How Business Ate My Brain

Business ZombieListen to any politician or public policy wonk and you hear strong, unbroken business first rhetoric.  In fact if you think Citizens United is strange for essentially elevating corporations to citizen status, listen to politicians.  One would be forgiven to think that government represents business first, people second.

Has it always been this way?

In Minnesota some people want to slow down and take a look at sand mining operations developing primarily in the state’s southeastern counties.  Sand is used in frac mining — another business-first juggernaut that might need scrutiny — and there is a lot of sand miners need in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Some people living in those areas want development to slow down, primarily to study impact on the environment and the local economy.

But you will hear politicians push back.  They don’t want the business to go elsewhere.

Frac Sand Mine near LaCrosse, WI.

Frac Sand Mine near LaCrosse, WI.

Well, what if it might be preferable for that business to go elsewhere?  Suppose the frac sand mining operations cause long-term harm that outweighs short-term gain, for example?

Well, maybe, but the Business Zombies don’t give those possibilities much of a chance.  As quickly as a pragmatic argument like that emerges, it is chomped down by the Business Zombies.

This is just one example.  We could consider many others, like frac mining itself.  From the mad sweep to deregulate industry to dismantling pro-(domestic) business trade policy to enthusiastic tax giveaways, it is all done in the name of business.

American Workers ButtonOn the other end we no longer find the political will to fund important social contracts that serve people, programs like Medicare and Social Security; we compromise our environmental protection laws; we cut funding for schools; we support unbalanced tax policies that hurt families; and the list goes on.

Why?  Because the Business Zombies have taken over.  Government of business, by business, for business…especially if you’re a multinational, tax-evading, increasingly foreign-owned business.  Domestic business?  Well, you have had your chance.  Quietly go away.

I understand the importance of business and jobs, but business and jobs don’t preclude some thoughtful commonsense.  The fear of being marked as anti-business in this country leads to too many things happening too recklessly.  Everything is put into a context that business means everything.  It doesn’t.  If a business destroys the land, ruins the local economy, and shifts long-term priorities away from people, that’s a bad thing.  The costs are too high.

Where is the harm in asking whether something good for business is bad for people?

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One thought on “How Business Ate My Brain

  1. Pingback: Market Society: What I Thought Michael Sandel Might Have Addressed | A Little Tour in Yellow

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