© 2008 Greg Kaiser

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Of, By And For the Self Interest of Corporations

The prices go up and up. The only thing that goes down due to competition is our incomes.

April 15, 2008
      It’s very interesting that people conflate individual interest and rights with corporate interest and rights. Even when the corporations act in opposition to most individuals’, therefore our common interest and rights, we have regard and sympathy for the paper people. They threaten our survival with the greed of CEOs and rich investors, while we fight and die to defend their right to enslave US with debt. Two percent of the population play the dissonant tune to which the rest of US must dance on broken legs. Ninety percent of US are unable to keep up. How is it we not only tolerate but praise such a dysfunctional system? Were our brains outsourced along with our livelihoods? Do people also fuse taxes and regulation on corporations and rich investors with threats to their personal liberty?
      To conflate corporate and individual self interest is delusional and self destructive. The self interest of corporations is not in the interest of the people. But legislatures, executives and courts uphold the rights of corporations [investors] and even hold them above the rights of the majority of Americans, since even before the Supreme Court ruled for the railroads in the 1886. [In 1886, . . . in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a private corporation is a person and entitled to the legal rights and protections the Constitutions affords to any person. -
1886 Decision ] The corporations also insulate their owners from liability due to the damage they do to individuals and the community. That get out of jail free card asserts corporate rights without responsibility. It’s one symptom of the social disease, incubated by the corporations and their owners, that afflicts Americans, our culture and the Human Race.
      Corporate self interest expressed as outsourcing and other pursuit of cheap [virtual slave] labor is destructive to the majority of Americans and therefore treasonous. Our survival is dependent of the proper use of the resources that have been entrusted to capitalist investors and the corporations they own and which shield them from proper retribution. The assets of the traitors must be seized. The investors must be imprisoned and/or executed for the crime of excess ownership/possession of what should be and originally was common property, which has been privatized. Privatization itself is the base crime.
      As jobs move out and our communities are devastated, our economy morphs into something that can’t even supply our basic needs much less an excess to trade. It all becomes an imaginary money balloon of debt that threatens our survival, and they keep trying to fix it by pumping more and more hot air dollars into it which raises the prices that much more and they tell US to take another income cut so the corporation can remain competitive and we keep running up to the same cliff and the lemmings in chief suggest an other infusion of FED dollars and they say this is a free market and the best of all possible worlds just don’t pay attention to the wave of starvation passing over the Earth it’s not our fault. This is the best of all possible worlds for the 2% and the 8% who are the sellouts closest to the elites. To remain competitive, workers, not stockholders, must make concessions. All that the owners need to make is a profit, no matter what that means for the rest of US.

      Not too long ago on C-SPAN’s WA Journal, John Daneen, President and CEO of GE Transportation, says his company, which makes diesel electric locomotives, is competitive in the global economy and provides 5000 jobs. He said the union and non union work forces are willing to change to stay competitive and keep those jobs. Workers make concessions but CEOs and investors get richer. GE of Erie PA has overseas market but he admitted the domestic market couldn’t support them. He repeated the fact that his workers embrace change and they remain competitive. A W-VA caller asked how the union built consumer society would consume the products made in China, if they have only low wages/salary jobs. Daneen repeated that Erie, because his company sells locomotives to China et al, has a trade surplus. Again it’s the corporate self interest that comes before the interest of individuals in America that the anti-union pro war idiots [who called in from FL and GA] can’t see.
      Corporate interests, if they ever had much in common with normal Human interests, have diverged from the common well being in America and globally. The self interest of investors and other elite market participants, like the corporate officers, insurance men and bankers who serve the investors’ paper people, is destructive to the majority of people and the domestic economy upon which we rely for our survival. Global corporations are at cross purposes with our common self interest and well being. Two percent of the population of America make 200k or more annually. I estimate another eight percent of educated middle class make between the overall average and 200k. That means the free market corporate model leaves 90% of US behind. A market that works for only ten percent of the population is intolerable. That market does not know best. That market doesn’t work. That market is evil to ninety percent of US. It’s also unsustainable in a consumer based economy. The collapse of the pyramid scam of finance and debt that they’re trying to bolster with more debt should make the ultimately inevitable failure of capitalism obvious to even the most obtuse corporate clone. Even Dubya should begin to have a clue. How much higher can the debt kite fly?
      And standard business practices, as taught to the MBAs, have wrought this great maleficence. On the scale of evil, GE transportation is far lower than Exxon/Mobil, BP/Amoco, Royal Dutch/Shell. GE’s the best with the Giga Oil, Halliburton, Bechtel, Kellog, Brown and Root, and Blackwater the worst of a bad bunch in the MIC. Even the best business practices today and maybe for all time are destructive to the economy and the rest of US who depend on it for survival. The best manufacturing corporation is evil, though it’s the least of evil compared to damage to the community and nation by the ravages done for the profit of CEOs and investors by the most unscrupulous, vicious, amoral and ruthless of the Giga Corporations.

