Every generation or so, a major secular shift takes place that shakes up the existing paradigm. It happens in industry, finance, literature, sports, manufacturing, technology, entertainment, travel, communication, etc.

I would like to discuss the paradigm shift that is occurring in politics.

For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic. It was Liberals versus Conservatives on a variety of issues. Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, Tax Cuts vs. More Spending, Pro-War vs Peaceniks, Environmental Protections vs. Economic Growth, Pro-Union vs. Union-Free, Gay Marriage vs. Family Values, School Choice vs. Public Schools, Regulation vs. Free Markets.

The new dynamic, however, has moved past the old Left Right paradigm. We now live in an era defined by increasing Corporate influence and authority over the individual. These two “interest groups” – I can barely suppress snorting derisively over that phrase – have been on a headlong collision course for decades, which came to a head with the financial collapse and bailouts. Where there is massive concentrations of wealth and influence, there will be abuse of power.  The Individual has been supplanted in the political process nearly entirely by corporate money, legislative influence, campaign contributions, even free speech rights.

This may not be a brilliant insight, but it is surely an overlooked one. It is now an Individual vs. Corporate debate – and the Humans are losing.

Consider:

• Many of the regulations that govern energy and banking sector were written by Corporations;

• The biggest influence on legislative votes is often Corporate Lobbying;

• Corporate ability to extend copyright far beyond what original protections amounts to a taking of public works for private corporate usage;

• PAC and campaign finance by Corporations has supplanted individual donations to elections;

• The individuals’ right to seek redress in court has been under attack for decades, limiting their options.

• DRM and content protection undercuts the individual’s ability to use purchased content as they see fit;

• Patent protections are continually weakened. Deep pocketed corporations can usurp inventions almost at will;

• The Supreme Court has ruled that Corporations have Free Speech rights equivalent to people; (So much for original intent!)

None of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual issues.

For those of you who are stuck in the old Left/Right debate, you are missing the bigger picture. Consider this about the Bailouts: It was a right-winger who bailed out all of the big banks, Fannie Mae, and AIG in the first place; then his left winger successor continued to pour more money into the fire pit.

What difference did the Left/Right dynamic make? Almost none whatsoever.

How about government spending? The past two presidents are regarded as representative of the Left Right paradigm – yet they each spent excessively, sponsored unfunded tax cuts, plowed money into military adventures and ran enormous deficits. Does Left Right really make a difference when it comes to deficits and fiscal responsibility? (Apparently not).

What does it mean when we can no longer distinguish between the actions of the left and the right? If that dynamic no longer accurately distinguishes what occurs, why are so many of our policy debates framed in Left/Right terms?

In many ways, American society is increasingly less married to this dynamic: Party Affiliation continues to fall, approval of Congress is at record lows, and voter participation hovers at very low rates.

There is some pushback already taking place against the concentration of corporate power: Mainstream corporate media has been increasingly replaced with user created content – YouTube and Blogs are increasingly important to news consumers (especially younger users). Independent voters are an increasingly larger share of the US electorate. And I suspect that much of the pushback against the Elizabeth Warren’s concept of a Financial Consumer Protection Agency plays directly into this Corporate vs. Individual fight.

But the battle lines between the two groups have barely been drawn. I expect this fight will define American politics over the next decade.

