In order to effectively administer the following suggestions, it will likely be necessary to establish categories of corporations so as to distinguish between major and minor actors. One possible distinction might be to separate private and public but there would still need to be a cap on profits and earnings. 1. Set limits on the share of any market under control of a single corporation or network of corporations. (This condition did exist in the special case of media concentration in the US until it was undermined during the Bush II administration unilaterally by the appointed head of the Federal Communications Commission.) In cases where the private sector does not provide competition, democratic governments should fund government initiated businesses and/or co-operatives to do so. (A variation of this tactic occurred in Sweden early in the historic labour government term when Swedish light bulb manufacturers formed a cartel. Instead of adopting anti-cartel legislation, the government financed a worker-owned co-operative to provide the missing competition and broke the cartel.) 2. Restore the use of fixed duration of incorporation, subject to review by a citizen-appointed tribunal with renewal dependent on past performance in serving ALL stakeholders (as is done, at least in theory, for CRTC broadcast licenses). Such a regulation may require some means of auctioning off assets of terminated firms so as not to unduly punish minority shareholders. 3. Prohibit by statute civil suits alleging failure of managers to maximize return on investment to shareholders and lenders. An alternative might be to include stakeholders in the body of affected participants; e.g., workers, communities and the environment. (I believe Costa Rica already has a provision for protection of the environment built into their constitution.) 4. Restore a defined, possibly partially limited, personal liability of officers, directors and majority shareholders (to be defined) having the capacity to direct company policy; smallholders (to be defined) would be exempt. 5. Separate management from ownership for public firms having more than $10 million (?) in capital investment, e.g., prohibit managers and other key officers from owning shares in their own companies or any business effectively linked to them; establish conflict of interest criteria in criminal, not only civil law. www.dialogue.ca
6. Make corporations and their officers liable for criminal acts; use the same procedure of trusteeship that is now used for company bankruptcy. That is, put offending firms into some form of social control or trusteeship and auction off assets in open bidding. (Revocation of charters is the corporate equivalent to a life-time prison sentence.) 7. Require corporations to employ life-cycle accounting (prohibit externalizing of costs, e.g., nuclear waste); where appropriate, require the posting of clean-up bonds, as was once done for some strip mining or land fill projects. 8. Prohibit corporation ownership of shares in other corporations; disallow so-called holding companies. 9. Establish a cadre of professional, publiclycompensated forensic accountants and a special citizen tribunal that can hear complaints about corporate misconduct. (Current auditing practices are meant to address matters of fraud. Terms need to be extended to encompass willful harm to communities, governments, stakeholders, individuals, the environment, and society at large.) 10. Implement a Financial Transaction tax and use the revenue to restore balance between the 1%'ers and the rest of us. These initiatives are not ranked in priority and will need to be examined in terms of the practicality of implementation; except that, as Ed argues in his earlier piece, we donâ€™t stand a snowballâ€™s chance unless we first take back the media from corporate ownership. For example, it is not generally known that General Electric is a significant owner of broadcast media south of the border. There have been incidents in which officers of GE-owned media have disallowed critics of nuclear energy to participate in election debates. As significant owners and designers of nuclear power plants, that puts GE-controlled media clearly in a conflict of interest. All jurisdictions that allow private ownership of media have similar examples. It seems abundantly clear to me that, if we want to strip the massive control of society embodied in the corporations, the place to start is with corporate-owned and controlled media. Orwell's vision of Big Brother was almost benign, at least simplistic, in comparison with the gross mind control that we are now cursed with by modern media. And they are almost all corporationcontrolled beasts that need to be chained before we take on the rest of the predators. â€Ś/ VOL. 30, NO. 1, AUTUMN 2016
Published on Sep 15, 2016
Published on Sep 15, 2016
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