Saturday, June 14, 2008

Barak Obama and the American Corporatist Empire

In his 1995 book "When Corporations Rule The World," economist David Korten spelled out in painstaking detail the global ascent of multi-national corporations to levels of power and influence unrivaled by any previous power in human history.

Marry this power to to apparatus of state, and you not only have Mussolini's definition of fascism, you have a force that ultimately is the antithesis of all things good about democracy.
The toxic influence of the corporate agenda on our own democracy is evident to anyone who willing to open their eyes. Our media is controlled by a meager handful of huge corporate interests. K Street lobbyists jostle for face time with legislators on both side of the aisle. And candidate John McCain fills his campaign staff with dozens of "former" lobbyists.

The Bush-Cheney era has extended the degree of largess afforded corporate interests, appreciably advanced during the Reagan era and only marginally decelerated during Bill Clinton's 2 terms, to an obscene level, where oil companies set energy policy, banks draft legislation on credit card and personal bankruptcy policy, and insurance companies finesse national health policies.

Those of us supporting Barak Obama believe he is our best (and possibly last) hope to turn around a system that puts corporate interests above people. But as Naomi Klein points out in the Nation, no sooner does he clinch the nomination then does he begin the back-pedaling from any rhetoric that might be conceived as populist (a word, by the way, which has become synonymous in our skewed culture with socialism).

Obama's appointment of boy wonder Jason Thurman to head his economic team is worrisome. As Klein writes, "Furman is one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, anointing the company a 'progressive success story.'"
If you, like me, believe "free market" cannot be divorced from fair market, and unbridled capitalism requires regulatory oversight, these hints of laissez-faire from the purveyor of "hope" and "change" is a locus of concern.

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