Keynes vs Hayek? Friedman vs Krugman? Those are the wrong intellectual debates. Its you vs. Tony Hayward, BP CEO, You vs. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO. And you are losing . . .

~~~

This short commentary was conceived not to be an exhaustive research, but rather, to stimulate debate. There are many more examples and discussions we can have about this, and I hope readers do so in comments.

But my bottom line is this:  If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . .

Category: Bailouts, Politics, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

193 Responses to “The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations”

  1. Hugh says:

    An excellent post Barry. Too bad we (the people) seem to be losing this one.

  2. Richard R says:

    Thanks, you’re completely right. This is today’s overriding issue but most people are shocked to hear mention of it. So, what do we do? Popular outrage has been co-opted by the corporations through the tea parties. The left pays lip service to the issue but continues with its old agenda. There are voices yelling about this but they are in the wilderness.

    Finally, it is a simple issue of freedom. How can you be free if you need to spend the next 20 years working for the corporations to pay your debts? How can you be free if you can’t start a business or move because you need health insurance and the corps have usurped all the laws in their favor? If they own the political system how do you change anything? Those whose support and involvement is needed work endless hours and spend the rest of their time trying to keep their families above water.

    The Democrats are as useless as the Republicans. The Libertarians have a great big blind spot for corporate power – with the help of corporate supported foundations. Why can’t the originalists lead the way in denying the person-hood of corporations?

    I don’t see any chance of reversing this without a major economic/civil crisis occurring leaving the corporations incapable of maintaining power. I sure hope I’m wrong.

  3. bmoseley says:

    this is excellent and focused it more for me.
    remember IKE’s famous parting words: beware of the military industrial complex. did he ever have that right.

  4. Mannwich says:

    Thanks you, BR, for reiterating what MANY of us have been saying for years now. Amen. Need to keep hammering these points though for people on the “left” and right” to get a clue. I’m guessing it’s going to take at least one more shot by both parties politically for enough people to wake up to this scam.

  5. Conflict of Interest

    And just wait until Glenn Beck leaps into the race. Fox News faces a dilemma as the 2012 presidential campaign—which traditionally starts right after midterm elections—nears: The network has four potential candidates on its payroll in Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. That’s every major contender save Mitt Romney who’s not currently holding office. The politicians’ paid contributor deals have caused a rift within Fox News and frustrated competitors, because the candidates are contractually forbidden from appearing on another news channel. C-SPAN tried to interview Palin, but was forced to ask Fox’s permission, which was denied. Other TV news networks have had the same experience. Fox says that once the Republicans declare they’re running for office, they’ll have to sever their ties to the channel. But they’re likely to delay that announcement, as Fox offers an unparalleled platform to spout an unfiltered message to conservatives. (Palin has already visited early primary states.) Some Fox employees are uneasy with the arrangement, and they haven’t gotten instructions from higher-ups on how to deal with it. Reporters are “left in the lurch,” not knowing when the candidates will have to leave.

  6. jrltexas1 says:

    “The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power”

    -Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Fascist Dictator of Italy

    We now use corporations to fight our wars, and dictate our foreign policy. We even have a corporation, the FED masquerading as our ‘central bank’. Barry, I think your a little late to the party if you believe that the left/right paradigm has even been more than an illusion for the huddled masses to cling to for security. Welcome to the new USA Inc.. Be a good corporate citizen now, or we will turn you over to HR….

  7. YY says:

    Great post BR, many of us see that as well.

    The bad news is that this conflict could resolve itself in serious societal damage. The 19th conflicts between Labor and Capitalists is perhaps the closest parallel.

  8. sy says:

    Agreed. Here’s the beginning of it: http://pay2play.tv/?p=304

  9. drewburn says:

    Frightening, but true. And I thought the same about conservative “activist” judges: A corporation is the same thing as an individual in the Constitution???

  10. franklin411 says:

    Not entirely new, Barry…There was a book called Beyond Left and Right: Insurgency and the Establishment, written by the unfortunately-named historian David A. Horowitz (he shares a name with the right wing nutjob!), published in 1997. He explains that the real conflict in American history since 1776 has not been between left and right, but between the so-called “average” Americans (however defined) and “elites–” generally, Eastern banks, political elites, intellectuals, radicals, etc… It’s a somewhat dated book, but nothing better explains Palinism in my view than Horowitz’s work.

  11. franklin411 says:

    Ha! I forgot to include the key player in that list…big business and corporations!

  12. Apinak says:

    Excellent post. This why I have always put reforming campaign finance at the top of the list of priorities. Until we get corporate money out of politics we can’t do anything else effectively. I would also put repealing corporate personhood near the top of the list. I have to say that the left-right debate is not meaningless, the Tea Party has been convinced that government is bad ans should be replaced by an unregulated ‘free’ market. In essence they have chosen to be on the side of corporations although I am sure very few of them realize it.

  13. JeffErp says:

    I agree but I don’t think it ends with corporations. You also need to include other powerful lobbying groups like unions, Indian tribes (on the state level), etc.

  14. cpd says:

    Exactly right. You have articulated the biggest problem very well. Any chance you can post this article on other websites? In particular, Huffington Post. That is a very good mainstream news website but a lot of people get locked in to the left/right debate which distracts from the real issue. Your article needs a wide distribution.

  15. Arequipa01 says:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/09/floridas-kangaroo-foreclosure-courts-judges-denying-due-process-on-behalf-of-banks.html

    Defanging the Judiciary. Check.

    You must understand that you are not a citizen, you are a subject. And as a subject, ownership will be asserted over you, in all your dimensions, along every axis.

  16. AHodge says:

    right
    though i am more like
    us vs finance
    others get conditional pass, till found out like BP?

  17. Apinak says:

    I would add these to ypur list of corporate takeovers.

    Health insurance companies have inserted themselves as unneccessary middlemen so they can skim off a large portion of our healthcare spending.

    Military contractors have spread themselves into every congressional district so they can convince us to spend hundreds of billions a year in unproductive ways and on overpriced products.

    Wall Street has manipulated rules so they can capture 40% of corporate profits without producing anything.

    Corporates have cut their share of the tax burden and shifted it to the middle class.

    Corporations have sidestepped environmental and labor laws by freely moving to whichever country has the worst conditions and cheapest labor costs.

    You should also change the war to individuals vs. multinational corporations. The fact that corporations have no allegiance to specific countries which adds all sort of facets to the discussion.

  18. Trevor says:

    BR wrote: If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . .

    I suspect that another rising paradigm is religious vs. less or non- religious. It’s pretty ugly when seen from other Western countries.

