Tag Archive: corporations

This will be a shorter entry about these topics than I normally write for a variety of reasons, the largest of which is because people better qualified than I are speaking to these issues and probably have more intellectual street cred.

First, I think everyone can agree that there are some serious flaws in our government systems.  Yes it’s relatively stable, but it can be inefficient, grid-locked, and maddeningly nonprogressive.  Perhaps that’s better than revolutions, revolts, or even changing parliamentary coalitions, but that’s not my point today.

The United States is in the midst of an economic crisis—and I use that word quite deliberately.  We have issues we need to address and they go far beyond the quagmire of partisan politics we see and hear every day.  Both sides are to blame, despite their hyperbolic claims.

This article is written by an economic expert who has covered national finances for 20 years whose main point is that political groups are putting their interests above the greater good of the country and are weakening the nation as a result.

George Friedman has been in the intelligence business for some 20 years and is an expert on geopolitics—the forces that govern our interconnected world.  His article compares three economic crises (the US, Europe, and China) and the political antecedents and reactions to these crises.  He warns that politics and the economy are intimately linked, and can feed each other into a viscous cycle until one of them breaks.

Warren Buffet is the third richest person in the world ($50+ billion) and he argues that Congress should stop coddling the rich.  If he sees the sense in increased revenue sources for the government, maybe we should listen to him.

Not the all corporations are the boogey man, but something needs to be done about their influence and power in controlling the nation’s interest.  Not only did the Supreme Court equate corporations to people (and granting them the protections and privileges that that entails), but, in the same ruling (Citizens United v. FEC), the Court also ruled to remove limitations on “soft” money from political campaigns (soft money is a loop hole allowing massive contributions to support federal candidates in a slightly round-about way).  By the way, the cost of the 2012 presidential election is expected to reach $1 billion.  And for all you parents out there, this article describes the detrimental effects corporations have on our children, from targeted advertising to toxic contamination.

Finally, if we can get past our partisan politics, Mickey Edwards, a former member of Congress, describes how we can all get back on the bandwagon to fixing our country in 6 manageable steps.  Since he’s been there and seen the problems, again, we might want to listen to him.

I hope you take the time to read these articles and think about these issues. The country’s fate is in our hands because we, the people, elect those who represent us and make the decisions that will put the United States on the road to recovery, or keep it on the tracks to a fading world power.

I was listening to NPR the other day, and they had a piece on the proliferation of caffeine drinks (like Red Bull) and their counterparts (such as Mary Jane’s Soda).  We have unfettered access to drinks that provide us with a boost of energy (uppers) and, if things are too stressful or we just need to chill, there are drinks to calm our nerves (downers, or soma as I’d call it).  It seems to me that this can only be playing havoc on our bodies and metabolisms.

Hopefully I’m not the only one to see a problem with this legal, mass-infusion of chemical substances (i.e. drugs) into our society.  Whatever happened to proper diet and exercise to maintain our levels of energy?

We seem to be undergoing a slow and insidious lifestyle change that involves reliance on technology, attention spans dwindling to the length of a tweet (and its accompanying text speak), and dependence on fad food items to adjust our energy or weight.  And all of these are brought to us by corporations, 95% of which do not have their consumers’ best interest as their number one priority (IMHO).

No, I’m not proposing that there’s a corporate cabal secretly trying to control every aspect of our life (it’s not that secret).  However, I do have concerns about massive corporate conglomerates (public and private) that have worrisome levels of commercial and political power resulting from their billions in revenue.  (Again, the top companies don’t even pay much—if any—taxes).

Sure, the free market can be a good thing as it fosters competition, innovation, and allows entrepreneurs to write a success story.  But oversight is needed to prevent that market from creating a veritable army of Frankenstein’s monsters (albeit monsters with a slick advertising campaign).

Of course, I would also argue that consumers need to make critical, informed choices about the products they buy.  With the proliferation of information and easy access (brought to us by some of those same tech corporations), we are able to do just that.  But it still takes effort (and in some cases sacrifices) to live a more unfettered life—if you want to.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Supernatural (CW -> Time Warner) while eating my Half-Baked Fro Yo (Ben & Jerry’s -> Heartbrand -> Unilever).