P. Edronkin

We Don't Live Any Longer In A Yellow Submarine

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We don't seem to be living any longer in a yellow submarine,as The Beatles loved to say; the party of welfare is over. In these last years, democracies around the world have been changing and in my opinion, they are losing their true value as the representation of the will of the people; this has a lot to do with the immense expansion and growth of many big commercial corporations, which are becoming so powerful and significant that governments cannot ignore their lobby power and relevance anymore, be this what politicians want or not.

Naturally, corporations are looking forward to make money; that is what they exist for, and they will do whatever they can to achieve their goals, even slipping into the realm of the illegal, sometimes. But acting like a mafia is something that corporations need less than ever, for their present power allows them to exert legal and legitimate influence to get what they want, including laws and regulations that favour them.

In other words, do you think that senators, representatives and politicians in general will respond to you, the little citizen, or the big corporation next door that can bribe them, offer a free lunch and even find the skeletons in any politician's drawer? Some present-day corporations have a gross internal product that exceeds what countries like Belgium produce every year.

And even in other departments, citizens are at a disadvantage: tax deals, cuts and management is a typical issue. For example, your government, in order to fetch one million euros at a rate of one thousand per citizen needs to do the job one thousand times, right? Well, with a corporation they may need to do the job only once, and so they spend less, they can cut their own costs and they have less trouble.

Indeed, government officials will experiment a tendency to favour the corporation that makes them work and spend less than one thousand pesky, protesting citizens who whine all the time about taxes, and at the same time, the officials of the big corp. will indeed know that such a difference may give them some leverage; thus, the big corporation may get an exceptional, tailor-made rebate in their taxes. The government can afford to do that because they spend less anyway, and the corporation thus ends earning more than you and with a couple of new friends among political and government officials.

What they both need is that people remain quiet; nobody wants riots, protests and so on, but as long as people can be contended, that is okay. If corporations have big earnings, they need to have an efficient workforce, and that means - to a great extent - firing people and reducing salaries; but as long as there are no disturbances, things may go well, and riots usually start when unemployment goes over 20-25% of the work force, but that means that a lot of people will fall below the poverty line long before they become restless.

This is no economic growth and progress: there is a subtle but deep difference between seeking to provide welfare and opportunities for the people, and keeping them minimally satisfied so as not to produce social upheaval and turmoil: I think that we still don't realise that we are now living under a very different paradigm in our world. I also believe that such a model of things cannot last forever, for it is contradictory with the interests and aspirations of individual human beings, but how long we will have to endure it?

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