Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Apple Drops iPhone Price - New iPod Unveiled

Apple dropped the price of the iPhone by about $200 (buyers of iPhones during the past weekend are hopping mad, thouigh) and also updated the iPod line, including a new iPod Touch.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Online Safety Tips

The office of the Illinois Attorney General has posted online safety tips for families.

What is phishing? Be aware of how to spot this particularly insidious online scam.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Radical Capitalism: The Divine Right of Corporations

Nowhere in the US Constitution will you find a list of rights for corporations, but history and economics are taught in civics classes as if voting is democracy. What's wrong with this concept? Isn't voting for public officials the essence of democracy?

In the economy of 1776, one could argue that the essence of the economy was agrarian and at that, the single-family farm. What we know and love so well as "The Corporation" was a late-comer to US history, but you would not know that based on what is taught in public schools.

Today, corporations are projected by (corporate) media and public schools as if they were sacred, inviolate institutions of commerce; Thomas Jefferson as CEO. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the most invisible public policy questions in American today is, how do the institutions of corporate work, that so dominates Western commerce, intersect with the principles of democratic rule? Are corporations free and equal cultural and legal entities analogous to individual citizens?

How odd it is that we have come to accept what are demonstrably despotic institutions as part and parcel of democratic governance! There is nothing democratic about corporations. They are run as fiefdoms, as independent blocks of feudal systems where governance is anything but democratic. Shareholders are the plantation masters of the modern plantation workplace.

How odd, how astonishing it is to conceive of voting for your workplace office "officials." If a little democracy in the realm of electing government officials is a good thing, expanding the concept to enfranchise workers at General Motors to elect the CEO is even better. There is no reason why employees of a corporation do not vote for the CEO other than that the stockholders and their chummy CEO's don't want workers to have such power, and furthermore, CEO's don't want to be answerable to the employees. How ordinary, how self-serving that such an idea is not anywhere near the radar of corporate TV.

No other single institution has more power over the lives of citizens in Western cultures than that of the corporation--an institution unheard of by the founding fathers and mothers.

The constitution of the US speaks to the manner in which public officials shall be elected and what powers of governance are allocated among them. The Constitution does not address the nature and disposition of corporations, but we would do well to do so ourselves now.

Democracy in the workplace is an idea that will never be received into the house of corporations, for obvious reasons. The redistribution of wealth and power from the bottom 80 percent of the people, to the top one percent can transpire only as long as the bottom 80 percent are, in effect, corporate feudal vassals. As long as workers are told from kindergarten onward that the elitist centralized power of the workplace is inviolate, and that workers have no claim to power, then money and power will concentrate in the tyranny of the few.

The single most ponderous, and pre-natally subliminal, propaganda pitch perpetrated in modern history is that of what I call the "divine right of corporations." The difficult road to broad social consciousness of the economic despotism represented by work performed in corporations, and that such work is falsely cloaked in concepts such as "American" and "freedom" and "democracy" will be the achievement of future generations. The principle of the governors governing government at the pleasure and discretion of the governed is well establish. The progressive evolution of democracy logically expands this principal to include those governors governing in the corporate workplace likewise serving at the pleasure of the governed workers.

Nothing is so natural and logical, yet so far from the present sphere of public discourse on the structure and function of modern society. This is no accident of fate, nor happenstance. Corporations control the modern media. Corporations promote greater centralization of power and wealth as an expected and predictable function of self-promotion. Discussions about the manner in which economic decisions effect workers will never be promoted in mass media. The kings of corporations have no natural right to power. That corporations are structured to only permit management from the top down is an element of the illusion of the divine right of corporations. The power structure is as arbitrary and capricious as any monarchy.

Citizen somnolence is a function of massive propaganda in two forms: Public schools by what is not discussed. Children are taught, by omission, that the distribution of power in the workplace is not within the sphere of public debate. Citizens are presented as having no rights to power in the workplace other than to quit the job.

Take this job and shove it--a famous line from a popular song, exemplifies the limited realm of power in the workplace worldview of American employees. Our job as progressives is to transform this commonplace construct, moving it away from the passive to the active.

The revolution that prompts Johnny McJob to sing--Take this CEO and fire him--will not be televised...but it's coming. American workers will fight for the right to control their own destiny within the workplace. Freedom from the tyranny of the workplace will arrive when corporate management are emplaced by elections held by corporate employees.

No idea is more subversive, and yet no other idea is more natural. Recoil from such relative charged labels as "radical" and "reactionary." Those espousing the abolition of slavery in 1820 were the "radicals" of economic and social theory of their time. The economic revolution of abolishing the corporate power structure that we know today is equivalent to abolishing the economic and political enslavement of blacks in antebellem America. Never, ever allow the elite to proscribe reality. The realm of what is just, and what is possible, is of our own making.

Control of the human imagination is the path to personal and cultural freedom.

(...more from a more eloquent and cogent thinker, Naomi Klein)

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