If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you’ll have noted that I’m quick to hop on the soapbox to decry corporatism whenever I can. Your probably like… ‘there goes Rick again, lambasting the very institutions our modern societies depend upon to survive. Doesn’t he know we’d die off without them?’
Well, yes, dear reader, I know that corporations are not without their merit, and I am aware that competition and innovation in the business world are great things. So, just to be clear, know that I am not anti-capitalism nor am I anti-business. Instead, understand that I am anti-corporatism, and therein lies the distinction.
See, successful corporations can grow so large and influential that their actions begin to distort the free market, subtly manipulating laws and policies until competing voices – be them from people or smaller businesses – get squashed in the pursuit of profits. This is bad for pretty much everyone, except maybe shareholders.
Case and point: Canadian pill manufacturer Novartis. Novartis has been taking legal action in the UK to make state-run hospitals use Novartis’ eye drug that costs over $1100 per shot instead of a cheaper yet equally effective alternative costing less than a $100.
Shocking, isn’t it? Instead of, say, lowering their prices according to market forces, they try to change the rules to shut out any rivals. Classy, I know. And when they were kids I bet they took their ball and went home.
Still, seemingly underhanded dealings like these are common place in the world of big finance. Even if it means a company that provides medicine – something inherently good – rewrites the law to extort more money from the sick, so be it. As long as no one gets immediately arrested, it’s just good business.
So, if I’m quick to harp on corporations for being dangerous to society, it’s because they are! And only through increased awareness will more people come to recognize these giant institutions as real, ever-present threats to liberty and democracy.
Then, once the danger of corporatism lands on the radar of enough people, we can take some major steps to reign in the power of these mega-corporations. This way we can ensure that, while one may choose to make use of the valuable services these businesses offer, we won’t have to pay them with our freedom or our future.