BP and corporations

We’ve been talking about a lot of things, and I’m hoping this will be the first of a few short posts addressing some of the issues (time will tell; depends how much Christmas stuff I get done).
Jim, you have said I have been very anti-business lately, and perhaps I have in that I have only written about problems I see, and not the many good businesses and business practices out there. So I wanted to clarify my view of business and capitalism.
The vast majority of companies I believe are good and try to do right by their employees and try to be good corporate citizens in their communities (that’s especially true of the corporations that are employee owned, the kind of company where 13 million Americans now work). And there are a few very bad players on the huge corporate level, and they have enormous power and require us to keep an eye on them and to fight them when necessary. BP is a case in point. And the “big” fine they just received was really nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Estimates are it still covered barely a tenth of the actual cost, and none of the BP executives will do jail time, and you can bet the top dogs will come out just fine financially as well.
I don’t spend time talking about good companies, because that takes care of itself. I try to focus where there is a problem, and that is with the few really bad big corporate players like BP. And by “few” I don’t mean there are only 3 or 4. There are a lot, and they are still the minority among all companies.
I just want to be clear that I’m not anti-business; I’m anti corporations being big and powerful enough to rig the game in their favor so that they can bypass true competition and thus in effect really bypass capitalism.
I don’t think corporate consolidation is a good thing. In the early 80s, about 50 media companies owned more than half our media. Today just six companies control more than half the media we have, and that has greatly reduced the variety of voices and opinions that make it into the wider public marketplace, and that is not good for democracy. And now Obama’s FCC is looking like they’re ready to grant Rupert Murdoch and exception and let him purchase the Chicago Tribune (the exception being to allow him to own multiple newspapers and television stations in the same market, which has long been limited), further reducing the field. Bush tried to do this, and the public outcry stopped it. Under Obama the FCC is doing it in secret and not holding public meetings as Bush’s FCC did.
The old joke that soon every restaurant will be a Starbucks and there will only be one bank isn’t as far off as it should be.


About JP

We're two guys who met in college, in 1980. We've stayed in touch, and like to talk politics, current events, music and religion. JP is nore liberal than Sid, but not in every way. We figure that dialogue stimulates ideas, moderates perspective, and is in general friendly. These are things we need badly in these dangerous times. The blog name is taken from a song by Bruce Cockburn.
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