Corporate leaders become politicians; politicians become corporate leaders. Weapons contractors lobby politicians for more war. Prison contractors lobby for tougher sentencing. Private intelligence companies advise the State Department on foreign policy, policy which in turn benefits the intelligence companies. The Central Intelligence Agency hires Amazon to store sensitive information in its cloud.
The largest corporations operating multi-nationally have become so powerful they have destroyed our democratic process. Their lobbyists write legislation; they purchase our legislators’ votes; they assume key unelected positions within our government, and they secure subsidies for their industries. There is no true free market, for the Federal Reserve banks pick winners who get big low interest loans and losers who get small high interest loans. Big corporations use this cheap money to expand, putting other smaller and often higher quality competitors out of business and they inflate their own stocks. This corporatocracy has drained the middle class economy; pushing free trade agreements, corporations have taken manufacturing overseas to exploit those work forces and environments. A huge slice of our tax money is used to enrich the intelligence and weapons industry while our infrastructure crumbles. Our public assets are being sold to private industry, roads, bridges and tunnels, parks, mass transportation systems, parking meters, and utilities. Even our US Postal Service is being considered for possible privatization. Even the criminal justice system, the military and the IRS use private contractors. Big business is running this country. The government is being used to collect taxes in order to divert them to a select few in private industry. We see this in the health care industry, in education, and soon we will see this more in social services. If people thought government could be inefficient and not answerable to the public, the situation is much worse now.
Although democratic government may need and benefit from free market capitalism–using the services of well-equipped companies–is there a point at which a corporation might begin to take control of government and limit individual freedom and threaten individual security? How can a Direct Democracy address the separation of business and state?