    From whence the funding for religio-politicians comes is a debatable question. It might just be that funding, say, the Tea Parties, is but one tine of a fork. Businesses may be funding organised religions for the same reason they would be behind Tea Parties. But, what if it’s the other way around, and religions fund/support Tea Parties to the extent, ahem, legally allowed? It would be frightening to me to see even more delusion in government, but I see religious influence growing in much the same was as I’ve seen corporate influence growing. Could your corporations be looked at as merely other ideologies and/or wielding of power?

    For example, just imagine what would happen if a U.S. political candidate stated or was ‘revealed’ to have areligious tendencies; particularly in the middle of the country.

    Who funds the religious candidates? If it’s not the corporations, then you likely have another paradigm at play.

  19. Transor Z says:

    A few corporate law reforms would have a big impact.

    (1) A constitutional amendment stating that “corporate persons” are not on a par with human persons for purposes of due process and participation in civic life would help. The entire notion of criminal conduct by a corporation is just silly — see #3 below.

    (2) A 10-year mandatory minimum document retention policy for all internal communications and documents generated by publicly traded companies or their employees would make life a bit more interesting.

    (3) Relaxed standards for “piercing the corporate veil” to reach officers and directors for criminal and civil liability. Corporate entities don’t hurt people; flesh-and-blood people hurt people. Remember always that corporations are nothing more than fictional legal creations. To paraphrase Dad, we brought them into the world, we can take them out of it.

  20. wunsacon says:

    >> For a long time, American politics has been defined by a Left/Right dynamic.

    I don’t think these issues are going away or being superceded. For instance, I disagree that “abortion is murder” — I’m more inclined to conclude that “meat is murder” simply because pigs and various other animals are already out of the womb when we kill them — but understand that anyone who believes that, say, “human zygotes have souls” is morally obligated to push for their protection. That issue is not going away. Not in America.

    It’s quite possible the “You vs. Corporations” issue is the same “poor vs. rich/robber-baron” issue that’s existed, like, forever. Only now, instead of rich monopolist/oligopolist proprietors and partnerships, you have rich monopolist/oligopolist “corporations”. To the average person, what’s the difference?

  21. DrungoHazewood says:

    I never paid much attention to Ralph Nader until he pointed out how the parties used to vehemently fight over issues like the defense budget. Now on this and many other questions, its just shovel as much money in to the yawning maw as possible. There was, for a nanosecond, a meeting of the minds between reps, blacks, and blue dogs over the bailouts. It was quickly quashed before such tomfoolery got out of control.

  22. wunsacon says:

    What Trevor said…

  23. Apinak says:

    JeffErp, I completely disagree with the notion that Unions should be lumped with corporations. Unions are the collective voice of workers, their fighting for the rights of individuals within the workplace. The owners of corporations have overwhelming influence in congress. Unions are trying to present the other side of the story and are badly outgunned.

  24. dougc says:

    The respite from corporatocracy as America endured during the Gilden age occured when the ruling oligarchy feared the same fate as their ilk suffered in Russia, being shot. This round of the golden age coincides with the fall of Russian communism,

  25. Concerned American says:

    This is why I am concerned. These corporations are also destroying the health and lives of those that work for them. It is now expected, you will work 80 hour weeks. No one can hire no matter how badly you are not meeting corporate and customer requirements. Most if not all these corporations are much uglier on the inside than anyone knows on the outside. It is all about $$ per share. Employees and customers are a distant second to $$ per share. It may work out short term. Long term there is a lot of failure in the future at least for the employees and customers here in the US.

  26. wally says:

    I agree with what BR posts, and link this to both the changed focus of US politics and to the rapidly increasing concentration of wealth and diminution of the middle class.
    You can’t have a consumer-based economy once you diminish the middle class… but the top economic strata no longer cares. They see themselves as able to simply move elsewhere to continue to build their fortunes.

  27. freejack says:

    Kudos on the post BR.

    And, what the prophet Carlin said…… (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q)

    NSFW

    ~~~

    BR: I’m a huge Carlin fan, and its clear he was much more correct than even his fans may have realized.

  28. Harney says:

    Barry:

    On my RSS Feed this story from The Onion came up right after your post:
    “New ‘Do Not Kill’ Registry To Allow Americans To Opt Out Of Being Murdered”

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-do-not-kill-registry-to-allow-americans-to-opt,18155/

    Brillant….

  29. Mannwich says:

    Spot on, Concerned. You nailed it.

  30. Richard R says:

    Does anyone remember when corporations would accepted stewardship responsibilities as something to be proud of and included the community and employees in the mix of stakeholders? How quaint! A CEO would be fired for proposing such a thing now.

    Speaking of stakeholders, wouldn’t it be nice if common stockholders were included in that group? Corporations are managed for the benefit of the insiders. The “investment industry” exists so that all the insiders can skim all they can from pensions, savings, endowments, and all the other fools.

  31. DL says:

    If the price we had to pay for less corporate influence were some sort of left-wing government that is run by labor unions and trial lawyers, I for one wouldn’t want to pay that price.

  32. Robespierre says:

    Any views on how this “fight” is going to evolve?

  33. ACS says:

    Blind cheerleading for either party is a sure sign of intellectual and moral bankruptcy because both parties are responsible for the mess we’re in and neither seems capable of solutions. The system has produced career politicians whose only goal is gaining and maintaining power. Elections cost huge amounts of money and thus their votes are up for sale with corporations being the deepest pocket special interest buyers. As many have said, all the other issues merely prevent the bulk of the citizens from getting together and fighting those special interests.

  34. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    The biggest corporatist takeover, the grandaddy of them all, is the ABA and state Bar Associations and their control over the legal ‘industry’. Membership in a private organization as a condition of approaching the government for redress (or worse, to defend against charges leveled by one of their own)? How and why does and/or should it cost a minimum of 20K for a citizen to stand before a government official and hope for a favorable decision (on a law that is poorly-enough written to leave plenty o’ room for ‘judgement’)? If you do not hire one of the BA members to communicate to the government for you, you are virtually certain to lose. If you do, your chances are better, but certainly not 50-50.

    The US Judiciary: The world’s most complete and pervasive corporate monopoly.

  35. “…FDR once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” He was in a good position to know. We believe that many of the major world events that are shaping our destinies occur because somebody or somebodies have planned them that way. If we were merely dealing with the law of avenges, half of the events affecting our nation’s well-being should be good for America. If we were dealing with mere incompetence, our leaders should occasionally make a mistake in our favor. We shall attempt to prove ‘bat we are not really dealing with coincidence or stupidity, but with planning and brilliance. This small book deals with that planning and brilliance and how it has shaped the foreign and domestic policies of the last six administrations. We hope it will explain matters which have up to now seemed inexplicable; that it will bring into sharp focus images which have been obscured by the landscape painters of the mass media…”
    http://www.whale.to/b/allen_b1.html
    ~~
    http://www.retrosnapshots.com/product_info.php?products_id=1745

