Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

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djadonis206
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Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:12 pm

Bear in mind that the government, at least in the US, has a monopoly on the use of force and violence. This single point of authority means that the government can compel anyone or any entity to do what they want.
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djadonis206
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:54 pm

What the IMF article is referring to is called capture theory. Where concentrated groups have the means and an incentive to coordinate themselves in such a way that they can effectively bend regulation to their benefit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

It's not just corporations that do this. Environmental and civil rights groups are notable examples.
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Bagatell
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by Bagatell » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:11 pm

Hard to tell the difference these days.

"Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU?"

http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

djadonis206
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:42 pm

The more homogenous a group is and the greater the impact a regulation will have on that group, the more likely they will organize themselves to bend the regulation in their favor.

Most government regulations impact large businesses. They have the means and incentive to lobby.

It's too costly to organize a lot of small businesses (500 employees or less). Plus, the impacts are so disperse, it's not worth it for small businesses or people to lobby the way big corporations do.
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djadonis206
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:44 pm

djadonis206 wrote:The more homogenous a group is and the greater the impact a regulation will have on that group, the more likely they will organize themselves to bend the regulation in their favor.

Most government regulations impact large businesses. They have the means and incentive to lobby.

It's too costly to organize a lot of small businesses (500 employees or less). Plus, the impacts are so disperse, it's not worth it for small businesses or people to lobby the way big corporations do.
Given this dynamic, I can see why some people think government and business are one in the same. I don't see it this way.
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UltimateOutsider
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by UltimateOutsider » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:17 pm

funken wrote:Corporations control the government, they created it, they own it, and they often are the same people.
This.

The number one thing that determines whether a politician gets elected (or re-elected) in the USA is campaign funds. Corporations have numerous ways to legally and semi-anonymously fund whomever they want in office (including judges), without caps! If you or I wanted to give our favorite candidate cash, there's a maximum we're allowed to legally donate, and it has to be reported- but companies don't have those restrictions any more. They likewise have mostly untraceable ways to fund attack ads (and even lawsuits) against candidates (and even sitting politicians) who don't support their causes. Oh, they also fund enormous propaganda campaigns that generally shape the way Americans think. It's the reason many Americans think tort reform is a good idea, for example.

Without the money they get from corporations, many of our politicians would have to help their constituents in order to further their political careers. Now all they need to do is make businesses happy.

Another pretty eye-opening documentary about this topic is Hot Coffee.

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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by knotkranky » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:34 pm

I'm much more afraid of corporations and everybody else should be too.

Voting and term limits is the key. That's a power you have with government and not with corporations.

It's scary enough that's it's an issue since it shouldn't be. People have to go with gov.

Regardless, they become 'one in the same' in congress. I mean, we just got ransacked a few years ago.

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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:45 pm

UltimateOutsider wrote:
funken wrote:Corporations control the government, they created it, they own it, and they often are the same people.
This.

The number one thing that determines whether a politician gets elected (or re-elected) in the USA is campaign funds. Corporations have numerous ways to legally and semi-anonymously fund whomever they want in office (including judges), without caps! If you or I wanted to give our favorite candidate cash, there's a maximum we're allowed to legally donate, and it has to be reported- but companies don't have those restrictions any more. They likewise have mostly untraceable ways to fund attack ads (and even lawsuits) against candidates (and even sitting politicians) who don't support their causes. Oh, they also fund enormous propaganda campaigns that generally shape the way Americans think. It's the reason many Americans think tort reform is a good idea, for example.

Without the money they get from corporations, many of our politicians would have to help their constituents in order to further their political careers. Now all they need to do is make businesses happy.
What you're talking about stems from the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission supreme court ruling. Just FYI, this ruling also applies to unions, not just corporations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_united
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Goddard
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by Goddard » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:32 pm

djadonis206 wrote:(...)the government, at least in the US, has a monopoly on the use of force and violence.(...)
Have you ever heard of Blackwater (a.k.a. Academi)?
The government, especially in the U.S. and A., is nothing but the corrupted tool of repression in the service for corporations.
Are you 12 y.o. to question this fact?
Amen
"Machines are the weapon employed by the capitalists to quell the revolt of specialized labor" Karl Marx

djadonis206
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:59 pm

Goddard wrote:
djadonis206 wrote:(...)the government, at least in the US, has a monopoly on the use of force and violence.(...)
Have you ever heard of Blackwater (a.k.a. Academi)?
The government, especially in the U.S. and A., is nothing but the corrupted tool of repression in the service for corporations.
Are you 12 y.o. to question this fact?
Amen
I was not questioning that observation, you are. I posed that statement the way I did because I cannot speak for other countries. If it's unclear I suggest revisiting the statement.
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djadonis206
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:01 pm

funken wrote:
djadonis206 wrote:What the IMF article is referring to is called capture theory. Where concentrated groups have the means and an incentive to coordinate themselves in such a way that they can effectively bend regulation to their benefit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

