I have come across another great article about our current situation as a country and would like to share my thoughts of the author’s opinions.
I suggest you read the original article to provide the full picture, but if not I have provided paraphrases of the author’s statements.
Link to original article: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/6343/
“Through its routine practices, this economy subjects people to shoddy products, unsafe working conditions, medical scams, poisoned air and water, propaganda dressed up as journalism, and countless other assaults, all in pursuit of profits.”
I really find this statement to be quite harsh, but nonetheless true. By routine practices and his list of them really hit home and show us how things really are at the basic sense. “Propaganda dressed up as journalism” is another way of highlighting the failure of modern media to keep the general public informed. This is why we need to be better educated.
“Likewise …they are just as surely condemning vast numbers of people to illness, injury, and death.”
I agree with his comparison of how pharmaceutical companies and tobacco companies condemn their customers, who are strangers, to death. It is sickening to think about how many people die that can be saved, but they aren’t at the expense of a company’s profit margin.
“But in the world where the rest of us live, deception and fraud have been commonplace among corporate giants, from Enron to Exxon, from United Fruit to Union Carbide.”
He is absolutely right when he points out Milton Friedman’s quote. In a classroom setting economics is an absolute science with principals mixed with ethics, however, “in the world where the rest of us live”, it is not quite as plain and simple. He lists some big names that have been involved in the recent past of corporate scandals.
“In our country, when the rules become a nuisance or do not sufficiently favor their interests, big companies purchase enough support in the White House or Congress or regulatory agencies to have the rules revised or abolished.”
I couldn’t agree more. He really hits the nail on the head with this statement. Countless times do we hear in the news media that another company gets a bailout or some type of governmental support, which, otherwise, would have been illegal to a smaller business. It is truly disgusting, and we are better than this.
“In 2009, when the CEOs of the twenty-five largest American hedge funds split over $26 billion, this cozy arrangement cost the Treasury, and therefore the rest of us, several billion dollars in lost tax revenue. When President Obama urged Congress to close this tax loophole, the billionaire chairman of one hedge fund responded by comparing such a move with the Nazi invasion of Poland.”
It makes my head hurt to even process the fact that an intelligent human being would ever make such a comparison. The Nazi invasion of Poland? You have to be kidding me. In no way would closing a tax loophole to benefit the American people could ever be compared to an invasion. Just goes to show the audacity of this rich few, and what do we get? “Several billion dollars in lost tax revenue.”
“I would like to believe that, having derived their riches from the commons, they feel obliged to return a substantial portion of those riches for the benefit of the commons.”
It would be nice to believe that a few of the most powerful and richest people of our country are realizing their wealth has been accumulated from the “commons” or the general public, but I just don’t believe it. I would say the majority of the richest are so selfish they don’t even think of the world’s problems and just keep focusing how they will make another billion. At least the author of this article is optimistic.
“…use their wealth only to increase their power, and use their power only to guard and increase their wealth, and so on, in an upward spiral toward infinity. Their success in this endeavor can be measured by the fact that the top 1 percent of earners now receives 24 percent of all income in the United States, the highest proportion since the eve of the Great Depression in 1929.”
This statistic is sickening. Think about it, the top 1% which is about 3 million out of 300 million people receive almost a quarter of the total income in this country! Outrageous! No wonder why I can’t afford a new car…
“Through trade organizations such as the American Petroleum Institute and numerous front groups, Exxon, Shell, BP, and other energy titans have spent millions of dollars trying to persuade the public that the climate isn’t shifting dangerously, or if it is shifting then humans play no part in the change, or if humans do play a part then nothing can be done about it without stifling the economy.”
This statement really incorporates all of that which defines the downfall of our climate. Real scientists look at the facts, while these “energy titans” look at what make their bank accounts larger and base their decisions off of that. Time is running out and we know who to blame.
“Should we defend an economy that even in a recession generates a GDP over $14 trillion, a quarter of the world’s total, and yet is supposedly unable to afford to reduce its carbon emissions?”
No we should not. We should change our ways and fast. We need leaders to help change the way we approach business, and consider the future of our planet as priority numero uno.
“The estimates for annual spending on advertising in the U.S. hover around $500 billion. This is roughly the amount we spend annually on public education. While taxpayers complain about the cost of schools, they do not protest the cost of advertising, which inflates the price of everything we purchase, and which aims at persuading us to view the buying of stuff as the pathway to happiness. A current ad for Coke, showing a frosty bottle, actually uses the slogan “Open Happiness.” The promise is false, and all of us know it, yet we keep falling for the illusion.”
Ignorance is not an excuse, and for us we use it way too often. We really need to lessen our exposure to these types of false advertising and focus on what is actually important to us, such as our families and their health.
And if after reading this you find yourself in a crappy mood I put a nice picture at the end to cheer you up!
Have a great day!