  36. countziggenpuss says:

    BR – Going to have to disagree strongly……. you can certainly assert that both of America’s political parties are run by corporations and that we need a third party that will be ideologically pure and immune from influence by special interest money……. and I ‘ll say, “great points!” But to claim that left vs right is no longer relevant, is pretty much clueless. On the major issues of the day, you can look at the core beliefs of each party and find plenty of examples…….. one party wants to repeal fin-reg reform, while the other thinks it didn’t go far enough; one party wants to repeal healthcare reform, while the other thinks it didn’t go far enough; one party wants to address this year’s supreme court ruling on campaign finance, while the other supports the ruling; one wants to minimize or even eliminate corporate taxes, the other thinks that corporations should have to pay a fair tax in exchange for the protections afforded to corporations under U.S. law; one wanted to amend the Constitution (yes, the Constitution!) in order to ban gay marriage, while the other thinks such a thing is a stupid, waste of time…….. And if you really want to think about it, imagine if the Republicans had still been in charge (yep, the McCain/Palin administration) during this economic melt down instead of just neatly handing it off to Obama. Hoover and the Republicans, in 1932, lacked the good luck of handing off, having their nest of snakes come unraveled while they still held power, and it eventually banished them into the political wilderness.

  37. JT23456 says:

    jrltexas1 – Mussolini knew what he was talking about – but you don’t. Corporatism is not “corporation-ism”.

    ” In contemporary usage, “corporatism” is often used as a pejorative term against the domination of politics by the interests of business corporations based on the inaccurate interpretation of “corporat” in corporatism as referring to business corporations.”

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

  38. Apinak says:

    DL,

    “DL Says:
    September 27th, 2010 at 11:27 am
    If the price we had to pay for less corporate influence were some sort of left-wing government that is run by labor unions and trial lawyers, I for one wouldn’t want to pay that price.”

    this is why the corporations are winning. These have been so successful in demagoguing their opponents and people Like you buy it hook, line, and sinker.

  39. Arequipa01 says:

    http://incakolanews.blogspot.com/2010/09/reactionaries-lose-money.html

    Oh the boogie man! Watch out, there’s a commie behind that bush!

    Crappy binary thought mode on display:

    “If the price we had to pay for less corporate influence were some sort of left-wing government that is run by labor unions and trial lawyers, I for one wouldn’t want to pay that price.”

    Former labor leader Lula da Silva sez: “Cae de scroto, DL”

  40. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    DL Says:

    “If the price we had to pay for less corporate influence were some sort of left-wing government that is run by labor unions and trial lawyers, I for one wouldn’t want to pay that price.”
    _____________

    You pay far more to to the corporatists. Labor unions are as capitalist a phenomena as any other. Since when did labor unions ever try to “run government” except for at the ballot box? That’s the price of representative government (public unions are another thing, entirely,and should be outlawed for obvious conflict of interests). In fact, the only check on the corporatists has been via collective bargaining (why do you think corporations go overseas, where they can get things like cheap child labor?). Labor unions paved the way for the wealth and security the middle class achieved during the latter half of the 20th century. The corporatists will destroy the unions because the unions demand that they share the wealth of our society.

    Your mention of trial lawyers is also misplaced. You have lost far more to corporate lawyers (think Bush v. Gore). It is interesting to note that trial lawyers who get what many would consider “unfair” decisions (that punish corporations) for their clients, usually got those awards at the hands of juries, not judges. Who are you (or anyone of like mind) to disagree with a decision made by your peers?

    Enjoy life under the corporatists. May you be crushed under their oppressive boots.

  41. scottsabol says:

    Barry,

    Any chance of writing a second book–a follow-up recapping the last 2 years (2011) since the first one?

    Thanks,

    Scott Sabol
    http://sabolscience.blogspot.com

  42. Robespierre says:

    @countziggenpuss Says:

    “On the major issues of the day, you can look at the core beliefs of each party and find plenty of examples…….. one party wants to repeal fin-reg reform, while the other thinks it didn’t go far enough…”

    All of that would be great if it weren’t for the reality that at the end of the day each party votes with their corporate sponsors and not with “their core belief”. I think you have been duped into believing the propaganda of both parties. Deeds my deeds.

  43. MelJ says:

    So true, but what to do about it? For starters, here’s
    one suggestion. Some business news shows ask guests if
    they have any disclosures to make concerning any stocks
    or funds they’ve recommended. In a similar vein, when
    they are interviewed, all politicians should be asked who
    their top 3 contributors are and how much money they were
    given by each. But it will never happen because the
    corporations own the media and their goal is to attract
    the largest audience and have access to those in power.

  44. algernon says:

    Corporations are no threat except with a gov’t powerful enough to grant them favors. Libertartian versus statists is the struggle as before. George Bush was a statist, tho perhaps not as much as the Anointed One is.

  45. You’re scaring me… are you just now coming out of a Billy Joel induced coma? Or are you just tossing red meat? Nice work on the record links to Amazon it seems that people bought the whole recommended set.

  46. alnval says:

    Barry:

    If you won’t consider running for office would you consider stimulating the formation of a group of private citizens a la the “Wise Men” of the 1940’s who were instrumental in crafting NATO, the World Bank and the Marshall Plan. “They came to personify an ideal of statesmanship that was marked by non-partisanship, pragmatic internationalism, and aversion to ideological fervor.” (WIKI)

    Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Michael Bloomberg come to mind as having already made public their distress at the unhelpful polemical character of our political debate. I’m confident that there are many others out there who are not as well known but who would respond to a catalytic moment in a heart beat.

    Although, as I remember, you didn’t go to either Harvard or Yale, I’m still confident that your contacts in the financial and business communities are wide ranging enough to give you access to an excellent sample of practical, realistic and non-ideological folks who like you are worried about the direction of the country and would like to do something about it.

  47. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Robespierre:

    So, looking outside economic policy, how do you explain the right’s obsession with sexual/reproductive issues, its pandering to religious interests (as if we were ever intended to be a Judeo/Christian nation), its racism and xenophobia (the latter it uses as a scare tactic on the citizenry, but which it embraces for profit), or its support for insane candidates?

    Left will never meet right. We don’t even have a “left.” Our left is solidly in the center (closer to the corporations).

  48. DM RTA says:

    Pop culture increasingly hammers the point that the bad guys (and bad outcomes) can only be rooted out using rules that reduce transparency but after an entire era of decreasing transparency, we find our entire culture saturated with the ill effects of secretive efforts in all parts of business and government (local and national). I am thinking of situations beyond finance but as suggested above, public financing of political campaigns would level the emotional playing field and force campaigners to decide if allegations or ideas should be used for the limited resources and time available…and that might go a long way to restoring the competition of actual ideas. I am guessing that a near majority of Americans does not know what “unfunded liabilities” means.
