Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Social Contract?

Let's face it.  The way things stand now, our government is a farce.  It has been hollowed out by for-profit, multinational corporations who prey upon citizens qua consumers, and our governments at all levels aid and abet this evil because our government officials have come to believe it is good. 

As a result, the social contract between U.S. citizens and their governments has been rescinded, yet, short of violence, we are powerless to take back the personal liberty we gave up under natural law in exchange for protection and promotion of the general welfare.

Or are we powerless?  The fact is that the "free market" is all about scale.  The bigger you are, the more market power you have.  The entire system is geared to prostrate itself before the largest market participants, which explains why giant corporations have accrued so much political power and control our government.

But is there any reason U.S. citizens cannot recreate their "social contract" through an actual contract by creating their own corporation (the new citizen) that negotiates on their behalf to get the benefits of scale?  The citizen's corporation could be run as a non-profit, or as a for profit business within strict guidelines.  Over time, it could take over many state functions and turn back the tide of "privatization," and by so doing, the citizens' corporation would weaken the power of the governments, and, therefore, the power of the giant multinational corporations that rule our lives today.

Imagine re-expressing Jeffersonian ideals of humanity, community and liberty in terms of corporate law instead of natural law. What would you get? We’ve been conditioned to think in terms of for-profit private business on the one hand, and the government on the other. The neoliberal movement has effectively demonized and co-opted the government for the benefit of for-profit private businesses, transforming citizens into consumers and leaving them to the mercy of these corporation. But can for-profit corporations compete against a massive non-profit corporation that dwarfs them in size by several orders of magnitude?