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max

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Corporation's in a free state
« on: May 27, 2003, 01:59:36 pm »

 
Jefferson Was Right.

 

By Dr. Michael P. Byron

 

Most Americans don’t know it but Thomas Jefferson, along with James Madison worked assiduously to have an 11th Amendment included into our nation’s original Bill of Rights.  This proposed Amendment would have prohibited “monopolies in commerce.” The amendment would have made it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, or to give money to politicians, or to otherwise try to influence elections.  Corporations would be chartered by the states for the primary purpose of “serving the public good.” Corporations would possess the legal status not of natural persons but rather of “artificial persons.”  This means that they would have only those legal attributes which the state saw fit to grant to them.  They would NOT; and indeed could NOT possess the same bundle of rights which actual flesh and blood persons enjoy.  Under this proposed amendment neither the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, nor any provision of that document would protect the artificial entities known of as corporations.  

 

Jefferson and Madison were so insistent upon this amendment because the American Revolution was in substantial degree a revolt against the domination of colonial economic and political life by the greatest multinational corporation of its age: the British East India Company.  After all who do you think owned the tea which Sam Adams and friends dumped overboard in Boston Harbor?  Who was responsible for the taxes on commodities and restrictions on trade by the American colonists?  It was the British East India Company, of course.  In the end the amendment was not adopted because a majority in the first Congress believed that already existing state laws governing corporations were adequate for constraining corporate power. Jefferson worried about the growing influence of corporate power until his dying day in 1826. Even the more conservative founder John Adams came to harbor deep misgivings about unchecked corporate power.

 

A few years after Jefferson’s unsuccessful attempt to incorporate this amendment into the Bill of Rights, the fourth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, John Marshall, unilaterally asserted the Court’s right to judicial review in the seminal case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803.  In practice this meant that the Supreme Court would have sole and unchecked power to determine what the Constitution meant.  Jefferson was aghast.  His fear lay in the knowledge that an unelected branch of government, one which is not subject to the will of the citizens, and is effectively immune from check by the two elected branches of government (Only one Supreme Court Justice has ever been impeached—none have ever been convicted and removed) was now solely responsible for determining the meaning of the Constitution. The meaning of the Constitution, and hence the very nature of our political system, was now in the hands of an unelected and effectively uncontrollable body.  â€œThe Constitution has become a thing of wax to be molded as the Court sees fit” Jefferson lamented.

 

In 1886 Jefferson’s twin Constitutional nightmares collided in a train wreck which has effectively derailed true democracy in this nation and indeed across the globe as other nations have either copied our unfortunate example, or have fallen under the dominion of our multinational corporations—or both..  The precipitating event was the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.  This case is cited to the present day as having conferred the status of “natural” as opposed to “artificial” personhood upon American corporations.  In fact the Supreme Court declined to rule on the issue.  J.C. Bancroft Davis, the Clerk of the Court, an attorney, who curiously was also a former railroad company PRESIDENT, used his position to simply write this conclusion into the head notes which summarized the case.  Ever since this fateful event; this sleight-of-hand rewriting of the Constitution, corporations have had the status of “actual” persons whose rights are fully protected by the Constitution.  It was a coup against democracy which succeeded because there were no real external checks and balances on the Court, and because the Court itself chose not to act to repudiate Davis’ rewriting of the Constitution.  The thing stood.  Precedent was established.  Jefferson’s “thing of wax” nightmare had come to pass.

 

Consider the implications: Actual flesh and blood persons are indeed all roughly equal in overall attributes.  But a corporation can possess MILLIONS of times greater resources than does any “natural” person, or even a group of such persons.  Neither labor unions, nor any other category of “special interest” group possesses this attribute of personhood and so they too are fundamentally and intrinsically unable to compete against corporate “persons.”

 

To make a long and sad story short: The concentrated power of corporate persons has overwhelmed our democratic system.  The unsound decisions of our unchecked and unbalanced Supreme Court have handed the “keys to the Kingdom” over to our corporate overlords.  An analogy with an AIDS infection is instructive: After 1886, our democratic “immune system” resisted Davis’ corporate personhood infection of our national body politic by deploying the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, the Progressive Movement, the Labor Movement, and the New Deal.  All of these bought time.  But now, in the era of global mega-corporations, after a long struggle, our “democratic immune system” is finally being overwhelmed.  Democracy, rule of, by, and for the people, is dying in America.

