Citizen Action Monitor

“It’s clear now that simply exposing big business atrocities will have no deterrent effects.”

Governments, corporate scoundrels, opposition parties rarely mention corporate malfeasance — We are at an impasse.

No 1675 Posted by fw, May 17, 2016

Ed Finn

Ed Finn

“Having recently become a nonagenarian, I spend a lot of time these days remembering the past, as most people in their 90s tend to do. But, more and more, I also think about the future I won’t be around to see, and with mounting concern about the kind of world my grandchildren will be living in. If current economic, social, political, and environmental trends continue, the portents are ominous, to say the least…. There has been a tendency to perceive these and other ill-effects as separate problems, when in fact they are all connected. They can all be traced to a single source — the ideology of neoliberalism, which has come to decree the policies and preferences of both the large corporations and the governments they manipulate.” —Ed Finn

“Ed Finn: still fighting the good fight after all these years. A tireless warrior since 1942 on the progressive left in Canada.” So begins a well-deserved tribute to Finn by the National Union of Public and General Employees.

Below is a short excerpt from Part 1 of nonagenarian Finn’s three-part series, which examines the ideology of neoliberalism and the enormous harm its implementation imposes on people and the planet.

Ed’s message is important and timely. But UK author, George Monbiot, for one, thinks Most everyone just wants to watch Netflix while the free world is taken over by super rich plutocrats:

We appear to possess an almost limitless ability to sit back and watch as political life is seized by plutocrats, as the biosphere is trashed, as public services are killed or given to corporations, as workers are dragooned into zero-hour contracts. Though there are a few wonderful exceptions, on the whole, protest is muted and alternatives are shrugged away without examination. How did we acquire this superhuman passivity?

Or maybe we’re just overwhelmed by the never-ending superhuman tragedies that confront us daily? This isn’t how life was supposed to turn out.

To read the entire Part 1 of Ed’s article, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, the short excerpt below may be sufficient to whet your appetite for more.

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What we need to know about neoliberalism (before it’s too late)  by Ed Finn, rabble.ca, May 12, 2016

Having recently become a nonagenarian, I spend a lot of time these days remembering the past, as most people in their 90s tend to do. But, more and more, I also think about the future I won’t be around to see, and with mounting concern about the kind of world my grandchildren will be living in.

If current economic, social, political, and environmental trends continue, the portents are ominous, to say the least.

My anxiety has been deepened by the rapidly worsening decline in living conditions for many — poverty, inequality, unemployment, sickness, pollution, and the erosion of social and political rights, to name a few.

There has been a tendency to perceive these and other ill-effects as separate problems, when in fact they are all connected. They can all be traced to a single source — the ideology of neoliberalism, which has come to decree the policies and preferences of both the large corporations and the governments they manipulate.

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Most of us had naively thought that the exposure of blatant corporate infamy would lead to a strong political crackdown in Canada and other countries around the world, if not in the U.S. We expected that governments would act promptly to clamp regulatory restraints on corporate wrongdoers, constrain free markets, re-impose much higher business taxes, and punish financial felons with prison terms and huge fines. Instead, governments have allowed corporations to continue their iniquitous misconduct, and even lavished them with further tax cuts and subsidies.

The decision not to penalize the Wall Street firms whose insatiable greed precipitated the 2008 financial meltdown, but instead bail them out with the tax money of their victims — that was a stark disclosure of the extent to which governments have yielded political decision-making to corporations.

So it’s clear now that simply exposing big business atrocities will have no deterrent effects, either by governments or the corporate scoundrels themselves. Even the opposition parties in our legislatures rarely, if ever, mention corporate malfeasance during election campaigns or Question Periods. And since the politicians we vote for are the only ones with the authority to stop the titans of capitalism from further impoverishing billions, worsening inequality, and eventually wrecking the planet, we find ourselves at an impasse.

I’ll discuss other aspects of corporate rule in Part 2 of this three-part series. Stay tuned.

Ed Finn was Senior Editor at the CCPA and editor of the CCPA Monitor from 1994-2014. Formerly, as a journalist, he worked at The Montreal Gazette and for 14 years wrote a column on labour relations for The Toronto Star. He also served for three decades as a communications officer for several labour organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

SEE ALSO

George Carlin’s prescient political shtick, “The American Dream”, playing out before our very eyes, posted July 11, 2011 (video with transcript).

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This entry was posted on May 17, 2016 by in counterpower of one, information counterpower, political action and tagged , , .
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