June 22, 2003
The Greens—Economic Democracy

(See this post for background on this series.)

Eliminate Corporate Personhood: Legislation or constitutional amendment to end the legal fiction of corporate personhood.

In other words, eliminate the constitutional protections extended to individuals. Corporations and their assets exist at the whim of the government.

End Corporate Limited Liability: Make corporate shareholders bear the same liabilities as other property owners.

Gee, there's an incentive for investment. If the company's officers engage in misconduct, the shareholders are the ones who end up paying.

Federal Chartering of Interstate Corporations

As opposed to the states doing so. Tenth amendment, anyone?

Periodic Review of Corporate Charters: A public corporate charter review process for each corporation above $20 million in assets every 20 years to see if it is serving the public interest according to social and ecological as well as financial criteria.

And who decides whether the company is meeting its goals, and whether or not it serves the public interest? I am not particularly fond of Microsoft, but I can make the argument that it is serving the public interest because the increasing ease of use of MS products has opened up the market for computers and internet access. The purpose of a corporation is not to serve social and ecological needs.

Strengthen Anti-Trust Enforcement: Require breakup of any firm with more than 10% market share unless it makes a compelling case every five years in a public regulatory proceeding that it serves the public interest to keep the firm intact.

Ten percent? There are few fields out there where the leading company has less than 10% market share, What this proposal means is that companies that innovate and gain market share will be dismantled as a result of their innovation. That never serves the public interest.

Democratic Production: Establish the right of citizens to vote on the expansion or phasing out of products and industries, especially in areas of dangerous or toxic production.

And you that NIMBYism was bad now. Wait until all heavy industry is voted out of existence.

Workplace Democracy: Establish the right of workers at every enterprise over 10 employees to elect supervisors and managers and to determine how to organize work.

That is the purpose of management. What they are describing already exists—we call it of a union. Don't we already have more than enough of them?

Worker Control of Worker Assets-Pension Funds and ESOP Shares: Pension funds representing over $5 trillion in deferred wages account for nearly one-third of financial assets in the US. 11 million workers participate in employee stock-option plans (ESOPs). Reform ERISA, labor laws, and ESOP tax provisions to enable workers to democratically control their assets.

And the first time a pension fund goes bankrupt due to mismanagement, there will be calls to have the government step in and recapitalize the fund.

It's interesting that they advocate personal management of pension funds, but bitterly oppose social security privatization. Why?

Democratic Conversion of Big Business: Mandatory break-up and conversion to democratic worker, consumer, and/or public ownership on a human scale of the largest 500 US industrial and commercial corporations that account for about 10% of employees, 50% of profits, 70% of sales, and 90% of manufacturing assets.

Nationalization. No investor on Earth would ever again invest in any US business. Further, this plan once again rewards companies that are innovative and successful by destroying them.

Democratic Conversion of Small and Medium Business: Financial and technical incentives and assistance for voluntary conversion of the 22.5 million small and medium non-farm businesses in the US to worker or consumer cooperatives or democratic public enterprises. Mandate that workers and the community have the first option to buy on preferential terms in cases of plant closures, the sale or merger of significant assets, or the revocation of corporate charters.

Even the smaller businesses are not exempt from the pogrom.

I'd like to know their definition of "small business". Is a one-man operation a business? Would Andrewsullivan.com (with its two employees) be forced to break up or become a federally chartered entity, with all of its assets and profits going to the government?

Democratic Banking: Mandatory conversion of the 200 largest banks with 80% of all bank assets into democratic publicly-owned community banks. Financial and technical incentives and assistance for voluntary conversion of other privately-owned banks into publicly-owned community banks or consumer-owned credit unions.

After we destroy the business world, we're going to wipe out the financial services sector as well.

Democratize Monetary Policy and the Federal Reserve System: Place a 100% reserve requirement on demand deposits in order to return control of monetary policy from private bankers to elected government. Selection of Federal Reserve officers by our elected representatives, not private bankers. Strengthen the regional development mission of the regional Federal Reserve Banks by directing them to target investments to promote key policy objectives, such as high-wage employment, worker and community ownership, ecological production, and inner city reconstruction.

I don't trust our elected representatives with the money they currently control. I sure as hell don't trust them to elect people to control the entire nation's money supply. I suppose the Federal Reserve Banks are going to have to invest to create high-wage employment, after nationalization destroys the sources.

posted on June 22, 2003 01:47 PM


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