Thursday, May 30, 2013

Beware capitalist tools

Robert Reich, Clinton's Labor Secretary, posted Monday on his blog a piece arguing limiting access to giant corporations:
If global corporations obeyed all national laws — the spirit of the laws as well as the letter of them – and didn’t use their inordinate power to dictate the laws in the first place by otherwise threatening to take their jobs and investments elsewhere, there’d be no issue.
It’s the fact of their power to manipulate laws by playing nations off against one another – determining how much they pay in taxes, as well as how much they get in corporate welfare subsidies, how much regulation they’re subject to, and so on – that raises the question of how citizens can countermand this power.
Consumer benefits may sometimes exceed such costs. But, as we’ve painfully learned over the years (the Wall Street meltdown, the BP oil spill in the Gulf, consumer injuries and deaths from unsafe products, worker injuries and deaths from unsafe working conditions, climate change brought on by carbon dioxide emissions, and, yes, manipulation of the tax laws – need I go on?), the social costs may also exceed consumer benefits....
...Comparative advantage is nice in theory, but in a world where powerful global corporations are using every strategy imaginable to maximize their profits and powerful governments are strategically employing market access to develop their economies, it’s just theory. 
 Wouldn't it be great if NO711's zoning proposal were the beginning of a wide-spread resistance against global corporate access at the ground level? Instead of relying on our failed political system to defend us from global capital, start with community self-determination growing from a grassroots movement? Could this be the second wave for Occupy -- occupy our own community?

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