William Mandel wrote:
>Certainly global mega-corporations not only reflect but
>effectuate economies of scale. And certainly they do all the
>terrible things you list. By every measure of human welfare --
>life expectancy, health, education, whatever -- people are better
>off in the "developed" capitalist countries than anywhere else.
>It is also true that, in the United States, the living standard
>of the majority has declined in the past thirty years, but it
>remains one that Haitian peasants and Israeli Ph.D.s fight like
>hell to come here to enjoy.
>There are no easy answers and no formulaic solutions.
There probably aren't any easy answers, but a good start might be to get
some agreement about what is the question? In response to the initial
statement from Horowitz, the list seems to have accepted the question as
being: WHICH IS BEST? SOCIALISM OR CAPITALISM.
Conservatives have consistently forced discussion into this meaningless
dichotomy. We don't have to accept it. If we criticize some aspect of
capitalism, the reaction from the right has always been: It's better than
communism (or socialism). If we are not 100% for unrestricted capitalism,
does it mean we support socialism? If I had to answer this question, someone
would have to define socialism for me, and I doubt I could maintain interest
in such a discussion.
I would prefer to formulate the question with out regard to 'isms'. For me,
the question should be the degree of control to apply to corporations. This
is at the heart of what a corporation is about.
Corporations are different from other organizations because they are a
shield against personal responsibility. The LTD in British corporations
stands for LIMITED, which advertises to the world that the organization with
such an appendix has LIMITED LIABILITY. These organizations have rights that
individuals don't enjoy.
Consider a loose analogy. If I had corresponding privileges while driving my
car, my liability would be limited to the cost of my vehicle - even if I
caused a death.
We may soon see these limitations and distinctions in the coming tobacco
legal battles. Even though their investments caused many deaths, those who
invested in these tainted enterprises will not have any liability beyond
their loss in stock value.
The significant question is how do we control these organizations of limited
responsibility. How do we apply controls to protect the larger society and
Mother Earth from tobacco companies and the likes of Exxon?
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