Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amster: Corporations, politicians need work

I have no idea what the headline is supposed to mean, but Randall's column yesterday really gets to the meat of most of our big social problems. I've long advocated the idea that corporatism is the mostly hidden third force that distorts our social systems and politics beyond reason, and that corporations use our progressive-vs-conservative mental model to deceive us into giving them pretty much everything they want from us. It's a really important point, and we almost never hear it in our mainstream media, which despite all the screaming are neither conservative nor progressive, but firmly corporatist.

I appreciate that Randall used the health-care bill (which you can reference via the sidebar link at left) as his main example. Universal health care is something progressives have been fighting for since the '40s, and so conservative readers might expect Randall to favor anything that seems to move in that direction. One of the most effective ways of convincing people is to drive the snakes from your own nest first. The commenters don't seem to get the point at all, but that's par for this course, I'm afraid. What pains me is that conservatives so rarely seem to notice that corporations are equally inimical to their interests. Until we can see that we all share the pain of this cancer at the heart of our society, we'll never begin to address it.

I broadly agree with Randall here, but I'm not quite so cynical that the issue will end by simply enriching corporations again. They don't always win all the marbles, as our relatively shallow but firm national commitment to environmental protection is showing. Sometimes they're even teachable. New laws make small changes in a large, dynamic system, and more changes always follow. We have choices about where this first step will lead. If we can maintain clear vision and some hardheaded optimism, we can go far.

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