 

Contemporary America is a nation almost wholly under the dominion of plutocratically wealthy, corporate quarterly-profit über alles overlords.  A seamless web of corporate power connects our multinational corporations with our mass media—now almost wholly owned by a handful of mega-corporations.  This military-industrial-media complex largely determines which politicians will and will not get elected.  Thus they control the government. They control access to money as well as determine how a candidate will be presented to the viewers.  The very policies that our “elected” officials are “allowed” to espouse are rigorously circumscribed: Remember Clinton’s national healthcare proposals?  Our media will never tell us that every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care for their citizens.  Arguably, our corporate media has seen to it that the average American is as brainwashed as is say, the average citizen of North Korea. Our primary role in this atrocious system is simply to consume.  We are consumers, corporate subjects, not citizens.  Under this materialistic system our lives are devoid of deep meaning as we are conditioned to work ever harder and go ever deeper in debt to accumulate ever more useless junk as though if we just piled up enough of this crap we would somehow, magically, become happy.

 

What is to be done?  Let’s open our eyes and admit that the emperor has no clothes.  Let’s admit that our democratic, constitutional, system was derailed more than a century ago.  Until we return power to the hands of flesh and blood citizens EXCLUSIVELY, until corporations are summarily striped of “personhood”, until this legal obscenity is abolished, we can have no real freedom, democracy cannot flourish.  Furthermore, to ensure that the will of the people is respected and reigns supreme, all members of our federal judiciary must face periodic reelection by the citizens—just as is the case for our judiciary here in California.  Until and unless these things come to pass we cannot be a free people.  Because we are fundamentally NOT a free people, because our ability to act and to build freely upon our inspirations is constrained by corporate forces beyond our present control, we cannot live up to our full potentials as human beings. Once these goals are accomplished there shall be such an explosion of innovation in economic and political and scientific entrepreneurship as to make Periclean Athens seem timid. It’s up to each of us to act NOW.  Freedom itself hangs in the balance.



 http://www.byronforcongress.org/pages/Jefferson%20Was%20Right.htm

 Where do members of the FSP stand on the corporate/political machine?

comments please .......
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2003, 04:22:20 pm »

Just to comment on the Corporate Influence/Domination in the USA here is a commentary from Arab News by Nicolas Buchele


