By Gary Brumback
Special Guest Commentary/ Exclusive to The Big Picture Report
Ordinary Americans + Corpocracy = Very Little Liberty, Happiness, Prosperity
I have been saying for some time that America’s own worse enemy is her corpocracy, the Devil’s marriage between all three branches of government and its domineering partner, powerful corporations and their allies. It behooves all patriotic Americans (“my country, do right and no wrong”) to recognize and understand what corpocracy power is and the widespread harm it is causing in America and beyond.
The Source of Corpocracy Power
The source of corpocracy power comes from what I call “perpetual dowries of power gifts.” Politicians and the judiciary get put into public office with prestige, generous income, and the trappings of power. Corporations are given fraudulent constitutional rights; favorable legislation, regulations, and judicial verdicts that protect corporate interests, not the public’s interests or the general welfare. These include stay-out-of-jail cards; plentiful and endless hand outs (e.g., corporate welfare that dwarfs social welfare); and carte blanche to privatize and plunder public services, control the mass media, keep the marketplace free, not fair, and to expand and protect through military operations and treaties a profitable hegemony in other lands.
Telltale Signs of Corpocracy Power
In ten years of doing research on the corpocracy I compiled a list of the telltale signs of its powerful domination over every sphere of our life’s equations:
DOMINATES OUR PERSONAL, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL SPHERES
- Ceaselessly promotes materialism and consumption.
- Dominates and manipulates the mass media.
- Spews propaganda, half truths, and zero truths.
- Prevents truly universal, more affordable health care.
- Commercializes and privatizes education.
- Trains our youth as vigilantes.
- Commercializes religion.
- Invades our privacy.
- Callously forecloses on our homes.
- Uproots homes for commercial development.
DOMINATES OUR ECONOMIC SPHERE
- Prevents the people’s general welfare.
- Loots the people’s treasury.
- Overtaxes the many, undertaxes the few.
- Wrecks havoc with the American economy.
- Profits from economic calamities.
- Creates unconscionable income inequality.
- Creates spiraling levels of unemployment.
- Provides only substandard wages.
- Outsources our jobs.
- Mistreats workers.
- Emasculates worker unions.
- Creates monopolies and Big Box stores.
- Causes the collapse of small business firms.
- Abandons communities in bad times.
- Advertises falsely.
- Gouges consumers with excessive prices.
- Creates unsafe/unhealthy products.
- Privatizes and manipulates scarce resources.
- Manipulates international trade agreements.
- Commercially exploits poor nations.
- Privatizes and degrades public utilities.
- Starves and privatizes social services.
- Excessively promotes consumerism.
- Devours and bankrupts honorable companies.
- Escapes accountability for lawlessness.
DOMINATES OUR POLITICAL SPHERE
- Hijacks our Constitution (e.g., corporate personhood).
- Buys politicians.
- Dominates Supreme Court rulings.
- Handpicks judges.
- Erects voter hurdles.
- Lobbies intensely for its own special interests.
- Installs special interest office holders.
- Always trumps public interests with corporate interests.
- Controls laws and regulations.
- Stonewalls government investigations.
- Scams state and local govemments for subsidies.
- Promotes and profits from U.S. militarism.
- Privatizes the military.
- Privatizes law enforcement.
- Weakens true security with endless wars.
DOMINATES OUR ENVIRONMENTAL SPHERE
- Treats natural resources as commodities and waste dumps.
- Pursues unsustainable development.
These signs tell us that the corpocracy figuratively is a monster in our midst and literally is dominating the life equations of millions upon millions of Americans:
The corpocracy’s domination and destructive power are so great overall that it is slowly turning America into a “ruination” that, except for her expensive, sophisticated, and deadly military capabilities, resembles third-world countries: soaring unemployment, wide income gap along with a shrinking middle class, millions of Americans without health insurance, low life expectancy at birth, large high school dropout rate, overcrowded prisons (but with no unaccountable corporate criminals), gang wars and mob robberies, and any other index reflecting deteriorating socioeconomic conditions in America.
The Corpocracy’s Members
To effectively challenge the corpocracy we must know what and who it is so that counterstrategies can be targeted effectively. A boycott strategy, for instance, might cause a particularly offensive and harmful corporation to modify its operations and/or products but would be totally inadequate for challenging the corpocracy itself.
The private partner in the marriage is a motley lot. There are hundreds if not thousands of publicly traded corporations in numerous industries along with countless allies (e.g., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a preeminent one), think tanks, and litigation centers that are or conceivably could be hard core or “card carrying” members. This is not to deny that there may be outliers and outsiders (i.e., ones that don’t act like the others most of the time or none of the time respectively). I have researched and written extensively on what a great corporation would look like and do but I’m not about to name any. I’ve seen too many pundits with egg on their face just after doing the naming (Enron is a classical example).
Hard core members of the corpocracy are its tacit conspirators, tacit because the marriage was not a public wedding. The corpocracy conspires around the clock and the globe toward ends that are desirable for itself. The public be damned.
Within the “umbrella” conspiracy there are smaller conspiracies operating night and day. Corporations in the same industries and across industries often march in lock step together when they feel threatened or see opportunities for mutual gain through collaboration.
Consider five examples.
- The defense industry pushed for preemptive war with Iraq before Bush Jr.’s first administration and then was heavily represented among the war policy makers in the administration.
- There is the oil industry’s secret collusion with the government on oil policies.
- The National Association of Manufacturers launched a massive campaign to squelch lawsuits against manufacturer’ for damages caused by their products.
- Perhaps nothing unites the corpocracy more than that of its bête noir, the labor unions, as witness their fierce lobbying against the Employee Free Choice Act.
- Witness the intense lobbying by the health insurance industry against any reform of our medical system.
There are also many venues crossing industrial sectors and even across continents that provide ample opportunity for schmoozing, conniving, conspiring, and exploiting anywhere on the globe. Two prominent domestic venues are the Business Roundtable and the interlocking network of CEO corporate directors. Then there are international venues such as the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the G8 club, and the ultra-secret Bilderberg.
Penetrating the CIA would be easier than getting inside Bilderberg. It is where the world’s power elite meet annually.
The public partner in the marriage is much more homogeneous. There doesn’t seem to be a dime’s difference between the two major parties in their allegiance to their corporate master. I could probably name a few members of The Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court who are genuine outsiders but I won’t here. Of course, if I should dramatically escalate my activism (unlikely at my age) I would be earnestly pegging, tracking, and targeting everybody.
Challenging the Corpocracy
At the moment there is not anywhere near what I would call “two-fisted democracy power” that could effectively challenge corpocracy power. One fist would be a comprehensive strategy of political, legislative, judicial, and economic reforms carried out by a virtual organization of united NGOs. There are several hundred of them but they each are fighting the corpocracy alone and losing miserably.
The other fist would be The Democracy Coalition, a fusing together of 25 some segments of the populace that are or could be opposed to the corpocracy. I am trying as hard as I can to launch two-fisted democracy power but it’s a real slow struggle (U.S. Chamber of Democracy). I persist though because if America fails to get rid of the corpocracy it will eventually be the end of an America that was meant by the framers of our Constitution to promote the general welfare of the people, not of the corpocracy.
|Gary Brumback, PhD is a retired psychologist and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He is an author of several books, including The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch.|