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Forget More Regulation: Make Corporations Serve the Public Interest


Forget More Regulation: Make Corporations Serve the Public Interest

David Korten

My previous column called for a major restructuring of both governmental and corporate institutions to strengthen democracy and subordinate corporate power and the pursuit of corporate profits to the power and interests of living people and communities.


I support Korten.
It is fascinating to note that those who champion the free republic ideas are really arguing for the entitlement to continue the rule of the rich and powerful over the government and the people. Freedom to them means that democracy has no right to limit their behaviours in the public interest. Freedom means, "We have the right to rule and to unfair advantage".
Freedom is a difficult concept to address and unpack, but surely it is a no-brainer that corporate freedom can be antithetical to public freedom. We know where the democratic, public majority lies on this crucial issue.


We can remove the charters of their incorporation and turn their means of production to those who actually produce with their labor: the workers.


It all sounds just like what we need. So my question is how or who can wrest the power away from the corporations that already own congress and most of the judges. It's easy to point out what is needed but not so easy to make it happen when we don't have a democracy in this country.
Mr. Korten I like your views but don't see an answer to how?


How? How and who?


yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.


Yes indeed, as a previous comment by Dede asked: "How? How and who?"

I recently read David Korten's book - in fact a report to the Club of Rome, of which David is a member.

But how are these changes, which many of us agree need to be made - how are they to become reality - in this world, at this time?

I have yet to hear an answer from anyone on the planet which makes sense - or, to be fair, which stands a realistic chance of working in a timely and orderly manner, i.e., without resort to collapse, plague, famine and war.

JFK thought the United Nations our only realistic hope - and it is now clear to many Americans that this is not an approach favored by the powers that be.

Perhaps change of the sort required by the state of the planet and its politics can only come from an unexpected source?

A Black Swan in reverse, so to speak?

For myself, I feel that almost without exception, government at all three levels have lost legitimacy entirely. The police and the military are mostly in the 'protection racket', as Smedley Butler et al found out the hard way - after being part and parcel of 'business as usual' (see Andrew Bacevich's book, "Betrayal of Trust").

How I am growing to positively hate that term - "business as usual"!

As if the human being has nothing better to do than 'business', usual or otherwise.

I was repelled at this system even at the age of seventeen, in my first year at university, although I would not have been able at the time to explain this feeling.

Something was just all wrong about this - at a desk in school since the age of seven.

As Gibbon pointedly stated in his inimical style in "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire":

The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous."

We have even forgotten how to eat properly - and while this has impaired our bodies, it has almost certainly impaired our minds and feelings. When added to this our divorce from the natural world on a day to day basis, you have the recipe for what we have today - a race to Armageddon.

Can we have less pontification - for a start, and a more realistic discussion???


The first corporations were privateers, which were pirates hired by governments.

"The brief historical anomaly after WWII" was made possible by FDR's New Deal which, among other progressive actions, controlled corporations more than they had ever been controlled in the history of corporations.

By the 1970s corporations and their politicians started destroying New Deal regulations that had controlled corporations for decades. Saint Ronny's revolution in 1980, followed by the formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985 accelerated decriminalization (media calls it deregulation) of the New Deal controls, a trend that has not slowed down since and will pick up more speed after Obama signs his TPP.


Another blinkered view of capitalism and a forlorn hope that it can be made into something it cannot be. His plans are as just as futile as those right-wing libertarians. You cannot ignore 300 years of evolution.

The capitalist system is not broken. It is performing as it should -enriching the employing and possessing class.

Capitalism has to be replaced, you cannot reform it in any permanent way that benefits the people. It is founded and built upon the exploitation of workers and the extraction of surplus-value from the sweat and toil of workers.


David Korten hits the nail on the head as usual! But I'm surprised he didn't mention one simple change in the law that would quickly put an end to most of this nonsense: Eliminate limited liability. Once shareholders could be sued for the misdeeds of CEO's, they'd either start paying attention to their proxy's or (more likely) divest en-mass. That wouldn't put an end to privately held behemoths like Koch Industries, of course, so we'll also need to tax obscene wealth (and how!).


Everyone works for a living. It's sane and ethical compensation that is skewed wildly in favor of the hyper-monied. The latter are deluded by a modernized, romanticized version of a Miss Haversham feudalism. Feudalism is culturally and economically on life support by these spider-webbed and dust-encrusted notions of society and humanity. It's time to clear the cobwebs and vacuum out the dust. Miss Haversham died of her delusions.