    This may well sound disconnected but, if failure is not given its due respect as an important aspect of our way of life (business, government, and personal), then this fight will eventually turn into a very nasty generational mess where more realistic youth coming of age blame retirees for their own unrealistic manifestations. Corporations, meanwhile, create an echo chamber playing up emotions chasing small interests and the big picture is constantly lost.

    Freedom isn’t free and failure cannot always be guarded against, even with a seemingly great hedge…and the small minded and selfish tools shouldn’t be influencing the big picture as if they are equals.

  49. lewiswb says:

    Lived and worked in the D.C. area for 37 years. Hung out, played golf with lawyer/politicians, lobbyists, etc. Always thought if these people are in charge, we might be in big trouble. Hello big trouble. Forget left/right, corporations, etc., the place to start is to get rid of lawyer/politicians and their ilk. For the last thirty five years, I have never voted for ANYONE with a law degree and am pretty sure I never will. If more people thought that way, we could get some actual citizens in congress and the presidency. As long as we have lawyer/politicians buying their elections with corporate funding…oh, wait, I am back to Barry’s initial point.

    And forget health care reform, the number one reform this country needs is LEGAL reform.

    As my old pappy used to say, thems that gots the gold makes the rules. And we turned over the pot of gold to the wrong people years ago.

    Of course, Pappy also used to say people get the government they deserve, and whenever I turn on the TV (say for example American Idol, Oprah, reality TV, The Springer Show) I think Pappy was right again.

  50. rickety rick says:

    barry, join the tea party. they’re way ahead of you. they’re very engaged on this problem.

    i see it as a 3-way battle between big corporations, big labor, and the 800 pound gorilla big government.

    wake up voters.

  51. Bob A says:

    and you might add …corporations that have become more and more like organized crime organizations…

  52. Bob A says:

    the tea party? you gotta be kidding.

    the tea party was conceived, bankrolled, orchestrated by and is nothing but a puppet of…

  53. Lugnut says:

    BR wrote: If you see the world in terms of Left & Right, you really aren’t seeing the world at all . . .

    If I may suggest, Barry, I think you may be missing the more subtle point that the unswashed masses view it as a Left vrs Right prism precisely because the corporations and their lobbyists want it painted that way, and have done an exceedingly good job defining the playing field and what teams are on it.

    Much easier to have the politicians front run the PR, so that if the citizenry are upset over whats going on in DC, they can still believe that if they can play ping-pong with who controls the House and Senate come election time, “their guys” will come in and fix things, ignoring the fact that “their guys” are probably having their legislation written out by the same K-street legal eagles as the guys they’re trying to vote out.

  54. ronin says:

    Barry, good post.

    What you’re referring to is Corporatism. I first started studying about this phenomenon in 2000 and haven’t stopped. Once you start searching about this deeply interesting phenomenon it will lead you to Alex Jones. Most people think Alex is a “kook” or “tinfoil hatter” (and they might be right), but one thing is for sure, he’s been ranting about this longer than anyone else on the net. You name the industry, whether it’s farming, security, medicine, or climate and guaranteed Alex Jones can map it back to the revolving door of staff members coming and going between government job to corporate executive and back. Sure we all know about Cheney and Rumsfeld, but you’d be shocked to hear and see about all the people you’ve never heard of before.

    There are many people talking about it now and we only welcome more people to keep the conversation alive….

  55. countziggenpuss says:

    @ Robespierre Says:

    “All of that would be great if it weren’t for the reality that at the end of the day each party votes with their corporate sponsors and not with “their core belief”. I think you have been duped into believing the propaganda of both parties.”

    Ummmmmm, no……. it’s about the fact that we have this stupid legislative body called the Senate, in which 60 votes are required to pass legislation and the 2 senators each from Wyoming, Delaware & Alaska all have the same power as those from California, Texas & New York…….. so compromises, however unfortunate, need to be made and the “centrists” – those who don’t want to shake things up – rule the place.

    And it’s the simpletons who think that “both parties are the same” who have been duped by a media, who insists on framing every debate as being between “different points of view”, rather than facts vs lies.

  56. patient renter says:

    Amen. This theme, above all others, is something I would love to see become more prominently discussed in all circles.

  57. curbyourrisk says:

    Republican = Democrat. Democrat = Republican.

    That is all I have to say

  58. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    DM RTA:

    There is no such thing as “unfunded liabilities” in a fiat money economy (goes double plus when it’s also the global reserve currency economy). Why do we even discuss such things as taxation or poverty under such a regime, when everything about it is synthetic? Our current predicament is a result of political choice.

    We have a problem of distribution/allocation, and nothing more (the money supply could match the debt with a few keystrokes). Circulation has been choked off. The middle class has been willingly disinherited. We traded a functional government of the People for a Corporatist juggernaut — they write the policy, and it favors them.

    Lots of talk, lately, about the US losing reserve currency status. I don’t think that will happen (not a good thing) because there is no non-fiat alternative.

  59. pereduchesne says:

    Two parties; one establishment.

    It’s not just corporations vs. citizens. Increasingly it’s corporations using government to dominate citizens.

    For a little taste of what Big Brother has in store for all of us, consider the Obama administration’s proposed wire tap rule changes as reported by Charlie Savage in today’s NYT

    You may also be interested in the proposed rule changes that would require banks to report all electronic money transfers in and out of the country, regardless of the amounts as reported in today’s WP by Ellen Nakishima .

  60. VennData says:

    So corporate media is being replaced by… blogs and user content taking away the power and giving it back to the people? Uh… well Gingrich, Palin, Santorum, Huckabee are FOX commentators. That means they get paid by the beast.

    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=Fox+commentators+candidates

    Is it starting to make sense to you GOP suckers?

  61. [...] Looking at the world through a new political paradigm:  individuals vs. corporations.  (Big Picture) [...]

  62. FrancoisT says:

    The question is: what is the end game of such a sorry state of affairs?

    Here’s a thought: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/06/gonzalo-lira-is-the-u-s-a-fascist-police-state.html

    It’s not pretty, but the author got some very important points nailed down perfectly.

    A police-state uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or another.

    In other words, those who can help the state stay in power, a.k.a. the Corporations.

    In a police-state, the citizens are “free” only so long as their actions remain within the confines of the law as dictated by the state. If the individual’s claims of rights or freedoms conflict with the state, or if the individual acts in ways deemed detrimental to the state, then the state will repress the citizenry, by force if necessary. (And in the end, it’s always necessary.)

    What’s key to the definition of a police-state is the lack of redress: If there is no justice system which can compel the state to cede to the citizenry, then there is a police-state. If there exists a pro forma justice system, but which in practice is unavailable to the ordinary citizen because of systemic obstacles (for instance, cost or bureaucratic hindrance), or which against all logic or reason consistently finds in favor of the state—even in the most egregious and obviously contradictory cases—then that pro forma judiciary system is nothing but a sham: A tool of the state’s repression against its citizens. Consider the Soviet court system the classic example.

