that a corporation is considered a person, IT CAN BE TRIED FOR TREASON.
I wonder if anyone has thought of that yet?
Best Regards

edit on 2-4-2012 by Wildmanimal because: Add Content


Maybe they can be tried for treason but i wonder who would this really serve in the end as most laws prevent anyone from being personally held accountable! Though i don't know much about it i would like to know is'nt this what incorporating protects the individual from? This is why when i heard that corporations could be considered to be protected under the constitution as being an individual which is in my opinion a total contradiction of corporate law and If i can realize this and I know so very little about these laws then there has to be something really wrong here!



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 02:03 PM
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We as the citizens of this earth must accept some blame. We've been asleep at the wheel assuming "our" elected representatives have been looking after our interests.

As corporate profits boomed by consolidating many small corporations into few mega companies, so did their contributions to campaigns grow. They have systematically inserted language to minimize their obligations. The citizens and the Fed have made up the difference.

We have been transformed into slaves. We must demand our rights be returned. We must voice our support for the military backed arrests of crooked politicians and corporate officers mentioned by "Drake."

The time is now. The time is here. Prepare for a revolution.



posted on Apr, 3 2012 @ 03:44 PM
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I have thought about and analyzed this topic quite a bit. I finally decided that the real solution would inevitably come, and that would be the people themselves putting an end to either A) Predatory Capitalism via regulation or Co-operative business ownership, or B) Capitalism in its entirety.

Both options are fine with me, but in all honesty Capitalism is doomed to fail, and what Marx wrote in the 19th century is mostly still true today. Even more-so given the rapid increases and developments in technology and the population increases across the world.

Starting over completely as a society would be the best way to implement a better system. It is kind of hard to take an existing corporation and switch it from board of director rule to cooperative ownership. So what would have to be done is impose STRICT regulations on these major businesses. Then the government needs to set up a program that gives incentives to start businesses in a cooperative manner. Implementing unemployment the way Italy does with setting up a coop would be great, or something similar to that.

I could go on about this subject for a while, but I will stop there. As far as a system that doesn't use money at all, I have thought a lot about as well. A realist would call this a "Utopia", and say it is unachievable. But in reality it could be done, the only cog in the wheel being human nature, of course.

A good idea for complete change to a non-monetary system could look like this>>>
1. The proletariat takes ownership of the means of production
2. We would now be in a system known as the first stage of Communism, known as Socialism.

From this point it cannot be known what will happen. The ideal solution is for the "state" to go away completely, and everyone takes what they need when they need it from public storehouses, and the people also use their own form of punishment for various things.

There could still be bodies of public people doing things, but they will be as democratic as possible. I cannot explain it all that well in a post tbh, as there is a lot more I have in mind. Think about this: Everyone worked as they do now, many in the same job or type of jobs. Those who work for big businesses actually own a part of that business.

If we still use a monetary system, they would share in the profits. But if we didn't have a monetary system, and everyone still worked and produced goods, there would actually be plenty. The mantra of Communism is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need." This CAN be done. There would not be as many taking advantage of the system that are NOW.

People say it won't work because there are those who would not participate, yet still take part in the spoils. I will tell you now that democratic, public justice is much more swift than our current system. COMMUNITIES would govern themselves, and they would be able to do so on a much more personal level than the Federal government of the US, or any country.

I am telling you it COULD work. BUT, the problem is that no one knows what would occur between the first step of Communism, Socialism, and the arising of PURE COMMUNISM. That is what the goal of Communism is. It is a process, and overseas it has been taken advantage of.

The people are supposed to own the means of production, and have whatever they need. The government in these places are not based on Communism. They are Totalitarian, or Dictatorial. Oppression of the people is NOT Communism, and I wish that mindset would go away. The whole war on Communism waged by the US had nothing to do with Communism as Marx and Engels described it.

Even if you disagree with me, I urge you to look into Communism if you do not know much about it. I will say that I would prefer a radical shift in our country's economic and political system to Communism, but if this will not happen, I see no solution other than the people taking over the means of production, as a way to take charge of their livelihoods without government oppression being present, or class antagonisms based on bourgeois right and corruption.



posted on Apr, 4 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by soficrow
 


Great article. I am going to read the entirety tonight. But glancing over it, it seems as though the author(s) share my viewpoint.

I work in a company that was founded by two brilliant minds that were fairly legendary in their field. They formed this company because they got tired of the corporations screwing them over, and by proxy their "people" (when you work for these guys, with their average employee relationship being in the range of 15-20 years). So they have set up a company, competing against corporations for business. And they are killing while doing it.

There is something to be said for anticorporatism. It works well for me and the company i work in, with one exception: the corporate notion of data performance collection and reporting. But that is just good common sense, wanting to have a clear picture of where you are steering the ship.



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