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Home country: USA
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Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 14,207

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Yes, I'm writing a series of essays about the corrosive effect the shareholder primacy

doctrine has had on workers, consumers, communities and our environment.

A couple of thoughts:

There is nothing in the law that requires shareholder primacy. That doctrine is nothing but a theory. It is such because most of the players agree it is so. That's it.

As evidence, I call your attention to the corporate lawyer and law professor Lynn Stout, who in 2012 wrote a book called "The Shareholder Value Myth: How Putting Shareholders First Harms Investors, Corporations, and the Public." This is a sound book, written to refute the shareholder primacy doctrine. In the forward, Stout mentions that this 'ironclad' doctrine is relatively new - prior to about 1980, corporate officers tended to a much wider view of the purpose of a corporation. Then, the Chicago School arises, with Milton Friedman and postulates that shareholder primacy is THE way to go. So we had Enron, the BP Gulf disaster, and so on.

More people are wising up to this issue. Consider Warren's August 2018 legislation called 'The Accountable Capitalism Act.' This legislation, which would not pass in this congress, nor be signed into law by Trump, forces that fiduciary responsibility to expand to other stakeholders, not merely shareholders. I just saw Rep. Katie Porter on Maher, and she spoke about overturning that doctrine.

And, of course, against that backdrop, we have the Federal Reserve Act, which has created a system of scarcity that doesn't have to be. More people are now thinking about, and embracing Modern Monetary Theory in this vein.

The problem is, wasupaloopa, that our current system is simply unsustainable. I mean, morality aside, if we don't do something substantial to reorganize ourselves around human need as opposed to human greed, we will go extinct. That might not be a bad thing, I guess, because if you look at the effect sapiens have had on this planet (check Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens), you see that if we went extinct right now, at this very moment, ALL other species - flora and fauna - would actually be better off. That's saying something.

So, yeah, I'm an economist who tends to democratic socialism - in the sense I genuinely believe that people need to have a say in policies that affect them, at the local, state and national level. To me, that is the definition of democracy. Now, in this republic, we do that, in theory, through those we elect. Unfortunately, as Senator Whitehouse says, we need to get all this dark money and corporate corruption out of DC and our state houses, because it is a cancer.

I think Bernie has been misunderstood when he calls for a 'political revolution.' What he is saying is that when we all get fed up enough and stand up, demanding some change, that change will happen. And, you know, it can either be through this system or a bloody worldwide revolution. But that change is now an existential necessity for our species.

We should rename today's party of Trump as the 21st century Know Nothings.

The Republicans are really no longer Republicans - the have mutated into something far worse. They are now the party of Trump.

So, back in the 1850s, when the Whig party dissolved, they were replaced by the Know Nothing movement, which was was very much like today's Trumpians. It was anti-Catholic, xenophobic, and hostile to immigration, and started as a secret society. According to Wiki, adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, which is how the group came to be called the Know Nothings.

Now, we have the party of Trump. When we think about what that party now stands for, and about the polarization in this nation, they are just like the Know Nothings were way back when.

And, when we think about the stupid things they say, their flawed reasoning, their cruel policies, it is clear how very, very ignorant most are.

Thus, they know nothing. The Know Nothings.

Hyperbole elevated to a high art by none other than the Mooch. (From Daily Kos)

You all know I love hyperbole when it is well done.

Well, I saw this on Daily Kos https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/8/17/1879721/-The-Mooch-drags-Trump-hard-in-new-interview-Oh-my-god-this-jack-ss, and just cannot resist posting it here!

The Mooch really gets going. See if it amuses you as much as it did me:

He is so narcissistic, he doesn’t see people as people. He sees them as objects in his field of vision. You know, he doesn’t look at people—and by the way, if you and I were in his field of vision and he had a cold and the two of us had to die for him to get a Kleenex, you’re fucking dead. I mean, there’s no chance. You understand that, right?

I think the guy is losing it, mentally. He has declining mental faculties; he’s becoming more petulant; he’s becoming more impetuous. Okay, you see just by the way he’s sweating, his body’s not doing well. It’s obviously not a guy that takes care of himself, right? And he doesn’t listen to anybody. And just think about this, okay? There’s no one—there’s no Jim Mattis; there’s no Gary Cohn; there’s no one to check him anymore. Whatever my differences were with General John Kelly, after he left, this thing has completely unspooled.

Yep, gotta give it to the Mooch - when it comes to hyperbole, the guy is a real artist.

So, allow me to pose a question.

You suggest that polls are the conversation because the press is too lazy to bother learning and reporting on issues and policies.

That the media always wants to report on a 'horse race' is a fair point, and one with which I quite agree.

Your point there is no national primary is also well put.

But, where I differ with you is that by saying, "...mostly due to the laziness of the political press, who don't want to go through the bother of learning and reporting on issues and policies..." you seem to be suggesting that it is a matter of laziness and ignorance, nothing more.

I think it is more. In fact, I'm convinced that the corporations who own our media outlets exercise quite a bit of power over what these talking heads report. So, even if the talking head is well versed in the issues, they are still beholden to their owners to bring in high ratings because shareholder profits rule all else in this society. So, you see, I am convinced the truth has long been made a slave to profit.

This is why Trump, the quintessential reality star keeps harping on 'fake news.' He knows this. He knows ratings, and thus shareholder profits, are king. So he deliberately undermines the fourth estate so people become acclimated to being fed lies and then watching the conflict that ensues.

Donald Trump's most horrible act, among very, very many, is this tearing down of American institutions. He has made political discourse just like 'professional' wrestling - everyone knows it is fake, so they watch it only for entertainment.
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