    A police-state is not necessarily a dictatorship. On the contrary, it can even take the form of a representative democracy. A police-state is not defined by its leadership structure, but rather, by its self-protection against the individual.

    BTW Barry, let’s also mention the incredible difference in treatment the corporation receive as a judicial defendant compared to the individual. It is just plain astonishing to see how soft on crime the state and the judiciary become when the defendant is a corporation.

  63. mikecullin says:

    As I read this, a Jeep Cherokee is circling my office building (I work for a large bank) with the words “Glass Steagall or Die” writ across it. The driver is announcing something over a loudspeaker which I can’t make out but which likely expresses opposition to big banks.

  64. Apinak says:

    Alnval, I would add Bruce Bartlett to the list of wise men.

    This is my litmus test for who I classify as informed, do they recognize the corrupt state of our political systems and the role of corporations in that corruption.

    Reclaim Democracy has been fighting corporate personhood for years on a shoestring budget. http://www.reclaimdemocracy.org/

  65. patient renter says:

    “the tea party? you gotta be kidding.

    the tea party was conceived, bankrolled, orchestrated by and is nothing but a puppet of…”

    No. For the record (and it seems that nobody is aware of this, but…) the modern reincarnation of the Tea Party was a 2007 event conceived by Ron Paul supporters for his Presidential campaign. The idea was later picked up and reused by like-minded supporters, but quickly co-opted by not-so-like-minded people, corps, etc. The original motivation seems lost to the sands of time…

  66. DL says:

    curbyourrisk @ 12:51

    The bills signed by Obama (so far) have received virtually no Republican support.

    This may be good; it may be bad. But at present, the two parties have very different agendas.

  67. drocto says:

    But if we were to, say, raise the income tax rate on incomes over $1MM to perhaps 40%, these great leaders would quit and leave us adrift, shivering in the dark.

  68. obsvr-1 says:

    George Carlin had it right, we’re *ucked … the ironic thing is that the mass populace really has the power, but trying to organize an effort to pull power away from the right/left machine is nearly impossible, it will take an events or series of events like the financial crisis and the aftermath of having tremendous impact on the mass populace to ignite a revolution that may, just may coalesce into an organization with enough critical mass to make a difference.

    Just think if everyone pulled their savings and funds from the TBTF and used the “mattress” or local bank instead, a strong message could be sent that change must be made.

    Just think, instead of tea being thrown into the harbor, if everyone decided to take a year long holiday and stopped paying their credit card bill, or if all the underwater mortgagee’s decided to stop paying their mortgage using strategic default or forced restructuring.

    Most people are moderates and want to be in the center, but there is no political party for them, you either have to go right or left. Libertarians as an alternative, they are too radical on the free market theory and in no way should anyone consider (multi-national and special interest lead) corporations to be in the center, they are in it for themselves and use whichever the party in power to get what they want.

    Full circle back to George Carlin …

  69. ywsimw says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read the previous comments ; so apologies if this is a repeat.

    I think this topic deserves some deeper analysis ; since corporations are run by… individuals !

    I think that this is more a case of individuals “using” corporations (or its powers or what have you) to their own benefit at the expense of other individuals who are not skilled at that.

    Great post anyway, got me thinking !

  70. Robespierre says:

    @Petey Wheatstraw Says:

    “how do you explain the right’s obsession with sexual/reproductive issues, its pandering to religious interests (as if we were ever intended to be a Judeo/Christian nation)…”

    There is a population “right” and a “left”. What I’m saying is that neither party belongs to any of them. The republicans know that the “morality mantra” will get them 1/3 of the votes regardless of their actions on that subject or any other. Just like the democrats know that “pro-unions, rich-against-poor” will get them 1/3 regardless of what they do once in power. So the population at large can be right or left the parties on the other hand are corporatist.

  71. CB says:

    It seems that a capitalist – flavored corporatocracy is what the US has become during the last 50 years. The general population is distracted by polarizing ‘hot button’ personal belief system issues while legal power and control is sold to the highest corporate bidder/lobbyist. Concentration of power seems to be standard human behavior regardless of any initial ‘noble’ organizing principles.

  72. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    DL Says:

    “The bills signed by Obama (so far) have received virtually no Republican support.”

    But they still benefit corporate interests over those of the citizenry.

  73. Long term says:

    As an independent, I identify with no party but look for leaders with innovative ideas.

    Corporations are certainly not the root of evil. They are merely collections of people working in their common interest. It is very possible they are NOT working in overall public interest but it is most certain they are working for the benefit of the owners (and/or insiders) of the corporation. It makes total sense that the largest, best organized corps have quite a lot of power for there are a lot of people involved in the effort.

    If I am in a family of 8 people, it is very likely that I am working with the other 7 members in our unique self interest, which inherently might not be in the direct interest of surrounding families or individuals. As a well organized family (“corp”) of 8, we would likely wield extreme powers versus a single individual. The individual might see this an unfair advantage but the family sure won’t.

    Just remember that if those same brow-beaten corps start making you 20% returns next year, you will love them no matter how they turned the trick. And the corps know that. If the People want returns so badly that “ends justify the means” is acceptable, there will be many abuses. We all have dirty hands.

  74. Robespierre says:

    @countziggenpuss Says:

    “Ummmmmm, no……. it’s about the fact that we have this stupid legislative body called the Senate, in which 60 votes are required to pass legislation”

    Obama had an opportunity to set the tone for his presidency when he took power. Instead, he went out of the way to please bankers by continuing the same policies his predecessor started. These BTW are the same bankers that provided millions to get him elected. Do you ever wonder why neither the republicans nor the democrats ever pushed the executive branch into investigating for criminal wrong doing any of the failed financial institutions?

  75. bobmitchell says:

    Petey

    And the other Choice &#0153 gets to sell itself to the masses as opposition, knowing full well that they would have done the same under a different brand.

  76. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    ywsimw Says:

    “I think this topic deserves some deeper analysis ; since corporations are run by… individuals!”
    _______________

    Individuals who are apparently above the law, thanks to the corporate shield. Criminality with no material perpetrator. There is no corpus in a corporation. As in, “I ain’t got no body . . .” Get it?

  77. riverrat says:

    David Korten has written extensively about the overshoot of corporate power and influence well beyond the point where it still benefits the average citizen, and about alternatives to an economy and political process controlled by corporations.

    I do think Barry overstated the degree to which distinctions between the Left and Right have broken down- there are still meaningful (IMO) policy differences between the parties, and goals they purport to be working toward. But that is not to say that these distinctions haven’t become considerably more blurry, or that the Democrats aren’t increasingly feeble in their defense of the average citizen. I guess I see this as inevitable result of the influence of money in politics- the Democrats have a choice to either get into the corporate money game aggressively, or be left behind in a cloud of dust.