Neo-Totalitarianism
Nicolas Buchele, Arab News Staff
Published on 19 March 2003

JEDDAH, 19 March 2003 — The person of the US president is an irrelevance. To
appeal to George W. Bush — amusing character though he may be — is like berating
a broom for omitting to sweep in the corners.
The new totalitarianism prevailing in America and taking hold in its satellites
around the world has learned important lessons from the failed experiments of
the past. The first of these lessons is that the greatest liability to the
survival of a regime is a strong and erratic leader.
A point often made in history classes is that Hitler should have stopped at Kiev
instead of thinning out his eastern front to move on toward Moscow.
Thus without Hitler’s deranged ambitions, the Third Reich might really have
lasted a thousand years. Similarly, if Stalin had kept his genocidal ambitions
in check, the Soviet Union might have continued to enjoy its initial popularity
among sections of the West and at home.
With these examples in mind, the leader has been eliminated as a factor in US
politics. George W. Bush’s very nullity as a politician throws into relief the
fact that the US has long been governed, not by its people, but by interests
that are happy to remain largely anonymous, do not rely on individuals for their
hold on power, and are recognizable in public mainly by a soothing corporate
blue.
Americans often seem baffled that others fail to admire their system of
government. They know after all that in the US there exists a lively culture of
debate, where the whole lunatic spectrum of opinion can find a platform of one
kind or another (though at the same time the difference between the political
parties it is actually possible to elect is vanishingly small).
They have a vibrant and largely unchecked artistic community. They have the
first amendment.
Even Greg Palast, at the end of his expose of corporate power The Best Democracy
Money Can Buy, found himself heartened by the American culture of customer
complaint, the notion that you have enforceable rights and can sue for them in a
court of law. This is, after all, the nation that gave us the concept of “animal
rights.”
Hollywood is happy to feed this perception by producing blockbusters like Erin
Brockovitch and The Insider, where ordinary people take on corporations and win,
in other words, films which, by seeming to challenge, actually affirm the
existing order.
The reason for all this is that the new totalitarianism has learned a second
lesson from its heavy-handed predecessors. If artists and intellectuals were
able to do precisely nothing about Hitler or Stalin or any of the legion of
tin-pot dictators around the world, it follows that you might as well have
freedom of expression.
In the new totalitarian system, people can say whatever they like, and it makes
absolutely no difference.
The impending war on Iraq is only one example among many of a supposedly
sovereign public completely powerless in the face of a government bent on a
course of action.
That this should surprise some people outside America is odd. Proponents of the
enlightened self-interest of nations like the late Alan Clark MP — who argued
that it would have been better for Britain’s imperial status if it had signed a
peace with Hitler in 1941 — have long held that nations do not have morals.
They have interests. Thus the idea clogging up the editorial pages of American
papers that people ought to be grateful to the US is childish. Alliances are
formed where the interests of nations coincide or where one nation expects to
take advantage of another.
In other words, America has never been a moral guardian to the rest of the
world, and it would be peculiar to expect it to be. It has simply more astutely
safeguarded its interests, except where it has allowed its interests to become
distorted in countries like Vietnam. But these blunders have long been
rectified.
The neo-conservative writer P.J. O’Rourke some years ago said the Americans had
won the Vietnam war, and so they have — if not the one they were fighting.
Vietnam is now in all but name a busy capitalist country, and no doubt the
better for it as far as its long-suffering people are concerned.
On the whole, however, annexation by mostly carrot and a little stick has worked
best, and the US has avoided the limitless aggression that proved the downfall
of old-style regimes.
Many more obvious US satellites in Southeast Asia and elsewhere have benefited
from the ties that bind them and are evolving comparable pseudo-democratic
systems.
The middle-class subjects of these satellites would be foolish to prefer their
country to be differently aligned, and to the slum-dwellers it doesn’t matter
either way. This practically guarantees a stable dependency on the motherland,
which an invasion could never have achieved.
The most important lesson to the new totalitarianism, then, comes from ancient
Rome, and is simply that people sufficiently supplied with bread and games will
put up with anything.
It may seem strange that a system that has been working so well both at home and
abroad should so blatantly rattle the saber and polish the jackboot, but for
this we may have to thank Al-Qaeda.
In Blowback, his study of American imperialism, Chalmers Johnson points out that
the intention of terrorists is among other things to provoke a disproportionate
reaction in the enemy and goad it into revealing itself as the brute it is,
thereby forfeiting public sympathy.
Alternatively, it could be that the fruits of a takeover of Iraq are too juicy
to pass up and difficult to get hold of by any other means. In either case, this
will be a passing phase, and the current preponderance of stick in US
international policy will in good time make way for more ample carrot.
But by improving on its predecessor, the US has not abandoned the essential
ingredients of the totalitarian state.
These include a powerful propaganda machine — America’s is the most
comprehensive and sophisticated in history — centered around a few simple,
powerful symbols which, though in themselves meaningless, are nonetheless, in
old-fashioned parlance, taboo. It remains an offense to “desecrate” the flag.
They also include a public rhetoric so far removed from ordinary speech as to
constitute practically a separate language and whose intended effect is
essentially to baffle; and control mechanisms that are not so much seen as felt,
as evidenced by the wide-ranging official and unofficial powers given to US
intelligence organizations.
The question remains whether overall there is anything wrong with an endlessly
adaptable, stable system of world government that keeps the majority of its
subjects happy or at least comfortable.
And once technology has solved the problem of cheap labor, there will probably
be nothing wrong with it. Only we mustn’t call it democracy.




Copyright © 2003 ArabNews All Rights Reserved.
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pstudier

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2003, 04:25:15 pm »

Do you have the text of this alleged 11 amendment of the bill of rights?


The Constitution Society has this list of the 12 proposed amendments of the bill of rights: http://www.constitution.org/billofr_.htm

Eleven have been ratified, the most recent is the 27th, proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992!
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2003, 12:48:43 am »

The problem with big businesses is that they are often the ones pushing for laws to shut their smaller competitors out.

