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View Diary: Article in The Atlantic Magazine Restores My Hope in The Progressive Movement (128 comments)

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  •  It is all about choices (27+ / 0-)

    Making corporations make the right choices is hard as hell, ase we all know.  Yet I must agree that the CHANGE is coming about because progressives and those that don't even yet know they are the new progressives are standing up and saying enough of this one sided policy!

    Choices are a good thing

    •  Actually Changing Corporate Behavior (44+ / 0-)

      will probably be much easier than most would think.  Corporate culture is far less ideological than risk-averse.  One doesn't advance within the corporate world by exposing their organizations to short term risk or courting controversy.  The corporate world has its mythological pantheon of bold risk takers, but the reality is the near diametric opposite- the system is built on a tremulous fear of risks and potential downsides.                                    

      The people in the boardrooms are largely fear motivated as of course most people at the top of any hierarchical structure are.  They project an image of serene Olympian detached indifference, but they of course have the most to lose and this vulnerability once recognized naturally points to effective tools to influence and control them.

      We at the bottom of the heap once we have identified a collective interest and coalesced around it actually have an enormous potential to influence the process.

      Oddly, the democratic political process is far more difficult to turn to the peoples' will than the corporate world.  Here's where the capture of the legislative process by corporate interests can actually be used to promote popular progressive policies. Whereas the legacy political parties have little incentive to respond to popular pressure- as a duopoly they know the body politic has no real leverage to move them, they can always play our fear of the other half of the duopoly and exclude from debate all policy that lies outside the considerable shared ideological consensus.  The legacy parties can ignore us and point to the other half and tell us, "Our way or theirs, your choice".  Once you realize the game it becomes obvious why policies that enjoy broad popular support repeatedly never go anywhere within the legislative process; the system is painstakingly constructed to limit the input of the voters on the process.  But they've left a weak spot exposed in their shadowy underbelly and that is the corruption of the process by structural corporate influence and in so doing have left a back door for direct democracy outside the limits the duopoly wants to draw on policy debate.

      Who'd have thought the corruption of government by corporate influence could be used as a tool of advancing progressive policy when the political process has been built to make such advocacy ineffective?  But that's where we are.  We have precious little leverage to act directly on  the political process through the existing parties, but we have tremendous leverage to influence the corporate puppet masters who steer the same political process from the shadows.

      The politicians can safely ignore us; the corporate chieftains who hold the politicians captive cannot. Our best prospects for influencing the process are by bending its corruption to our ends. What a strange country we live in.    

      Advisors for President-Elect Barack Obama feared the new administration would face a coup if it prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a new report out this morning.

      by Kurt Sperry on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:40:03 AM PDT

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      •  Kurt - I am surprised that ALEC (7+ / 0-)

        hasn't already taken down all their members and sponsors off their website. Does ALEC have any legal obligation to disclose it's sponsors?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 08:00:31 AM PDT

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      •  Many corporations are quite progressive in (0+ / 0-)

        the area of gay rights.  They have been willing to oppose some of the DOMA type of activity.  Maybe that is another point of leverage.  Big corporations often do not like having to deal with different laws  in every state and prefer national legislation on trade and employee related subjects.

        “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

        by ahumbleopinion on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 02:28:24 PM PDT

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      •  Yes, Kurt Sperry! (12+ / 0-)

                  What a wonderful surprise--power!  The people have not been aware of the tremendous leverage they have to influence corporations and require their proper behavior in areas like privacy, security, freedom, respect, honesty, and so on--things that are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

                    The people power in this matter arises from the fact that society allows corporations to exist and to have special privileges in return for benefits that society gets from the corp.  If the corp. becomes a detriment to society, that special permission can be withdrawn, either through political or economic means, (e.g. legislation or boycott).

                    The purpose of a corporation is to make a profit for its shareholders, and to survive.  Corporations have no intrinsic humanistic values; they make decisions on the basis of what generates profit and promotes corporate survival.   (Individual owners of the corporation may express their humanistic values via the corporation, but that's optional.)

                    Knowing that Corporations lack human values, such as compassion, love, conscience, honesty, EXCEPT insofar as necessary to give an appearance of having them for purposes of corporate survival,  it becomes our civic duty to guide corporations toward humanistic behavior.  We have been pleasantly surprised at how responsive they are to our good influence.  Kurt Sperry makes the excellent observation that our influence on corporations could be our best path to regaining control of government.

                     I make no judgement about the morality of corporations.  They have none--it is not built into their "legal DNA".  We could require morality to be incorporated into their governing documents like Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics were built into the operating systems of the robots in his fictional future world.  

                     But, until we change the laws, corporations will operate and move among us like a robot that is not required to discern whether it is stepping on a brick or a baby.  And until that time, we must actively guide corporations in directions that are good for society.  They should cooperate with our guidance because their need to survive IS hard-wired in their corporate DNA.

        Bush hijacked the US with lies about 9/11 and crashed it into Iraq, killing over 500,000 human beings. So far, he's avoided arrest and prosecution.

        by Zydekos on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 03:39:08 PM PDT

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        •  That's a very insightful comment. Thanks. n/t (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zydekos, davekro, Angie in WA State, melo
          •  Thanks Ray! (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Angie in WA State, jjellin, melo, chipmo

                I've been alarmed at the growing power of corporations for a while.  I even wrote a diary on the subject last June.  

                 I didn't have any good solutions in mind until I read  Sperry's comment.  That gives me hope.  Now I'm headed over to read the article in Atlantic that you said gave you hope.  These days, I need all the hope I can get.

                 I see a potentially big problem in regulating the power of giant multinational corporations.  Since they are not chartered within a community, they lack the constraints of a society around them that could revoke their charter if they become offensive to public morality.  

            Bush hijacked the US with lies about 9/11 and crashed it into Iraq, killing over 500,000 human beings. So far, he's avoided arrest and prosecution.

            by Zydekos on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 04:08:04 PM PDT

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            •  that is why the countries (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Zydekos

              that have big markets must come together to get them under control. Sadly they control the countries and the markets.

              Join the War on Thinking. Watch Fox News- John Lucas

              by Jlukes on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:52:51 AM PDT

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