      Recently I told an acquaintance about the food riots in Burma, Africa and elsewhere and explained that turning food into fuel to burn in SUVs was causing prices to increase to starvation levels for many of the poorest. He commented, “I didn’t know Burma imported so much food?”
      I wondered about such obtuseness but pointed out, as if it was a genuine misunderstanding, that agribusiness pushed people off the land that had supported them. Then the agri-investors plant cash crops to export into the market. Grains and soybeans feed ethanol plants and livestock for and even in Europe, America and elsewhere. The market fails again for most people but, while my friend said he understood, subsequent conversation indicated he’d quickly shunted the horrible truth of it aside. Later I spoke of the implicit Republican belief that a strong enough military could deal with oppressed people and noted that, if bourgeois shelves were full, they wouldn’t notice the downside of suffering in Latin America or anywhere. I pointed out the inevitable ultra negative feedback. He again nodded in agreement but his amused and knowing countenance expressed mere indulgence of me and my concern. It was indicated by the false face of patronization and smug confidence in the power to dominate, behind which he hid from the truth. The mind conditioning was dealing with it all before it really entered his head. It never penetrated to a thoughtful place in his mind, if in fact there has ever been one.
      The middle class conservatives don’t really want to know who must suffer for them to have what they want. One minute they are convinced that they merit theirs and the next they admit it takes strong military and police to keep the lazy beggars from taking back the produce of their labor, which was extorted by low wages under threat of starvation. They want to believe that everyone gets what they deserve, because they willfully/unconsciously delude themselves that they deserve what they have. Yet deep down they know that the [virtual] slaves who serve them must be repressed with strong police and military forces.
      "The process [doublethink] has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt.... To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies - all this is indispensably necessary.": George Orwell in the book 1984
      Eric Blaire called it “doublethink.” I describe the chronic episodes of mindless stupidity as caused by “deeply conditioned responses of the mind” or “fault tolerant programming.” In the best cases it's merely “group think” or virulent group and/or individual denial.

      Carbon credits, like all so called market solutions, mean that the rich can continue to do whatever they want and the rest of US foot the real bill. The market never solves anything. It fills the pockets of the few and creates the problems of want for the rest of US. All the market will ever do is to concentrate wealth with the few elite parasites. It is incapable of providing for the survival of the Human Race. It’s proponents are either morons who do evil because they know no better or greedy fiends who do evil maliciously for individual profit at the expense of the community. Either way it’s evil that the market does. And that goes for the middle class sellouts and wannabees too. They who minister to the elite parasites are just as guilty. They differ only in the amount of pain and suffering their net worth makes inevitable. They are just as guilty but less evil, because they cause less harm to the community, the source of their ill gotten wealth.
      Then there are the morons who think that the problem is borrowers who should not have. But the problem is too much investment in investment, credit and trade and not enough in production of real goods to first consume and then trade. In other words the problem is to much greed of the rich to have something from nothing. To have produce but not work to produce. And the bankers including the FED and the President and Congress answer by increasing the circle jerk of debt that’s created the problem. Well, your pyramid scam has done what it must. The answer is that you’ve screwed up the wealth of America, with which you’ve been entrusted. The answer is to confiscate your ill gotten gains and your capital property.
      I’ve been beating about the bush. The FED and all the rest of finance will not solve the problem. There is no financial solution. The investors - the capitalist hearts of capitalism - maximize profit by buying Asian goods to sell to US at a gain. They then loan US the profit. That is, they invest in the high yield credit market at many derivative levels of abstraction: labeled CDOs, CDSs, MBSs, SIVs etc.1 We must borrow the money we’ve payed to them (which they used to undermine our economy by importing instead of making goods) so that we may buy more imported goods, because we no longer have decent jobs. But there is fantastic growth of the credit markets. Lot’s of people make lot’s of money and the GDP grows. Yes, it grows like a Ponzi because we make no products to give the made money any real value. Our financial geniuses of Wall Street, banking and the FED simply create the excess currency with key-strokes.

