Fw: [Fwd: Recommended reading: An Articulate Voice Against Corporate Control]

H. C. Covington @ I CAN! America (@)
Sat, 29 May 1999 17:38:19 -0500


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----- Original Message -----
From: Sam Conant <sconant@TOGETHER.NET>
Sent: Friday, May 28, 1999 8:20 PM
Subject: [Fwd: Recommended reading: An Articulate Voice Against Corporate
Control]


>

The following is an unabashed, unequivocating indictment of "private sector
greed" at the expense of citizens.

> Copyright:  The National Psychologist, September, 1998.
> Reproduced for educational purposes.
>
> Book Review: An Articulate Voice Against Corporate Control
>
> There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead
>  Armadillos by Jim Hightower.  (New York: Harper Collins, 1997, $23.00)
>
> (by Steven Shearer, Ph.D.)
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> > >This strangely but aptly titled book targets all of us moderates who have
> > been reduced to roadkill by market-driven eighteen-wheelers on the new
> > corporate expressway which paves America.  We live in a society
> > traditionally mistrustful of government control, yet now all too willing
> to  tolerate insidious corporate control of our daily lives.
> > >
> > >Hightower warns, *We allow a single, avaricious special interest to set
> the conditions of our work, the price of political and government
> participation, the choice of our news and entertainment, the focus of public
> education, the shape and locations of our community enclaves, and much, much
> more, including the terms of the social contract that exists to bind us into a
>
> > united society.*
> > >
> > >We barely raised an eyebrow when corporate sponsors paid to rename
> college bowl games and stadiums built with public funds or to buy the rights
> to
> > college athletic departments such that public institutions  became
> > billboards.  Now,  public parks with corporate logos, as well as projects
> to  convey logos in the night sky by satellite or by reflection on the moon,
> are an imminent reality.  The Stars and Stripes, once the symbol of America,
> has been replaced by the ubiquitous corporate logo.  Democratic government by
> > representation has been replaced by the ubiquitous corporate lobbyist.
> > >
> > >Hightower is a remarkably articulate voice against corporate
> rapaciousness.  He details how emasculation of state corporate charters as
> well as Supreme Court decisions that empowered corporations with the rights of
> individuals have led to a corporate system with no room for beneficence to
> employees, communities or the environment.  Corporate entities now unabashedly
>
> declare their independence from any social contract or social mores.  While
> > preaching austerity, corporate upper management lavishes itself with
> > compensation which, no matter how extravagant, is all deductible from the
> > corporate tax bill.  Thus, many multi-billion dollar corporate behemoths
> pay single digit tax percentages, enabled by our naive notion that this will
> > somehow create living wage jobs that contribute to the public good.
> > >
> > >The public good?  We have Michael Eisner making a (corporate tax
> > deductible) salary of $100,000 per hour while slashing health benefits for
> > Disney employees whose total annual premiums are less than his salary
> alone.  We have Eisner wannabes controlling the *national corporate mutants*
> of
> > health care, successfully thwarting legislated consumer protections that
> > would cost less than their own salaries.  Consider recently deposed
> > Columbia/HCA CEO Richard Scott who, from his multi-million dollar
> corporate perch, likened the question of whether there is a social
> responsibility to
> > provide health care to whether fast-food restaurants should be obligated
> to feed anyone.   Consider the recent, remarkably smarmy letter from Magellan
> > Health, eager to share their excitement that they have acquired their way
> to *quality-driven* (i.e., capital-driven and capitol-driven) market
> dominance of the managed behavioral care industry, allowing them to slash
> > psychologists fees to 1982 levels while Magellan reaps tremendous profits.
> > >
> > >There is a class war raging, contends Hightower.  Nearly two-thirds of
> the wealth created in the 80's and 90's went to the wealthiest 1% of the
> > population.  If the economy, not just the stock market, is so robust, why
> > are the majority of Americans so disaffected and financially insecure?
> > While the powers-that-be  keep their eyes on the Dow Jones, they avert
> their eyes from the *brooding civic rebellion.*   Hightower reminds us that
> > Americas true political spectrum is not right to left, but, rather, top
> to bottom.  As those of us in the middle class lose distance from the top,
> > there will soon be a vast, disenfranchised and very angry majority.
> > >
> > >Although we live in a time of corporate robber barons much like the
> period after the Civil War,  Hightower notes that our politicians have
> violated
> the rule, *Never drop your gun to hug a grizzly.*  They are hugging the
> grizzly most passionately while posturing about the cruel hoax of campaign
> finance
> > reform.  Both political parties have been coopted into a single Corporate
> > Party.  (Hightower: *People say we need a third party.  I say we need a
> > second one.*)  We citizens have passively accepted that corporations and
> > *globaloney* are part of the natural order.  Yet, corporations remain an
> > artifice of government.  Just as we now have expectations for welfare
> > mothers, shouldnt we have expectations for corporations which receive far
> > more of our welfare dollars yet regularly and systematically violate the
> > public trust to boost profit?
> > >
> > >Hightowers incisive and sarcastic wit is punctuated by Texas homilies
> and anecdotes that range from masterful metaphors  to the merely cloying.  At
> > his best, Hightower recommends that our politicians, in the interest of
> full disclosure, have their suits dotted with little corporate logos, much
> like
> > race car drivers and professional athletes, so that we will all know at a
> > glance who sponsors a politicians rhetoric and legislative efforts.
> Since corporations can always find cheaper labor in Mexico or Southeast Asia,
> he
> > suggests that the same concept be applied to upper management.  For
> example, successful upper managers in Japan work for dramatically less than
> their
> > counterparts in America.  Hence, consistent business  practice would shift
> > these jobs to foreign managers willing to work for much less, thereby
> > improving the bottom line.  (Similarly, if newly minted LCSWs willing to
> > work for any hourly wage define a *quality-driven* managed behavioral care
> > juggernaut, why shouldn't upper management be replaced with newly minted
> MBA's?)
> > >
> > >Hightower even wonders whether we should privatize the entire government:
> > Let Ford/Lincoln/Mercury sponsor the Lincoln Monument so that it can start
> > turning a buck.  The State of the Union address is a perfect television
> > advertising tie-in for Burger Kings *Big Whopper.*  Let Barnes & Noble
> > remake the Library of Congress into their flagship superstore, complete
> with Starbucks in the foyer.  You get the idea.
> > >
> > >The left's abandonment of personal responsibility, the rights
> abandonment of social responsibility and both sides abandonment of
> legislative
> > responsibility in the face of corporate perversion of representative
> > government requires more of us as citizens than our tenacious hugging of
> the yellow stripes.  Those who believe we have already seen the worst of an
> > entirely market-driven society, epitomized by our sorry corporate health
> > care system, should heed Andrew Youngs statement, as quoted by Hightower:
> > *Nothing is illegal if 100 businessmen decide they're going to do it.*
> > >
> > >We psychologists must rethink our mundane daily purchases from corporate
> > America; we must take a closer look at the process behind all the logos;
> we must rethink our war-time collaboration with corporate managed health
> care; and, we must scrutinize our elected representatives, insisting with our
> > letters, contributions and votes, that they restrain the grizzlies.  As
> > citizens, we cannot afford armadillo-like behaviors like  burrowing into
> the ground, simply rolling into a ball when attacked or running blindly across
>
> > the highway, hoping we are missed.
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> > >Steven Shearer, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice and a
> faculty member in a family medicine residency training program in Baltimore.
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++