The 99% vs. the 1%, Part Two 5/9/13 by Peter Burrows – firstname.lastname@example.org Note: “99% vs. 1%” is a metaphor for the exploitation of the masses by the powerful few, and rarely refers to the mathematical 1% that is smarter than the other 99%, or richer, or luckier, or whatever. I define the 1% as those who advocate or benefit from government abuse of power. They total much more than 1%.
In the ongoing battle of the 99% against the evil 1%, corporations are always at the top of the evil list. As mentioned last week in Part One, in September, 2011, Occupy New York, “to express a feeling of mass injustice”, came up with 23 grievances against corporations which range from poisoning the food supply to keeping people misinformed and “fearful” through control of the media. (As an aside, when the occupy geniuses are watching MSNBC, do they know where the “MS” in MSNBC came from?)
Google “Declaration Occupy New York” and you can enjoy the list for yourself. Don’t be alarmed by all the corporate atrocities. If any American corporation is even suspected of breaking a law, tons of attorneys will be eager to take them to court. Our contingent fee tort system guarantees it. The tobacco lawsuits and settlements are a prime example.
However, If corporations are breaking laws that don’t exist but instead are in violation of some Cosmic Justice as perceived by the Occupy movement, than lawmakers should be blamed, not corporations. But that wouldn’t be any fun. That wouldn’t get the juices of righteous indignation flowing.
I see the Occupy people, many of them over 40, and I wonder how they can live amidst our unprecedented prosperity with no clue as to how that prosperity has come about. At some point such willful ignorance morphs into just plain stupidity.
I suspect most of the occupy crowd have never worked in private enterprise and associate corporations with the pursuit of profits, a word that means “exploitation” in their little minds. “People Not Profits” is a popular slogan amongst the benighted, yet few can define “profits”.
In the real world, there is no conflict between people and profits. Every economic system must have profits or it stagnates. When farmers started to plow and irrigate some 10,000 years ago they began to produce more than they consumed. They had PROFITS to buy/trade for the fisherman’s extra catch, the weaver’s extra cloth, etc. etc.
The more profits, the better off people are. In the last two hundred years, more profits/wealth have been created than in the entire previous 50,000 years or so of human existence. We can thank democracy, free enterprise, and that great legal tool that allowed “everyman” to accumulate capital, limit his risk, and pursue his dreams: The corporation.
Does this mean that corporations should pursue profits regardless of consequences? Absolutely not. Have corporations ever pursued profits in disregard to the well being of customers, employees or the environment? Many, many times. Corporations are run by human beings, and no organization is free from the foibles of the people who run it, whether it is a church, a charity, a union, a government or a corporation.
Consequently, corporations must be constrained by laws, which is to say, THE PEOPLE WHO RUN CORPORATIONS MUST OBEY THE LAWS. While we frequently read about some corporation being in violation of a law, this is essentially a legal technicality which obscures the fact that there is some person or persons working at the corporation who broke the law.
If the penalty is to go to jail, it won’t be a “corporation” that does time. There is no jail cell somewhere in Texas incarcerating Enron Corporation. A couple of the SOBs that ran Enron have jail cells, but there is no cell holding the corporeal corporation, so to speak. (I couldn’t resist.)
Corporation haters have lost sight of the reality that corporations are simply people, and apparently think of them as disembodied specters doing evil to one and all. This is contrary to what common sense and experience should have taught them, namely, that corporations have benefited society, top to bottom, more than any government run economy ever has or ever will. That’s the “occupier’s” real beef.
In conclusion, the Occupy movement doesn’t represent the “99%“. In fact, they are a movement of the “1%”, the totalitarians who would rule us if we let them.