Take any number of regulations in any number of industries, the net effect is to make it too expensive for the small guy to compete and too hard for new players to get into the market once they've solidified their monopoly.

Now, I'm not saying there should be a law against big corporations, just that there should be no laws giving them special rights, nowhere near the rights they have now as "sovereign entities" in and of themselves, with corporeal rights even dwarfing those that we mere mortals have.

Ending corporate welfare would be a great first step.  Whatever "commerce vacuum" big corporations may leave in their wake should they choose to leave the Free State could be filled by smaller start-ups and other alternatives, IMHO.
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2003, 02:22:44 am »

pstudier -  I was not the author of this article but would also like to read this alleged 11 amendment. Anyone have a clue on where to find the source of info stated.

WeHoldTheseTruths - I agree ending corporate welfare would be a good start.

 I think a lot of the reason our freedoms are in the state they are in today is directly related to a combination of corporate / big money special interest and religious groups pressure. I think that the mentality that the "Business of America is Business" is way out of control and taken to an extreme. I don't think freedom can be restored and government made smaller unless "the people" are calling the shots. Our government was  not created to be  by and fore the business people. The question is how can we have good healthy business for our prosperity and yet retain control by the people. I hope someone can dig up the 11th amendment that Thomas Jefferson, and  James Madison were working on. It might be a good time now to enact it.
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2003, 04:35:32 am »

Hi Max,

I'm not a member of the FSP but do ask to comment on Dr Michael P. Byron's article.

I've no problem with the thrust of his position but am lost as to his desire to ditch corporations.  The British East India Company was over 250 years old before taken over by the government.  How could a proprietorship or partnership compete without indefinite life?  

It's a lot worse now because of foreign government's State Trading Companies.  Eg, when Morrison Knudson, Boise, went in partners to work a certain mine, they negotiated with a foreign government agency.   Now, I know the whole corporate system is as corrupted as can be (and not just the public corps), but what else could substitute?

I do challenge the author ref his "every other developed nation on Earth has universal health care for their citizens."  The official organizational charts and the reality don't mesh.

BobW
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2003, 04:54:22 am »

H We Hold,

You said it clearer than me.  The corps push laws and regs to minimize competition.  It's not new; just perfected.

Look at the Americans With Disabilities Act.  What small company can let a couple of people leave the workplace to an extended period?

Look at the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.  Here also, small companies can't compete against the power house large corps.

Handicapped access is now national law in the US for hotels.  How did the small, undercapitalized place handle this? In large trends, they went away.

What small company can participate in hearings after  a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register?  Here, also, under the pretext of full participation, the events are predictable.

The above examples have exceptions but the overall trend works to the advantage of the politically connected.

I follow the corporate welfare aspects of the world trade community.  One project is to drastically reduce the Export-Import Bank while allowing former participants to get "tax holidays" (Politicos, please excuse this expression) to get the government out of birthday gifts for friends.

I believe the folks at WyomingBusiness.org are receptive to letting miners be miners and lumberjacks be lumberjacks, rather than the current - and collapsing - let's let middle America support us.

BobW
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Aaron

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2003, 02:54:09 pm »

Posted by: BobW
Quote
I've no problem with the thrust of his position but am lost as to his desire to ditch corporations.  The British East India Company was over 250 years old before taken over by the government.  How could a proprietorship or partnership compete without indefinite life?  

I read an article in a newsletter several months ago that addressed this issue.  When I get all of my stuff out of storage, I will dig it up so I can credit the source of my information properly; but from memory, here is the basic gist:

Max is correct in stating that the American Revolution was much more of a revolt against the East India Company than it was a revolt against the government of the British Empire.  What has clouded the issue over the centuries is that the members of parliament as well as British royalty were the primary investors and beneficiaries of the East India company.  Their modus operandi was exactly the same as the huge conglomerates of modern times.  First, they promised the wealthy members of the British government huge profits in exchange for their investments.  Then, those members of the state passed laws and regulations essentially forbidding competition thus guaranteeing continued profits.  Then, any group that dared to oppose the East India Company had, by proxy,  the armed forces of the British Empire to deal with.  The article buried in my storage unit actually gave specific examples of earlier uprisings around the world that were easily quashed by the mighty Redcoats.  These never made it into our history books because of how quickly all of their proponents were killed.

