By Christopher Overfelt
Corporate tyranny in the United States is evidenced by the privatization of profit and the socialization of debt. This means that the positive consequences of corporate culture (stock markets rising, skyrocketing CEO pay, massive profits to shareholders) get funneled into the hands of a wealthy few, while the negative consequences (low wages, unaffordable healthcare, unaffordable housing, unaffordable education, an unstable climate, massive debt) are funneled onto the middle and lower classes.
The recent failure of the Texas electrical grid is a good example of this. The corporations that supply Texans with electrical power have reaped massive profits by avoiding regulation and failing to adequately maintain their systems. Guess who gets left on the hook when those systems fail? Not the corporations. Another good example is the failure of the US Senate to pass a $15 an hour minimum wage. Corporations have spent billions of dollars fighting proposals for a higher minimum wage, simply because it will cut into their profits.
While this can sound discouraging, as activists we know that our political systems will not fix themselves. Only the patient work of educating ourselves and those around us about corporate tyranny can break the stranglehold on our governmental systems. Politicians of all stripes have no motivation to buck this system unless the public holds them accountable. That’s us! And a long series of small actions is what inevitably leads to greater change.
So think big, work small, take a break when you need to, and know that there are millions just like you working towards the same goals.
—Christopher Overfelt serves on the PeaceWorks-KC Board of Directors.