Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

tem. We still have a tax system, a monetary policy, an employment policy, and a trade policy that are barely adequate for controlling national firms at a time when big business has gone global. There has thus developed a structural lag between the public and private sectors of our social system. The very machinery of government, whoever operates it, is currently inadequate to cope with the globalization of Big Business. As we shall see, the government planners do not have enough knowledge about the activities of global corporations to make the crucial planning decisions for the society. Thus the managers of the corporations have become the principal planners for the society by default.

It has been a persistent theme of this book that knowledge is the critical component of power. In Latin America, as we saw, global companies are able to build their power and, at an accelerating rate, to neutralize government control because their near monopoly of the technologies of production, finance, and marketing permits them to elude government's relatively feeble efforts to regulate them. The same power that enables corporations in Latin America to conceal their ownership, plans, and intracorporate dealings and hence frustrate government control over them operates also in the United States. It is one key structural reason, in our view, why the world's richest society is looking more and more like an underdeveloped country.

Existing disclosure requirements are hopelessly inadequate to permit government to exercise power over global corporations. In March 1972, to give one example, Senator Lee Metcalf attempted to obtain from the Securities and Exchange Commission a list of the largest shareholders of what are probably the two most strategic companies in the American economy, GM and Exxon, and was told that the Commission did not have that information. When the Senator wrote the companies directly, he was told that the information was "privileged and confidential." The U.S. Government now has no way of knowing how and by whom the largest corporations in the country are controlled.

But the business-government interlock has been so strong that controlling the misuse of corporate power has been something less than an obsession. The dominant role of Big Business in both political parties, the financial holdings of certain key members of Congress, the ownership of the mass media, the industry-government shuttle in the regulatory agencies, and, most important, the ideology prevailing throughout the society of salvation through profits and growth all help to explain why the government of the world's mightiest nation musters so little power to protect the interests of its people.


Socialist

James O'Connor. International corporations and economic underdevelopment.


I

United States, European, and Japanese international corporations presently own or directly control between 20 and 30 per cent of the monetized resources in the underdeveloped countries (including Canada). Indirect control of local capital in Asia, Latin America, and Africa is equally pervasive: the mobilization of local capital,1 control of subcontractors and other suppliers, "management contracts" which afford foreign capital day-to-day control of joint ventures,2 and licensing agreements which restrict the use of technology by prohibiting "fundamental investigation and research"3 extend the sway of foreign capital still further, and multiply the quantitative impact of the international corporations on the misutilization of resources abroad.

The general reasons for the expansion of foreign capital during the 1950s and 1960s, especially capital organized by the giant United States international corporations, are

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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