The parallels between the symbiotic relationship between the British government and the East India company, and the relationship between our modern state and big business is clear.  Our current administration is almost synonymous with big oil.  Finacial ties between members of our federal government and other industries such as pharmaceuticals, agri-business (meat packing, dairy factories, etc.), manufacturing, et al can be easily researched.  Worst of all, IMO, is the sector that makes this all possible:  the military-industrial complex.

In addition to all of this corruption by design, we have now witnessed unintended consequences of the rise of worlwide corporate domination.  Enron, Worldcom, and all of the recent scandals would not be possible under the unpassed anti-corporation amendment.

To return to Bob's original question quoted above, the desire was not to outlaw business entities with indefinite life completely.  Jefferson's main concept was that such non-physical entities should should never be granted the FULL BUNDLE of rights as a flesh and blood human individual.  Two of the most important features of the proposed amendment (at least as they apply to modern times) are these:

1.  Corporations could only be formed to do business in one specific industry.  

The purpose of this was to prevent the type of vertical integration that was eventually achieved by such corporations as Standard Oil.  Drilling, shipping, refining, and retail sales would have to involve at least four different corporations.  Considering the abuses of power that Standard Oil and other similar conglomerates practiced, maybe such a restriction would have been a good thing.

2.  No corporation would be allowed to own another corporation.

Do I really need to mention Enron again to explain the purpose of this?  The only reasons I have been able to discern for a corporation to own another corporation is for those who already have money to make sure they don't lose it (even if they make bad business decisions) and to continue to make more money without really producing anything to earn it.

I realise that the dismantling of the corporate/state symbiosis is a gordian knot of gargantuan proportion that does not lend itself to an Alexandrian solution.  However, if we do not keep in mind that these are the motives of the forces we oppose, and these are the means by which they stay in power; we will continue to underestimate what those who oppose freedom are willing to do to stay in power.  (As the LP has done for decades.)  Our situation is all the more dire than that of our forefathers because of the control the state has over the media.  I do not mean the type of direct control that goes on in totalitarian regimes that actually outlaw the free press.  The shareholders of the East India Company could never have dreamed of the level of deception, misdirection, and misinformation that modern statists use to control the philosophical climate of our culture.  (George Orwell imagined it, though.  Unfortunately, while he provided us with a prescient warning of our dire circumstances, he did not provide a bluprint for extricating ourselves from our predicament.)

With that said, I do not think we are doomed to failure.  It says FSP Member by my name, doesn't it?  These issues deal mainly with the statists at the federal level.  The beauty of the FSP, IMO, is that we seek to gain a foothold of freedom while ignoring federal concerns.  By focusing our efforts on local politics, we can create a beacon of freedom without directly threatening the global power structure.  Others have posted on this forum that achieving freedom requires not just political change but a cultural change as well.  They are exactly right.  With a concrete example for the world to see, we can begin to change the fundamental philosophy of our culture toward a love of TRUE freedom.  Whereas our forefathers' struggle was a physical one, ours is an intellectual one.  This, by the way,  is why the FSP could only come into exsistence as (mainly) an internet project.  The internet is the great equalizer in the dissemination of information and ideas.  Considering the entrenchment of institutionalized media, the ultimate goal of achieving a truly free society will not be possible without it.
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2003, 03:35:21 pm »

Hi Aaron,

I completely agree to even say it wasn't an American revolution but really a civil war.  Pitt, Fox, Burke and the rest of the Whigs supported the American colonialists.

I posted here, somewhere, the key section of Eisenhower's farewell speech ref his "military-industrial complex" warning.

Still, how could a US corp survive with the restrictions mentioned.  The new British East India Companies are multiindustry, vertically and sometimes horizontally intergrated, heavily protected by local laws, subsidized by government and held to looser type legal standards.  Recall the old joke "The British knight their captains of industry,  The Americans indict them."

If a US corp could not own a corp, they'd be uncompetitive.  

Personally, I see the situation even worse than described above.

I understand what you mean by media control.  

Somewhere here in one of my posts, I mentioned C. Itoh (USA) Ltd, (believe of Gardena, Calif) .  It's a US corp with an obvious Japanese parent.  This is the competition.

