Did you know that Giants walk the earth? Immortal beings of tremendous size and power roam freely, causing great harm or good with each stride. I’m talking about for-profit corporations. Once created, they live forever until dissolved. Technically, they are governed by laws, shareholders, officers, and boards, but in reality, no one controls them. Shares change hands daily; laws are changed and circumvented; and boards and officers are replaced. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Corporations are a necessary evil. What they do is aggregate resources and power in the hands of a handful of individuals. When properly used, these assets can be used to raise structures and quickly move good and services. When things are going well, it’s easy to forget that corporations are not our friends. They exist to make profits. If they happen to help along the way, that is even better.
Our current financial crisis is a harsh reminder of this important lesson. No ones likes pain, but it’s the only way we learn sometimes. It also reminds us that corporations should not be trusted with certain responsibilities. Would you trust your compulsive gambler son with your life savings? Corporations take risks. That’s how they make money…but that’s also how they crash, burn, and take everyone down with them. People lose much more than their jobs; their health insurance and even retirement may go up in smoke as well.
The answer to slow, inefficient government is not deregulation and delegation of duties. This is just passing the buck. The answer is better government! Yes, this is easier said than done, but are we going to just roll over and accept the status quo? That has never been the American Way.