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

Vicki Wilson Leads Revitalization Project

Vicki Wilson, art faculty, is helping to revitalize her southeast Portland neighborhood through the Foster Window Project: a community-based art project utilizing vacant storefront windows.

Jennifer Sasser Published in International Journal

An essay by Dr. Jennifer Sasser, gerontology program director, was published in the International Journal of Reminiscence and Lifelong Learning in January 2015.

Calendar

See All Events

January 03, 2015 – March 12, 2015

The Faces of Marylhurst Project

Renowned Northwest artist Dennis Cunningham has an annual tradition – make a self-portrait. In the summer of 2014, Cunningham incorporated a "hig...

READ MORE

March 06, 2015

MARYLHURST MUSIC DEPARTMENT PRESENTS Duke Ellington's Sacred Concerts, Part II

The second of a three-year project performing Duke Ellington's complete set of SACRED CONCERTS, for choir, jazz band, soloists and dancers. With t...

READ MORE

March 08, 2015

Marylhurst Community Orchestra: Winter Concert

Though the weather outside be frightful, join us rain or shine for an afternoon of classic music selections.

READ MORE

GIVE

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

DONATE NOW

©2013 Marylhurst University