We are discussing much more than a 4 generationsl timetable I envisioned.

BobW
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max

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2003, 10:35:10 am »

Hi, Thanks for all your input on this important topic. I posted another article  below written by a businessman. I also sent an e-mail to Dr. Byron author of the first article I posted. I asked if he could provide to me or post in person any info and the text on the 11th amendment he spoke about in his article.

"Corporism: The Systemic Disease that Destroys Civilization."  
 
Huge corporations now control America's body politic by reason of their bald-faced purchases of the three branches of the American government and America's major media.  
 
by Ken Reiner: kreiner@earthlink.net

05/09/03: I view the continuing growth of corporate power and its despotic control of governments throughout the world, including our own, as a socio-economic disease.  While Mussolini and others named it "Fascism," I call it "Corporism" because that name better reveals its underlying institutional structure.  I would define Corporism as the domination of government and society by the emergence and power of the giant publicly-traded multinational corporations and financial institutions, organized in totalitarian hierarchies, which singly and in combinations buy or destroy their competitors, corrupt the politics of nations, and seize, hoard, and wield for themselves most of the wealth of the human race.

continued here:

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article3310.htm
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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2003, 12:32:42 pm »

Hi Max,

I read that article by Ken Reiner.  I won't say he arrived at the wrong conclusin.  I will say the article does not assist and it out of focus regarding modern history in the States and overseas.

First, it's not only public corporations involved in this symbiotic relationship with government.  Private ones also.  Cargill comes to mind.  Merrill, Lynch was a partnership until the very end.  There are many other private corps.

US multinational corps did not always "impoverish their overseas markets".  Juan Tripp's Pan Am World Airways (it was not a missionary branch of a church) allowed for more economic development than impoverishment.  Look at General Electric, Westinghouse, Bethelem Steel, Winchester, Bell Telephone, RCA, Johnson and Johnson.

Until very recently in US history, a machine, say a submersible pump, with the high relief imprint of "Made in U.S.A." was all the advertising needed to guarantee an export sale.  Allthis has since changed but Ken Reiner does not address the real issues and the actual history.

The US military budget being larger than the next 14 military budgets of the world is misleading - I do not think Reiner is trying to mislead-and avoiding the sensitive material.  A large portion of the military payroll is disguised unemployment. A very large portion is corporate welfare.  A good-sized segment is political payoffs.  A shipyard there demands an aircraft maintaince facility here.

US oil policy cannot be "renounced" without construction of nuclear electric generating power plants like the Chinese and Japanese are doing.  Thank the same oil lobby via their environmental wacko surrogates keeping the issue on the back burner.  I mentioned at this site the vessel NS Savannah.

It is not correct and it is racial incitement to say "..the system that was designed to enfrancise only propertied white males." From 1903 until 1946, Filipino nationals with wealth had near complete economic and political mobility in the US (near; could not marry whites in California).

Corps don't acquire corps via "junk bond financing",  Junk bonds are rally junk equity.  

Small businesses weren't doomed by large businesses.  There's more to it.  The medical profession is running a cartel.  That's the major reason for current problems.  Overseas slave and child labor can get traced to US labor unions and their allies in management and government.  Here, also, there's more to it.

Enron's illegal transactions were not legal - and they were known.  Don't allow blame to be placed where it's not warranted.  Place it where it really belongs.

The market place is not deregulated.  It is REregulated.  

The telephone directory service should never have been free.  It really wasn't but don't tell an engineer/inventor this.  

Workers in China earn much more than 15 cents an hour even at the time of the document.

I write all the above not to practice my typing but to allow thread participants to think how we'd fare if we walked into a meeting room at a hotel in New Hampshire or Montana or Wyoming, and relied on the material of Ken Reiner.

1.  Could the material be challenged by eg management at the shipyard in Portsmouth, NH ?

2.  Could the material be challenged by a farm group in Montana?

3.  Could the material be challenged by a mining syndicate in Wyoming?

There is a lot more to the author's resulting conclusion.

We no longer live in the world of last year or last decade.  Corporations were getting more powerful for reasons well beyond the Reiner reasoning.  All the European countries increased the size of the corps.  So too in Asia.