It's not just corporations that do this. Environmental and civil rights groups are notable examples.
What the article is about is real. Environmental and civil rights groups don'y have the same power, don't get $ multi-billion bailouts. The British and the American governments deregulated the finance industry over the last 30 years, and this led to it's expansion and the 2008 crash. There has been nothing similar for environmental or civil rights groups. Environmental and civil rights groups should get treated favourably by governments but aren't. The banks should not, but are. The governments are doing nothing about the environment. All they do is take money off the poor and give it to the rich. And the rich don't even bother to invest it.
Say that to Spotted Owls, the darter fish, blacks, and homosexuals. All examples of environmental and civil rights groups bending regulation in their favor
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cmcpress
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by cmcpress » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:24 pm

djadonis206 wrote:Say that to Spotted Owls, the darter fish, blacks, and homosexuals. All examples of environmental and civil rights groups bending regulation in their favor
I wouldn't call it "bending regulation" for rights groups to have their rights protected under law. Correcting regulation, more like - and probably correcting the legal laws to be consistent with their constitutional (US) rights (Spotted owls aside) in the spirit in which those rights were intended.

I would think that in this instance for regulation to be bent, it has to serve a corporations interests, often at the expense of the public interest.

In answer to your question. I would say Corporations worry me more, as the onus of responsibility is not held by one person but by a series of persons and that diminishes their responsibility, and legally compels them to act in Shareholder interests first, not the interests of society, because a corporation is a legal entity separate from it's board of directors. This makes it harder for a government to punish a corporation directly (as this has an economic impact). This also compels a corporation to behave in a way that is psychopathic.

Also Corporations are now transnational - this means that they have the power to ruin economies as there is little or no global consensus on governance - hence the UK's rise in the early 00's as corporations began to see more stringent legislation being introduced in NYC for example. It's hard to bring a corporation to justice if a large portion of your GDP is dependent upon their service.

Governments (Democratically elected) are largely answerable to their public as they have rely on the complicity of the armed forces in order to guarantee power. This is why, even in countries with Dictatorships like Burma, strong minded people like Ang Sung Suu Kyi are such a problem for governments as if the Burmese Govt had offed such a widely loved figure they would have had terrible problems maintaining order.

Even in China, the Chinese govt can't directly kill Ai Wei Wei, due to his popularity abroad.

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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by razorblade » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:50 pm

djadonis206 wrote:Bear in mind that the government, at least in the US, has a monopoly on the use of force and violence. This single point of authority means that the government can compel anyone or any entity to do what they want.
This is merely a byproduct of the primary focus of the Military/Industrial complex in the US - Which is selling vast quantities of extraordinarily expensive weapons to extract money from the taxpayers and transfer it to the "private job creators" that exist entirely through government contracts. They buy support of these policies through a combination of false patriotism and fear mongering under the misnomer of "defense spending". The only value of the use of those weapons systems is to create a perpetual "need" to expend, refresh and update the arsenal - at increased costs, of course...gotta stay cutting edge or the terrorists win.
No...I am 3phase!

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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by justjohn_jj » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:49 pm

When I feel like worrying about it, I worry about any large-scale organization of humans, be it corporations, governments, religions, political parties, football supporters ...

Once a bunch of people get together on a regular basis, the organization starts having priorities of its own.

I wouldn't even bring it up, except the congregation here might appreciate this metaphor:

One loud bang is just a solitary sound. But you put a few of them together and you can have a beat.

And beats have needs of their own.
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Re: Who are you more afraid of, the government or corporations?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:33 pm

In full disclosure, this question was posed to my Law and Economics of Regulation course and the knee jerk reaction was of course, corporations.

But when you unpack it, and imagine the question from a different perspective, government is far more scary than corporations.

As many of you pointed out, government can be captured by corporations, industries, unions, and civil rights groups. This doesn't serve the people, it serves the narrow interests of those groups.

When corporations fail, people loose money and jobs. When government fails, people loose their lives.

Government is suppose to enforce and uphold regulations/laws. When it fails to do so, people die. Example, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a couple years back.

When government is slow to react, people die. Example, Hurricane Katrina.

The United States government has killed 10s of thousands of innocent civilians all over the world in the name of something.

Now narrow the scale to your local law enforcement. Police are known for beating and killing young black and hispanic men for no reason at all. Local law enforcement imprisons innocent people all the time. I can't think of a corporation that has imprisoned an innocent person in recent history.

Governments would rather build a wall on our southern borders rather than give people opportunity. Corporations are not known for building walls.

Every time state governments cut funding for mental health, people die.

The list goes on and on. While it's easy for us to be afraid of corporations because of our standing in society, it's a lot harder for the weak, poor, and underprivileged to feel the same way. Government is cutting welfare, disability, and on and on and on...

It's just another way to think about it...
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