Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chris Hedges on Corporate Totalitarianism

Chris Hedges puts his finger on the main challenge of our time: how do everyday working people protect themselves from being eaten alive by the corporate structures that furnish their only source of income and potential wealth?  The historic answer has been organizing into unions, then leaning on the pillars of power, supported by traditional liberal groups. But as he points out, those traditional groups now have  more in common with the corporate overlords than the groups seeking improvement.

Thanks to Juan Cole for the link. 


Contrast this message with another 
from the other end of the world's 
socioeconomic see-saw.
 China and India are building welfare states at a scale and speed unprecedented in human history
‘Though social spending in both countries appears rather low, and many deficits remain in terms of effective social protection, social policies in both countries are evolving rapidly, with, for example, in China the world’s largest rural medical insurance programme, and in India the national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGA).
1. China and India are introducing basic (low cost) welfare systems on a massive scale, and very fast 
2. China initially tried privatising everything, and services collapsed, risking a potential political backlash. So the government jumped into building a welfare system, but wants to keep its eyes on the prize – economic growth. Social policy is about creating healthier, better educated factory workers. 
3. India’s more complicated, with a lot of rhetoric about rights, less of a focus on churning out the next generation of workforce (or on where they live), and politicians trading welfare concessions for votes on a small scale, creating an unholy mess overall. India’s deep rooted caste system means decentralization can lead to the lower castes being ignored by the incipient welfare state. 
Of course quantity does not mean quality. Lots of criticisms for corruption and inconsistency – e.g. receiving different payments depending on where you are registered, but still an extraordinary transformation.
It's the oldest leadership challenge in history. 
What is the best way to divide available wealth?  


Make a mental note of what Ed Dolan sez for next time you hear that Republican trope about the importance of small businesses.  This is part of America's response to how best to "share the wealth."  This underscores the points made by Chris Hedges, and understood so well by the leaderships of both India and China. 

And it isn't what it appears to be at first glance...
I'm too tired to dig any more. It is up to the reader to take it from here.

It’s best to own a company rather than work for one
Ed Dolan reports that corporate profits are rising as a share of gross domestic product at the expense of small business income and presents normative solutions. This redistribution of business income toward large corporations is a relatively recent phenomenon. Proprietor’s income as a share of national income peaked in the mid 2000s and has broadly declined; but before that point, proprietor’s income (green line) and corporate profits (purple line) jointly trended higher as a share of national income while gross employee compensation declined (blue line). It’s the business employees that are the real losers in this cross section of income.

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