Corporate Dictatorship?

By Dawes, Milton | ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, July 2010 | Go to article overview
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Corporate Dictatorship?


Dawes, Milton, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics


As trusts or groups have replaced the theoretically "individual"capitalism in the United States of America, so will the state capitalism, replace the trusts, to be replaced in its turn by international capitalism. (1) As we learned lately, not only human achievements, but also human disasters, are mostly interrelated and international, and are becoming more so every year.Obviously with Aristotelian narrowness,selfishness, shortsightedness, infantilism, commercialism, militarism, nationalism, etc., rampant, mankind, to prevent further major Aristotelian disasters, would have to produce a special international body which would coordinate various structural achievements, strivings, etc., formulate and inform the great masses of the modern scientific non-Aristotelian standards of evaluation. (2)

--Alfred Korzybski

The above predictions, anthropological overview, and suggested interventions were made by Alfred Korzybski--the founder of the system "general semantics"--over 75 years ago.

A General Semantics Approach to Understanding Corporations and Society

Applying some general semantics principles, and a "calculus approach" (in terms of recognizing trends), I make this prediction: If Americans do not exercise care (through appropriate and effective regulations, promotion of ethical principles, human and socio-cultural values, etc.), they will wake up one day to discover that the nation has become a "corporate dictatorship." The nation is already moving in that direction. The clues are there, but not yet recognized by many as such. (3)

A corporate dictatorship is quite unlike a political dictatorship. In a political dictatorship, an individual with his (usually a he) accomplices takes over the country--violently, if necessary. Ironically, in a corporate dictatorship, the people (not all, but enough) and their elected representatives (not all, but enough) help corporations--gently and without fanfare--accomplish the takeover.

Clues

People and their representatives help toward the takeover in this manner (among others):

* Politicians (not all, but enough) invite agents of corporations to help design and make the laws of the country. (Thinking in terms of the general semantics principle "structural similarity," corporations, like individuals, can [in terms of their survival and expansion] be expected to act in ways they think will promote their own self-interests and welfare. They will endeavor to introduce terms, modifications, etc., and, in effect, design laws based on these concerns.)

* Politicians help the takeover by giving power to corporations by accepting their campaign contributions and giving audience to their lobbying agents. (If one party refuses contributions [and refuses to see lobbyists], and the other accepts contributions, the accepting party will have an advantage over the one that refused. So politicians [no matter which party] accept contributions and, by so doing, give power to corporations. Despite denials by many politicians that lobbyists do not influence their decisions, one can make a reasonable inference that if lobbying was not productive, or considered productive, corporations would see this as a grand waste of time and desist.)

* The tendency for different government agencies to operate as fiefdoms in competition with each other makes it easier for corporations, big business interests, and others, to gain advantage by playing one against the other.

* Politicians (keep in mind, "not all, but enough") move back and forth from corporations to political positions. (Being humans, I assume that politicians will find it difficult to deal harshly with former, and possibly future, colleagues and friends.)

* The people's representatives introduce laws that seem to minimally regulate corporate socially irresponsible behavior, and sometimes behaviors harmful to people's interests. This is based on a (stated) financial worldview that "corporations will regulate themselves, and the market will take care of itself"; fear of being perceived as "over regulating"; fear of the word "socialism", and so on.

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