Saturday, November 30, 2013
Businesses should pledge to help our society, like in the olden days (50 years ago.)
The reason we originally allowed businesses to do business in this country was that some benefit would come to society from it. But since the era of New Deal economics was replaced by Reaganomics, the principal rationalization we use to give limitations of liability and privileges to corporations and their masters has changed from, “What is best for society?” to, “How can somebody best get rich quick?”
This is a perversion of the entire concept of why nations allowed people and corporations to do business, and why we facilitate that activity by providing at public expense: stable currencies and a stable banking system; predictable and fair court systems; transportation, electrical, water, septic, and communications infrastructure; a criminal justice system to enforce the rules of the game of business; and a workforce educated at the public expense and protected with a public pension called Social Security. We do all these things so the business will provide some good to the public while, in the meantime, enriching its owners.
But a new business model has emerged in the United States. Companies still get the privileges, but they no longer have to conduct themselves in ways that inure a net positive to the public.