    Great post though, in that it helps illuminate the crossroads we are at WRT reforming the way corporations and elections are regulated. The appalling Citizens United Supreme Court decision may very well turn out to be the final nail in the coffin of individual rights and access to the political process. The only way to avert such a fate is through critical analysis such as this.

  78. Robespierre says:

    @Long term Says:

    “They are merely collections of people working in their common interest. It is very possible they are NOT working in overall public interest but it is most certain they are working for the benefit of the owners (and/or insiders) of the corporation. It makes total sense that the largest, best organized corps have quite a lot of power for there are a lot of people involved in the effort.”

    You are so wrong. You are making it look like corporations are like democracies run by the people who work there. That is far from the truth. You also making it look like the officers of the corporations are working for the benefit of the shareholders. Wrong again, otherwise ho do you explain short term thinking withing most corporations? Corporations exits for the benefit of who controls them (Execs + BoD). At least that is what facts seem to show.

  79. ray l love says:

    I have made a similar argument to the one presented here many times. Although, I usually frame it as investment-class vs non investment-class as a way of dividing the 2 groups in terms of economic interests and that affect on our democratic process .

    The investment-class represented 2% of the population in the late 1920s, by the 1980s, before the 401(k) saturation, that percentage had grown to 25%. By 2006 it was 50% although much of the growth during this last period is somewhat diluted in terms of ‘class’ by 401(k)s as retirement ‘funds’.

    It is important to recognize that nearly every person of influence in this country, whether they be media personnel, or from nearly any of the of special interest categories (even trade union operatives), and nearly all public employees at every level of government, are stock holders in our corporate empire. So it is not just the economic elites who are forming our nation to suit their interests but it is in fact our democracy that is undermining its own balance between the 2 socio-economic classes. And this ‘sharing of the profits’ has aligned a large enough voting bloc to cause each of the political parties to shift their platforms accordingly. Of course each party must define itself as that which offers alternatives, but those differences are narrowing over time.

    It is also important to recognize that the ‘absence’ of dissent plays a very critical role in a democracy… and so, the absence of information is as critical to the manipulation of our culture as is misinformation or explicit deceit. And those who are ‘sharing in the profits’ are much less apt to dissent in regards to our corporate empire than those who do not see themselves as benefiting. And of course the non-investment class has increasingly less of a voice as a result.

  80. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Long term:

    “Corporations are certainly not the root of evil. They are merely collections of people working in their common interest.”

    Corporations exist for one reason, and one reason, only: To shield people from liability for their actions. There can be no good outcome from such a legal roadblock. People can work together just fine without a new “person” being created to take responsibility when things go wrong. If you disagree, please name one positive social benefit of incorporation that could not be achieved by means of contract between individuals.

  81. bleedingheartoftexas says:

    I agree with the sentiment, but this is not a new dynamic. This country was founded as a capitalist economy, not a democracy. Read Howard Zinn, the fix has been in from the beginning. The only reason there has ever been even the appearance of a Left/Right dynamic is because the corporatists benefit from having the rabble divided. And so the corporate PR firms (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) report the issues in those divisive terms. Liberal/conservative, black/white, beliver/non-believer, new immigrant/descendant of immigrants. Any convenient wedge to keep the torches unlit and the pitchforks in the barn.

  82. Mannwich says:

    @DL: I would call that a “false choice”, or red herring you’re throwing out there. Please.

  83. peter north says:

    Amen, Barry. I’ve been saying forever, it isn’t that the Dems and the Republicans are too far apart to cooperate, it’s that they are too much the same. You just have to ask the right questions, which sadly, our MSM has lost the will (or ability?) to do.

  84. The issue is individual versus collective rights. It is as old as the republic. Individuals, alone, are necessarily far less powerful than individuals allied in groups, like corporations, unions, political parties, etc. Yet the whole thesis of America’s founding is that individuals, not groups, have rights that the state is obligated to protect (we find these truths to be self-evident, etc). Aggregations of individuals have no such inherent rights, but are far more powerful politically. That’s the tension.

  85. DuchessGateau says:

    Yes! Our lives have become a battle of BIG Corporations vs. Everybody else. TRILLIONS of dollars eclipse the power of millions. You will be highly encouraged to vote on issues and candidates which make no difference. On all important issues, a COMMITTEE OF THREE people shall be appointed to decide in favor of Big Corporations! Alternatively, a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court or 1 Special Prosecutor will be allowed to distract and decide the outcome. This is all possible now that money has been used to buy off every level of government.

  86. Minderbender says:

    Barry,

    Prescient, relevant insight into our current history.

    Glad to see you join Lafayette, Jefferson (and other founding fathers), most vividly manifested and rendered in Andrew Jackson, with examples all the way up to today, including, ironically, both Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, in their own ways.

    Welcome to to Tea Party (perhaps misnamed, certainly mis-described and misunderstood by most.

    Best way to get a feel for the tea party essence is to strip away all those left-right descriptors and instead see that at it’s core (not whole, but a good starting point) that it is a group of *small business* owners and other *individuals* – i.e. the folks that our constitution was written for (in it’s day, small business shopkeepers, farmers, individuals).

    This is unique in history, and and the recurring emergence of this *individual interest* vs all others is the fudamental insight – as you yourself have now artfully articulated.

    Believe it or not, on this score, you are squarely on point with the Tea Partiers in this respect – you ought to take your own advice and avoid any pre-judgements based on all the left right descriptors of this conglomeration of voluntary associated groups, and write about it’s essence, a clarifying clarion call amidst the muddle and noise – more articles and a book.

    (Would love to see you take this on in radio and TV, but not sure that would work – any discussion usually reverts to the so-called left-right issues and descriptors within a couple of minutes)

  87. Patrick Neid says:

    Food Inc. and King Corn are two very entertaining documentaries that explore corporate behaviour and how it impacts the heartland so to speak. The link between Congress, lobbyists and the Corporations is made very clear. Some of the laws they have passed are truly amazing. As a side effect it may make you a vegetarian!

  88. ToNYC says:

    If you will permit an antecedent to this Bigger Picture: the wind beneath the wings of the Corporations is the Federal Reserve member banks production of credit.
    The background I found relevant has been up on the macroeconomic forum at ZH and some exposure.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/forums/zero-hedge-forums/macroeconomic-forum

    Soon there will be a post up there on the Central Bank business monopoly model being engineered in our cultural face by Monsanto, highlighting the work of
    http://www.percyschmeiser.com/
