The con artist of old we’ve stereo-typed as snake oil salespeople have evolved. They now wear $5000 suits and preach a self-serving message that captures our imagination of independence and prosperity. It’s appeal however outshines its limited reality. Only a few will achieve true financial freedom and prosperity. While we can still all share in the gains of those few by our labor, we are slowing being reduced to little more than grist for the meal for the oligarchs dressed in those $5000 suits.
Many voters will tell you they don’t vote because it doesn’t accomplish anything. And based on one scientific study they would have a legitimate complaint.
“ …economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”
To make matters worst these elites have been able to influence our legislators in various states to enact laws that make voting more restrictive for some. Especially those who might be critical of the crony capitalism that has taken over our representative form of government.
Both parties have contributed to this decrease in voter turnout and despair in under-representation, leading many to feel the system has abandoned them. And yet when those who still remain active in the polls do vote most, it appears, continue to vote for the very people who alienate them from the process.
I’m not ready to join that lot who refuses to vote. Not yet. That would satisfy the elites who have aided in creating this condition. But when people like me DO decide to stop participating in the democratic process, it’s because we realize it is no longer what it once was.
When resistance disappears from the system that allows the wealthiest to control policy in this country, then we return to a form of government that existed before the colonials rose up against the British royalty, where the fate of the nation rested in the hands of people whose primary concern was their own self-interests.
Succumbing to this however is not something the powerful elite should look forward to. When the last vestige of those who work fastidiously to fix what’s broken with our republican form of government find it easier to throw their lot in with the vigilante and militant groups that speak of revolution, Wall street better hope all of their money has built enough fortresses and hired enough security personal to protect them. Images of an American-style Syrian conflict arise with this scenario.
There was a time I think when both political parties seem to be guided by the principle that put the general welfare of the country over private special interests. But now the two surviving major parties appear to have lost sight of this ideal, becoming corrupted at some level by the neo-liberal view that holds free markets will solve all of our problems.
One Party in particular has taken this to such an extreme that they would divest us of our republican form of government and supplant it with the principles of capitalism. Republicans are convinced that any and all government should stay out of the affairs of the markets, allowing the magical, invisible hand to work its healing ways it’s claimed will benefit us all – eventually. It’s that “eventually” that I have a hard time with.
People engaged in actions that attract consumers know that their self-interests involve catering to the needs and wants which the market demands. If their product or the means of producing it repels the consumer they will have to make necessary changes or risk losing market share and at worst, going out of business.
Thus when polluters are confronted with public outrage they will stop polluting and find other ways to make their product. When children’s toys are discovered to be defective by the public, manufacturers will retool their machinery to correct the defect. The same with automobiles that explode in a crash. Or when scientists who work for the fossil fuel companies discover their product could contribute to a warmer climate, changes are made to correct these deficiencies.
Except that all of this is more a load of horse shit than it resembles a truth.
First off, by the time many businesses are willing to finally make changes the public demands, too many innocent people have needlessly died or suffered major physical harm, often long term.
Time after time people who are doing what’s in their best interests will not voluntarily change their ways if their product creates threats to human health and well-being, even when defects or serious problems are caught before being presented to the public for their consumption. Take the case of the Ford Pinto for example:
The Pinto’s design positioned its fuel tank between the rear axle and the rear bumper. In a crash, the filler neck could tear away from the tank, spilling fuel beneath the car. The tank itself could also be punctured by the protruding bolts of the differential.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated complaints about the Pinto’s fuel tank safety as early as 1974, taking action in 1977 — after an article in Mother Jones. The article claimed that Ford was aware of the design flaw, was unwilling to pay for a redesign, and decided it would be cheaper to pay off possible lawsuits. The magazine obtained a cost-benefit analysis that it incorrectly claimed Ford had used to compare the cost of repairs (Ford estimated the cost to be $11 per car) against the cost of settlements for deaths, injuries, and vehicle burnouts . SOURCE
And though the NHTSA could only validate 27 deaths connected to the defect as opposed to the hundreds claimed by other sources, the defenders of the Ford Pinto went to court to counter the bad press they were receiving. Their deep pockets were able to convince a California Supreme Court to rule in Ford’s favor. A decision that “not only tolerated manufacturers trading off safety for cost, but apparently encouraged manufacturers to consider such trade-offs.”
The chemical disaster in Bhopal, India is an even more egregious example of self-interests that sought to minimize threats to their profits while it increased risk to public safety. Sadly the Indian government turned its head to the unsafe measures being practiced at the Union Carbide Corporation’s chemical plant in Bhopal which ultimately led to the deaths of 3800 people an untold suffering for thousands more.
The number of deaths resulting from a failure of businesses to implement measures that guarantee best safety practices is staggering.
More than 100 people … die every day in the United States as a result of their work, according to the AFL-CIO. In 2011, about 4,693 workers were killed on the job, and 50,000 workers die every year from work-related diseases such as cancer. SOURCE