Beyond “Corporate Greed”

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

These guys are undermining democracy was the protest message outside the Koch Brothers’ conservative strategy retreat  in the California desert.

That’s smart PR.

The secondary theme I’m not so sure about.

Progressives have been wailing about “corporate greed” for decades but the idea never quite gains traction.

You would think most Americans have had enough personal experience with the antics of big business to conclude that the consumer gets screwed.  Who hasn’t been ripped off at least once by an insurance company, bank, big box retailer or credit card company?

Also, you’d expect that the pubic would blame greedy corporations when the factory leaves town, abandoning local workers for cheap labor in China and elsewhere.

But somehow Americans seem able to tolerate business practices which exploit the customer and devastate the community.

Even the wall street debacle failed to set off a sustained anti-corporate sentiment.  Was it because Obama let the scoundrels off the hook or simply corporate media brainwashing?

Focusing on the Koch’s dominant role in politics and policy however penetrates the nation’s psyche in a different way.  It’s not their wealth we object to but their threat to our democratic way of life.

Now we have our poster boys who embody everything we’ve been saying about financial elites, business autocrats and global oligarchs.

Sure the Kochs are greedy, but who isn’t?

These guys have their fingers in the ballot box.

And maybe that’s where Americans draw the line.

Comments (3)


  1. Mark Doering-Powell says:

    Most people I’ve talked to either don’t know what Citizens United is/means, or when told don’t seem to care. When its the Supreme Court giving such broad interpretations based on the 1st Amendment, then the people crying foul must be misinformed or conspiracy theorists. Or perhaps they simply don’t think corporations have a strong hand in campaign finance and lobbying efforts – neither a transparent processes one can easily witness.

    With so much anti-gov’t rhetoric, maybe there’s only so much critique to go around. Perhaps we’ll find a way to blame the Executive & Legislative Branches of Govt for the problems stemming from corporations, our highest court, or from the Koch brothers.

    If I sound gloomy, one must only look at the fact that “too big to fail” is still a possibility and the Glass-Steagall Act still weakened to let Bankers, Insurance Companies and Investment Firms all exist under one Corporate Roof.

    Here the Legislative and Executive branches do share responsibility in not having acted on this yet, but corporations will use their “free speech” and campaign/lobbying dollars to make sure this wont change.

    Frankly we should be in the streets protesting, but we’re too big, spread-out, under-informed to really act on this. Yet.

    The problem is, things have to get worse (and the public better informed) in order to get better.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JoesUnionReview, Lou Siegel. Lou Siegel said: new post. beyond corporate greed. [...]

  3. Mike Sanchez says:

    It seems that people in the United States, not always Americans, have become complacent and worry more about what is going on today, without considering the effects of tomorrow. What they need to stop doing is all the whining about how bad life is and start demanding more from their government.
    I find it very interesting when presidents habitually repeat,” Si se Puede” or yes we can, when actually presidents are only one of the three branches that has limited or or no jurisdiction, what so ever. Their responsibility is to be an image for the nation, while behind the scenes individuals with massive authority play a huge role in policy making at local. state, federal as well at the international level. Finally, let me add, what a fine job they do at contributing to the machine; the machine with no soul, at the expense of everyone else that is not part of the machine.

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