Corporate special interest groups blanket the airwaves with a conceptual model of our economy as a machine that should be left alone and not tampered with. This model, or frame, encourages inaction and the view that government somehow “tampers” with the machine when it acts in any way, shape or form.
This is, of course, ridiculous. We’ve always created rules for economies. Without them, we’d have black markets, a slave trade, child labor, company stores, and endless exploitation.
How do we know this? History. These things happened until we fought against them and made markets better. They will happen again if we don’t fight.
Yet many people who buy into this model of the economy as a machine are convinced that all we need to do is leave the machine alone and it will work better. Over and over the media repeats this to the point where many recite it as common sense.
The best way to address the faulty model people are being taught in the media is to illustrate a better model. I’d like to see a commercial that says “here’s the problem, money in politics, and this is how things should work.” Without further ado, here’s commercial #02: Democracy.
Ask most people in America how our country really works and it doesn’t take too long to get to the following picture.
Government works for certain large, multinational corporate special interests and we, the people, are at the bottom.
Large multinationals pour billions into organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and these groups, in turn, help elect “friendly” politicians and pass legislation that benefits those at the top.
The problem is, quite simply, money in politics.
How do we fix this? Smaller government?
Smaller government doesn’t get the money out of politics. What happens if we remove government altogether?
Would this solve the problem?
Not really. We would simply be subject to the most powerful corporate special interests.
What we really want is a return to democracy.
Government should serve the people. And corporations should operate for the good of our country and for our people.
Remember, the American Revolution was fought as much against a monopoly – the British East India Company – as it was the British.
After we won our independence, we didn’t allow corporate charters for nearly 100 years.
When we started chartering corporations again for public works projects like railroads, we were careful. Corporate charters could be revoked if they caused significant harm.
To fix the problem, we need to revive democracy and create a working economy. One that serves the public good again and not just the wealthy and corporate special interests.
We need a return to democracy where government and industry are by the people, for the people.
NOTE: Have you ever wondered how so many bad conservative candidates get elected? They don’t win on any merits of their own. They win because corporate special interest groups spend a huge amount of money on advertising views like bigger vs. smaller government. There’s not one, but at least a couple billion dollar media networks dedicated to this propaganda. Once people buy into this view, politicians that are constantly attacking government “make sense.” If we could revive the idea of democracy through the media, it would help us win on a broad range of issues.
Why? Because the issues and ideas we talk about “make sense” within the frame of democracy. When fighting corruption, for example, smaller government simply makes no sense. If anything, smaller government simply costs less to purchase. This is why we should be talking about democracy, what it means, and how it works as much as possible.
|David Akadjian is the author of The Little Book of Revolution:
A Distributive Strategy for Democracy.