There is a lot more to work on.  The nicest antagonists will avoid confrontations and just ask for solutions.  That's the hard part.

We've got a lot of work to do.

BobW  
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Aaron

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2003, 02:54:25 pm »

Bob,

I skimmed the article by Mr. Reiner, and I have to agree with you on several of your points, but not all.  Like you, I see no difference in effect between a public and a private corporation.  Maybe it is easier for a public company to be owned by another company since it is vulnerable to a hostile takeover, but that is about it.

I also agree with you that is is disingenious to make blanket statements such as all multinational corporations exploit the third world.  Corporations are like politicians.  While I harbor a serious disdain for most, there are always exceptions.  And while this may be a hair splitting distinction, it gives legitimacy to your conclusion.  His caustic style and factual errors make the document rather useless.

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US oil policy cannot be "renounced" without construction of nuclear electric generating power plants like the Chinese and Japanese are doing.

Not so.  Jack Herer's, The Emporer Wears No Clothes outlines how hemp for fuel could provide an environmentally sustainable form of energy that would not only replace dependence on foreign oil, but would revitalize America's greatest natural resource, agriculture.  See also the thread in the business section about biodeisel production.


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Enron's illegal transactions were not legal - and they were known.  Don't allow blame to be placed where it's not warranted.  Place it where it really belongs.

According to one of the fringe elements on this forum, the 16th amendment was never properly ratified and is not legal as well.  So what?  As long as the agents of government BEHAVE as if it were legal, the distinction is irrelevant.  There is plenty of blame to go around for the Enron debacle, but the reason I brought up Enron earlier in this thread is because the ability for corporations to own other corporations facilitated Enron's ability to use generally acceptable accounting practices to defraud so many; more so than any other single factor.

And since I'm on the subject of corporations owning others:

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Still, how could a US corp survive with the restrictions mentioned.  The new British East India Companies are multiindustry, vertically and sometimes horizontally intergrated, heavily protected by local laws, subsidized by government and held to looser type legal standards... If a US corp could not own a corp, they'd be uncompetitive.  

Any MBAs out there who can help this Starbucks barista who flunked out of school understand  this one?  I fail to see how this prevents competition.  If I grow some tea in my back yard, I bet you I could sell it for less than 4.95 a box at the local market and thus be pretty good competition for Tazo, a Starbucks subsidiary.  If this is too small fry of an example, how about Tucker's automobiles?  He could have competed with Detroit if the big three hadn't had their political cronies legislate him out of existence.

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Somewhere here in one of my posts, I mentioned C. Itoh (USA) Ltd, (believe of Gardena, Calif) .  It's a US corp with an obvious Japanese parent.  

As a US corporation, I would propose (as did Jefferson) that it not be allowed to be owned by another corporation.  At the very least, it should not have the same bundle of rights as a flesh and blood human being.  How the British and the Japanese regulate their corporations is their business.  The fact that some of them may be able to produce goods at a lower cost than others does not persuade me to accept a protectionist position any more than I favor protective tariffs.

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Small businesses weren't doomed by large businesses.  

I agree.

It is not horizontal and vertical integration per se that worries me.  It is the propensity of these gargantuan conglomerates to purchase puppets in the legislature and instruct them to legislate their competition out of existence, or look the other way as their goons use baseball bats as negotiating tools with their workers' unions.  (BTW, I am not pro union.  I don't think unions should use legislative puppets to further their interests either.)  

Also, horizontal integration is usually an illusion because of the principle of ever advancing technology.  Corner the market on merchant shipping and someone will build a railroad.  Corner the market on railroads, and someone will build an automobile.  Corner the trucking industry and airplanes will be built.  This pattern happens in many so called "economies of scale":  print media>radio>broadcast television>cable tv>satellite tv>internet, dial-up internet service>DSL>cable internet>satellite internet service.  There is even a company offering flat rate unlimited local and long distance telephone service via your broadband internet connection.   These so called monopolies do not need to be broken up by legislation.  Their dominant market share is temporary.  And the higher they raise their prices to profit off their market dominance, the more incentive there is to develop technological innovations to compete.

