Marylhurst University

Skip to content »

Article: People or Corporations? Restoring the Common Good

Excerpt from People or Corporations? Restoring the Common Good by Barry Bennett, The Humanist, January-February 2012.

When Maine governor Paul LePage ordered the removal of a mural depicting the state's labor history from the Department of Labor headquarters because it was "not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals," he perfectly (if unknowingly) captured our economic system's loss of purpose.

There's a reason it's the department of labor, not the department of business. The point of capitalism used to be to create prosperous lives for the American people—most of whom labor. But today it has no point beyond the health of corporations—the means have become the end.

This shift began at least thirty-five years ago. As rising economic powers threatened U.S. economic hegemony, corporations reacted by moving offshore and slashing wages and benefits.

Financial analysts hailed this harsh but profitable response: the massive layoffs were "long overdue" and showed a willingness to make "tough decisions." Meanwhile, the analysts noted, increases in the unemployment rate caused "euphoria" in the bond market, whereas a brief fall in unemployment to a fifteen-year low was proof that the U.S. economy was "too strong" and "way out of line."

The destruction of people's lives was a collateral effect; what mattered was that profits were preserved.

Corporations and the common good weren't always at odds. The first corporations were individually chartered by the states to serve a particular public purpose—building a bridge, say, or a turnpike.

Read the Full Article on TheHumanist.org

Related News

See All News

David Denny Presents at International Conference

Dr. David Denny, culture & media department chair, presented a paper on Lars von Trier's Antichrist at the International Zizek Studies Conference in Cincinnati in April 2014.

Jim Davis Presents at National Conference

Dr. Jim Davis, human sciences faculty, presented workshops on senior policy and advocacy at the Aging in America conference in San Diego in March 2014.

Calendar

See All Events

April 01, 2014 – April 30, 2014

Jordan VanSise: Down the Up Staircase

A series of photographs created by Marylhurst art student Jordan VanSise as the North American Finalist for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards ...

READ MORE

April 01, 2014 – April 29, 2014

Streff Gallery: The William Stafford Calligraphy Project - Portland Society for Calligraphy

For this year's Portland Society for Calligraphy member exhibition, members were invited to create an artwork using the words of William Stafford a...

READ MORE

April 14, 2014 – May 17, 2014

The Art Gym: Vanessa Renwick

The Art Gym presents Vanessa Renwick. A filmmaker Renwick has been making short movies and media installations for over twenty years. She lives in...

READ MORE

GIVE

Support Marylhurst University. Gifts of all sizes make a difference!

DONATE NOW

©2013 Marylhurst University