May 052010
 
Authors: Wade McManus

Throughout the semester, my column has repeatedly exposed the abusive power of large business and corrupt corporations. In my final column, I conclude by discussing the largest problem that faces America. This is not just a problem facing America but a problem facing our generation and the entire world.

American politics no longer reflects a democratic society or even a communist dictatorship. American politics can now be defined as corporate socialism, or more accurately, corporatism. Multinational corporations have intruded into every aspect of our lives.

They have entered and directed our thoughts through corporate media, deciding what we should know, what we should not know and how we should think about an issue. There is no such thing as objectivity in mainstream American media, but only ideological propaganda meant to mold the public view to fit polarized extremes.

Corporations have bought our votes and undermined the voting power of those who dissent. Most of the political advertisements that barrage us during election season don’t come from the campaigns themselves, but from interested industries and corporations. They advocate for pro-business politicians who will cater to their interests and disregard public opinion and the interest of the masses.

Once elected, the business interests buy our politicians. To ensure compliance, and to secure a favor or two, private corporations donate absurd amounts of funds. They send a clear message that a victory relies on their support, and noncompliance will result in their loss next election.

Our politicians represent the interest of those cutting checks, and not their constituents. The voice of public opinion has been reduced to a whisper, drowned out by the loudspeaker of corporate interests.

Earlier this semester, the Supreme Court implicitly endorsed this line of buy-and-sell politics. In the interest of big businesses and economic elites they removed campaign donation limits.

This was supposedly done as a protection of the freedom of speech. But what this will do is increase the influence of big business on our elections, and to silence the voice of individuals.

When crucial legislation is introduced in the halls of Congress, big business and corporations unleash an army of lobbyists. During the health care reform debate there were more lobbyists trolling the halls than there were legislators.

They ensure that any legislation passed would include benefits and handouts for big business. This was seen during the financial reform, and when President Barack Obama raised the issue of nationalized health care, the people still walked away as the losers.

The new health care bill didn’t pass in the interest of the American people, but in the interest of the insurance companies. Public option clauses were omitted while we guaranteed a market to the insurance industry. We assured that our money would flow to the insurance companies.

One of the most perverse outcomes of corporatism is the revolving door from the CEO boardrooms to regulatory agencies. Ex-bankers are regulating their old business friends and the financial industry. Oil gurus create environmental standards as directors of the Environmental Protection Agency. There is a clear conflict of interest here.

The greedy mishandling of politics is not isolated to America. Multinationals have become the global governing system. They manipulate governments and undermine sovereignty with the unchecked ability to mobilize capital and operations.

In some cases, exemplified by Chiquita Fruit Company’s alleged funding of a left-wing guerilla group, FARC, in Columbia and its involvement in overthrowing Guatemala’s democratically elected government in 1954, they have funded the illegal removal of legitimate governments. Governments bent on nationalism and isolationism have been violently displaced and replaced by pro-business dictatorships.

With the help of neoliberal institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, they have dismantled public services and installed for-profit businesses. In many places, water systems and hospitals are no longer owned by the people, nor operate in the interest of the masses. They are operated to maximize profit of shareholders half a world away.

The biggest threat our generation faces is corporate fascism. We are entering a world were big business and corrupt corporations have the final say while our own interest are silenced. We face a world run by corporate elite.

Wade McManus is a political science major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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