 
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2003, 01:53:37 am »

Hi Aaron,

Whether it's the oil lobby or the farm lobby, the issues become somewhat the same.  I don't know that much about hemp as a fuel. Do remember, however, that the biggest national, public scandal before Watergate was "Teapot Dome", a Naval Petroleum Reserve at Teapot Dome, Wyoming.

At issue for our purposes, after you and I exhaust ourselves on the R&D concerning these fields for a policy plank, is what can "sell"? It's a big issue and a big field.  If you and I did not have teams of support staff, we'd lose before even walking into the meeting room with those tables seating 10 per table.

The former Enron is not the big headache on the scene.  It just made the news because of the size of the bankruptcy and the many innocents who went down with the collapse.  There was nothing too shocking going on.  Exxon, General Electric and Westinghouse own more corps than what the public knows about.

Competition can be prevented by predatory pricing.  Predatory pricing is a function of size.  Large size is acceptable in Asia and Europe.  Royal Dutch Shell grew when Esso was split.  Bank Indo China grew while US banks stopped at the state line (until recently).  

Yes, the tea and Tucker car examples are too small.  The biggest US companies with USG support are frequently still too small to compete.  I'm thinking of Boeing here.  Witness JP Morgan joining with Chase.  I'm not talking about 2 petty cash accounts.

It IS the business and grave concern on how British and Japanese and Russian and Chinese, et al, run their regulations for business.  This is the competition.  In many cases foreign corporations are bigger and better than US corporations.  

It is next to impossible for US companies to corner any markets in today's world scene.  This is because of STCs - State Trading Companies.  Can your tea company compete with China National Tea Company?  Chinese companies are prepared to import a car similiar to the first Honda Civic, into Oakland and Jacksonville for approximately US$2,000 ,less tax and tariff fees.  Huge economies of scale, efficiencies, high productivity, etc are displayed.  I was told the MPG was excellent.

Soon US pharmaceudical companies will come under severe attack.  It's going to get interesting.

Note that the terms "Wall Street" meant the finance market.  "Detriot" meant the car industry.  Iowa was the state where VP Nixon took Khurschev to for a display of US farming.  Southern California was the home of aviation.  During World War II, sleepy Savannah, Georgia was producing 1 Liberty ship per week - per WEEK!

All the above has changed.

BobW  
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BobW

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2003, 03:03:48 am »

Hi Aaron,

I just skimmed through that biodiesel link.

What hit me cold was the example of soybean use, with soybeans grown by 400,000 farmers in 29 states.

If you prepare a financial report with correct cost allocations, you might see that this program is more costly than presented.

As an aside (although it really isn't) check out why the US Department of Agriculture lost it's commodity futures trading division to the new independent Commodities Futures Trading Corporation.

Now, not as an aside, check out the PL-480 program "Food For Peace".  This is the near equivilant of the old oil depletion allowance.

I glanced at a few of the industry specific sections at the site; marine transport, mining., electric generation.

Biodiesel is not competitive with the new technologies soon to be used.  This I say from an economic perspective.  From a political perspective, it is nowhere close.

America's greatest natural resource is definitely NOT agriculture.  

Now, after reading the thread (actually just skimmed), why is diesel fuel taxed for road transport and not taxed for farm use?  Something is going on and I'm guessing some Senators do not have the same environmental concerns you have.  There might be something more to this tax exemption.  

BobW
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Steve

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Re:Corporation's in a free state
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2003, 05:00:07 am »

I've never understood this anti-corporate hysteria.  Sure, they do a lot of bad things, but so do a lot of individual people.  They also do a lot of good things.  A lot of us work in them.  They haven't taken over the world; most people still work in small companies.  Sure, they buy influence and are behind a lot of rotten, unfair laws that have bloated our system.  But there are many other groups behind rotten unfair laws.  Lots of small people can band together into large organizations and wield similarly unfair influence, witness the AARP.  In Germany, where I just lived for six years, small store owners have managed to keep it illegal to shop after 4pm on Saturday until 9am Monday.

We libertarians should be neutral in our struggle to limit power.  I don't have anything against corporations any more than I do against the old people who are members of the AARP.  It is when they turn to the dark side that we have to oppose them.

Here's a libertarian solution: end the government-enforced monopoly known as "intellectual property".  This oxymoron underlies many of your hated corporations, e.g. Microsoft.
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