1 Derivative (finance) - contains a nice table of derivatives. Conservatives hate Wikipedia because of the taboo ideas and facts it makes available. But if an article has too few or uncertain references to back it, they tell you up front. And you can always check the references. It’s widespread access to the truth that conservatives fear the most. That’s why they try to distract you with foreign and domestic threats that they foment or invent for the purpose.

      So there is no financial solution. Too much finance and too little production of real goods is the problem. The solution is to seize the assets of the criminal frauds who created these schemes, imprison the felonious bankers, brokers, politicians and economists, then go to work producing at least the products we need to live. We can worry about trade or global competitiveness after we have fed, clothed, housed and medically treated ourselves. Capitalism has failed to provide for our survival. It’s perpetrators are criminal traitors to the Human Race. The collapse of the credit pyramid scam of capitalism and the dollar (due to outsourcing) means they cannot acquire the imported goods we need to live. We have no choice but to take their real property and material resources to use to make the things we need to survive. It should be painfully obvious by now that the service economy is imaginary. All it does is inflate the money supply through a pyramid scam of debt to buy imports. It cannot be sustained because it produces no real goods. Real production is fundamental to economy.

      No matter how many credit vehicles carry the cash: no matter how many hands transfer the money for a fee, each taking a piece of “your” house, car or other goods, there are no more products to buy with that money. [forget gold - gold is a fish - a red herring] The origination and handling charges at each layer of financial abstraction are like taxes or tariffs that add unnecessarily to the cost of the real goods or property that you purchase. This circle jerk of debt is the perpetual motion invention of fools. The three stooges are [the dominant] Wall Street, the FED and our wholly owned corporate subsidiary government.

      Any economy more sophisticated than that of a hunter gatherer or subsistence farmer, is based on the commerce among producer/consumers. For the economy to be sustainable, the commerce must be reciprocal and balanced. That’s the zero sum reality that the Holy Trinity - the Laws of Nature, Nature’s God and Mathematics - dictate.
      To maintain balance, you must produce to trade and must consume only [the equivalent of] what you have produced. All activity is supported by the production of real commodities. If it does not produce a real material product, a function’s cost in the form of the real goods it consumes must be minimized, in order to approach a sustainable balance.
      If a community produces an excess of real goods, how may the profits of the permissible trade be distributed among the community members who produced the material by their labor?

      A simple but crude answer to the question of distribution of the wealth, or excess production, created by the community is made by a strong or clever member who claims it for his own. This undoubtedly met with formidable resistance on initial attempts to sell to rational people their relative impoverishment for the benefit of an individual or small clique. I’m sure it took time, a wealth of lies and considerable violence to convince an ancient community that they should work for a king, instead of cooperating with one another to work for themselves. The king or tyrant, whatever, had to subjugate the community before he could organize the work for his own benefit. Once done though, succeeding generations were born into servitude to the rich and believed thence forth it to be the natural way of things.
      But the cons say no! Driven by “I’ve got mine” they live in denial of the fraud they perpetrated to get it. You too have the opportunity to live off the work of the rest of the community as we do. Get an education, work hard, be competitive. Anyone can do it if they’ve got the right stuff! They can’t really understand the meaning of a zero sum game. Bush actually said recently, “I’m not a zero sum kind of guy.”
      Imagine that education has not been limited to the top quintile. (or less as Friedman’s vouchers and conservatives’ cuts to funding for higher education, which force tuition increases, would have it) When everyone has a college education, there will still only be room for 2% at that $200,000 plus level. That’s how it must work in our reality, which is ruled by a zero sum equation. You can’t make any real thing using only words as a raw material. There’s no such thing as perpetual motion, though the FED, the economists and the financial geniuses of Wall Street are still diligently in pursuit of it.