    who won the Right Livelihood Award in 2007 in his mano à corporat prevail against Monsanto.
    Donald Rumsfeld’s was CEO in early Reagan days (after he led Aspartame development at Searle) in the grand design to own the seed of all edible crops on the planet…culminating in the Terminator gene and ownership proven by surviving Round-Up…it’s a Witch!!!
    The post will be titled “No Private Central Seed (MON) Bank!”
    We are social animals and need to ride the magic animal spirit of the Capitalist Tiger but not become one.
    Welcome aboard!

  89. Tom K says:

    “It was a right-winger who bailed out all of the big banks, Fannie Mae, and AIG in the first place;”

    Let’s not mention that the vast majority of house Republican’s voted against these corporate bailouts. But mentioning it would destroy the whole narrative, wouldn’t it? I find it hilarous that so many folks on the left (yes Barry, you included) think they know how fiscal conservatives (not Republicans) and libertarians think about corporate welfare.

    Throughout Bush’s term, contributions to the GOP fell and GOP party affiliation fell. Liberals, especially those in the MSM, mis-read this, believing the country was moving ideologically to the left. In fact, they had it completely wrong. Fiscal conservatives were highly critical of the GOP throughout Bush’s term. There were countless articles and post written on the subject, but nobody on the left ever took notice. Here’s just one example: http://www.nypress.com/article-9913-the-conservative-case-against-george-w-bush.html

    Do true fiscal conservatives and Libertarians support handouts to corporations? Not at all, but you wouldn’t know that from listening to the MSM. The left doesn’t understand corporate welfare runs exactly counter to Capitalism and free-market principles. Most companies don’t want to compete in a true Capitalistic system if they can get an edge through government. All that said, I disagree with the notion that the main problem we face is a Corporatocracy. The problem we face is we live in a country where the people can vote themselves goods and services they don’t have to pay for.

    ~~~~

    BR: 1) Your facts are wrong; The GOP vote was 108 to 91 — hardly a “vast majority.”

    2) You are still thinking horizontally instead of vertically.

    Open Secrets:

    Members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 had received 41 percent more money from the financial sector over their congressional careers than those who opposed the legislation, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics has found. In Wednesday’s Senate vote and in the House vote Monday that defeated an earlier version of the bailout proposal, campaign contributions from the finance, insurance and real estate correlated similarly to lawmakers’ votes.

    Overall, the 263 House members who supported the bailout Friday have received an average of $833,077 since 1989 from the industries that were most eager to see the rescue bill passed. The 171 opponents have collected $589,417, on average. In the 2007-2008 election cycle alone, the finance sector has contributed at least $182,532 to congressman voting “yea” and $138,040 to those who voted “nay,” a difference of 32 percent.

    What matters most in casting their votes was not a left/right, Dem/GOP affiliation. It is who got much money from their corporate backers.

  90. yuan says:

    I would suggest a small correction:
    The Center-right Extreme-right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations.

  91. Arequipa01 says:

    Federal Prosecutor in Stevens Case Commits Suicide

    http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/09/federal-prosecutor-in-stevens-case-commits-suicide.html

    Wake up and Get the point.

  92. louis says:

    And the first battle is being played out now- Strategic Default- Us vs Them.

  93. Members of Congress, especially in the Senate, have freely admitted that fund raising activities begin the week after the last Election. Aspirants are buying elections with multi-million dollar campaigns. Your electoral process has become the laughing stock of the globe and drafting/passing legislation has mostly become dysfunctional. Even the long admired committee system and its hearings are becoming tainted. Too many are beholden to their paymasters … or at least give the appearance of same. All matters of electoral reform are required urgently.

  94. Robespierre says:

    @Minderbender Says:

    @Barry,

    “including, ironically, both Michael Moore and Glenn Beck, in their own ways.

    Welcome to to Tea Party (perhaps misnamed, certainly mis-described and misunderstood by most.”

    Can’t wait for Barry’s answer….

  95. DeDude says:

    I would say that pro-corporations vs. pro-individual is just one more of those pro-X vs. pro-Y items and that they are all still valid. It is probably one of the bigger ones and it actually always existed. Indeed many of the ones you list are just another way of saying corporations vs individuals. For many of these X vs Y issues it has been divided such that democrats took one side and republicans the other side. The thing that makes the corporations vs individual issue unique is that with the huge amount of money available to them, the corporations managed to brand one party (republicans) as being pro-individual at the same time as that party constantly passed legislation that served corporations over individuals (corporate control of media can help you do miracles). This strengthened the corporations enough that they could begin taking more power within the democratic party. At this time corporations own 99% of the GOP and a majority of the democratic party and their takeover of the supreme court and associated blocking of any attempt of reducing corporate strangleholds on financing elections, counting votes (Diebold machines), and distribution of information (destroying internet neutrality) will soon put corporations at such a level of control that only armed uprising will be able to dislodge them.

    I disagree that the GOP vs democrat debate is irrelevant for this issue. It is only within the left of the democratic party that there has been any serious movement towards protecting individuals against abuse of corporations. I agree that democrats have been seriously corrupted by corporate influence, but there is still a strong fraction within that party that are fighting for the right things. They need the full backing of all of us to have a chance of pushing the corporations back out of the democratic party and give people a realistic way to fight our corporate masters. You have it totally wrong when you say a “left winger continued to pour more money into”, it was a right of center democrat that did it, and the left wingers in congress did not have the power to push back against it. There is still plenty of difference between the two main parties and only lazy fools will state that they are “the same”. Look at the legislations and amendments proposed, and you will find one party being the unapologetic corporate servant on issues such as consumer protection (against corporate greed). But I would be the first to say that I wish there was a lot more difference on a lot more issues, and I wish we had a party (name doesn’t matter) that would be strongly pro-individuals rights against corporations. But without an electorate sophisticated and engaged enough to recognize the clear nuances in corporate servantship between the current parties, how could that happen. Just look at how easy the tea-party was taken over (created?) by corporate players who co-opted less government (oppression of individuals) into less government control over corporations. Less power to “we the people” give more power to them the corporations – yet the peeps just peep along with their corporate masters pushing their way towards the slaughter house.

  96. tsk tsk says:

    Do Non-Profits get a pass in this theory? Non-profits are still incorporated entities but their profits remain untaxed. NPOs exert substantial influence over policy makers yet seem to get a reprieve in this discussion. Just because they are supposed to ‘do good’ for society not all of them do. All too many are resource hogs, experience managerial waste and unaccountability. That and we are all aware of non-profits which are basically tax-deduction dumping grounds for the rich.

  97. [...] The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations | The Big Picture By citizennyc, on September 27th, 2010 By Barry Ritholtz – September 27th, 2010, 9:30AMvia The Left Right Paradigm is Over: Its You vs. Corporations | The Big Picture. [...]