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December 28, 2007 / Mridul

America, A Hostage To The Greedy Corporate Giants?

Capitalism generally refers to an economic and social system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as “legal persons” or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money.

[Wikipedia]

Does that mean making profits at the expense of common people, at the expense of social well welfare?

These “legal persons” or corporations have no right to influence matters of social welfare & governance. But the big corporate in the US are doing exactly that. Why these privately owned companies should be allowed to ‘buy stakes’ in the government? Why should their money be allowed to influence the policies of the government? Is the government to be blamed since these businessmen only mean ‘business’? These businessmen have infiltrated the government to such a level that the national interest seems to be the last thing in their minds.

Why is it so that that only a few companies are allowed to bid for the reconstruction work in Iraq & Afghanistan? These companies have either contributed to the Democrats or the Republicans in the recent past – with some contributions amounting up to a million dollars. [Rebuilding Iraq — The Contractors]

Isn’t it an ‘auction’ of the government policies? Doesn’t that mean that the government would listen to the one with the greatest wealth? Why should they the social welfare of the people be a hostage to the greedy intentions of these corporations?

Why was the decision to block California’s attempt to impose tough emission limits on car manufacturers taken even when the experts from the Environment Protection Agency were in favor of it? Why did EPA’s chief Stephen Johnson overrule his experts’ advice even though there was nothing wrong with proposal submitted by California?

EPA staff members told the Los Angeles Times that the agency’s head, the Bush appointee Stephen Johnson, ignored their conclusions and shut himself off from consultation in the month before the announcement. He then informed them of his decision and instructed them to provide the legal rationale for it, they said.

“California met every criteria … on the merits,” an anonymous member of the EPA staff told the Times. “The same criteria we have used for the last 40 years … We told him that. All the briefings we have given him laid out the facts.”

The reason – car representatives met Vice President Dick Cheney to put forward their case as to why California shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead with it plan to tough emission limits. Cheney accused of blocking Californian bid to cut car fumes

The tragic death of seventeen year-old Nataline Sarkisyan is another example of common man being crushed under the greedy ambitions of these corporations. These industries only like to see their profits swelling, social welfare isn’t a priority to them. Then why are these companies being allowed to carry on with their businesses? Why these companies aren’t forced to be responsible to the common man, to the voter in addition to their stakeholders?

Capitalism was meant to create a free market, a system in which the power isn’t concentrated in the hands of a few. But today the real power to make, alter & manipulate government policies lies in the hand of a few wealthy people who put their materialistic aspirations ahead of the social wellbeing of the common man. The question here isn’t about the usefulness or success of Capitalism but about the effects it has on democracies when the wrong people are given the power to use it as a tool for their personal gains.

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