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

Peace Pole Dedication Honors Diversity

Marylhurst University dedicated a Peace Pole on campus in January 2015, a gift from the Lake Oswego Rotary Club.

JTC Production Includes Work by Ivonne Saed

Ivonne Saed, English faculty, is one of the Los Porteños writers whose stories and poems will be performed as part of a Jewish Theatre Collaborative show January 25 - 27, 2015.

Calendar

See All Events

February 02, 2015

Why Did so Many Succumb to the Siren Song of Nazism?

Professor Brian Els, Department of History at University of Portland will speak about how Anthony Doerr’s novel, All the Light We Cannot See, tou...

READ MORE

February 12, 2015

Gero-Punk Salon

Join Jennifer Sasser, Ph.D., Gero-Punk Project founder, for an evening of engaging discussion. In her words, "To be a gero-punk is to bravely and c...

READ MORE

February 15, 2015

Music in the Woods: Justin Kagan, Bill Crane and the Musical Emergency Response Team

Cellist Justin Kagan and pianist Bill Crane perform with Musical Emergency Response Team. “MERT” takes on challenging scores and works urgently...

READ MORE

GIVE

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

DONATE NOW

©2013 Marylhurst University