“Learn to Earn”

      Can most Americans “choose” to go to college?
      All of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School [conspiracy] theories concentrate wealth. That’s never their stated purpose but always the obvious outcome when we play their game. McCain’s starting to harp on taxes and the rest of the neoliberal drivel, attempts at implementation of which have created the current crisis through concentration of wealth facilitated by deregulation, free trade/outsourcing, cuts in social spending for the poor and tax cuts for the rich, and privatization. In a comment that included a reference to the “global economy” he very recently said, “if you want to earn you’ve got to learn.” Most of US understand the value of education, at least in theory.
      John, the son and grandson of admirals, went to Episcopal High School. The comment on education above is taken from a talk he gave there in early April. He also pointed out the flaws of the educational system from an upper middle class perspective.
      An aura of “No Child Left Behind” surrounded McCain like a foul mist as he called for more competition to get better teachers and more choice (not mentioning vouchers directly) for parents. Implied was the weakening of [teachers] unions. That’s how to deal with dropouts among Blacks and Mexicans. Take money from challenged inner city schools to give to wealthy districts (or as vouchers to the parents of private school students) in order to destroy any possibility the poor kids can get a decent education through high school. Then discourage the notion of collective bargaining by attacking teachers unions so the disadvantaged and their educators will never have any power. The coup de gras comes with the funding cut at the public universities and an attack on the tenure of intellectually honest professors. The institutions are forced to raise tuition and keep a faculty of conservative shills with no academic honor or respect for the truth. The ghost of Milton Friedman stood at his shoulder as he proposed the specious ideas he claimed would benefit all but that would effectively limit education to his class more completely than ever. Neither McCain nor the ghastly apparition are capable of seeing the total disaster that’s come of the Chicago School Theories that John, speaking for the wraith, still touts. The shills of the rich are a threat to our survival.
      Chicago School voucher theory will deprive the poor of what education and opportunity they have. It’s never been a high probability except for John and his class. But it was theoretically possible and for a minute number of the poor, exceptions to the rule have occurred. Milton’s plan for vouchers will deal with that loophole. Like every idea he ever had, it’s a plan to concentrate wealth with the elite classes.

      Libertarians are more harmful in the end than callous conservatives. The former, while more tolerant than the latter, truly believe the liberal economic delusions of Adam Smith and the neoliberal confidence game of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School.
      Explain to his honor the nature of real economy. It is the reality of the pyramid scam of finance and the debt kite of consumption that fuels it. The current crisis is of the nature of a top heavy system which must ultimately topple because we no longer make the products we need to consume much less to trade. The theory of the market that says investment will create general prosperity because it will be guided by the invisible hands of supply and demand, competition and individual profit motive has resulted in investment in investment and the destruction of the real economy. The Giga corporations have all the money and power but the true believers still think it’s about individuality.
      The invisible hand of the mindless market has pushed American students into business schools where the money is. The outsourcing of engineering and scientific jobs together with the higher profits from hiring foreign engineers dependent on the employer for visas has resulted, along with off shoring of manufacturing, in the loss of the ability to devise the processes and technology to produce goods and the skills of the workplace to do the jobs. The foreign graduate students of the 80's and 90's have followed the real economy home, where they instruct the engineering and scientific innovators of today and even more so of tomorrow.

      In 1968, after 36 years of progress for ordinary people, we had achieved the greatest prosperity for all that the country and the world have ever known. Now, after forty years of the moral and theoretical influence of Milton, ten percent are better off and the rest of US have regressed to poverty or approaching poverty and debt slavery to the rich investors whose greed has destroyed the economy and turned the American Dream into a nightmare of debt and foreclosure.

“The People, United, Will Never Be Defeated!”

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