Corporations for the 99%

April 3rd, 2012

Just in time for Protest Spring, AlterNet launches a 5-Part Series – Received by e-mail, From: Don Hazen, Date: 02/04/2012

As many of us know, American corporations have not been working for the 99%. Yet the dysfunctional relationships between the private and public sectors, between workers and executives, and between corporate goals and those of the broader society, get little attention in the media.

A new 5-part series will change this.  

In partnership with economist William Lazonick, Co-Founder of the Academic-Industry Research Network and the country’s leading expert on the American corporation, today, AlterNet launches a series of articles which examine the foundations, history, and purpose of the corporation and answer this vital question: How can the public take control of the business corporation and make it work for the real economy?  This series is sure to become a vital resource for policy-makers, protesters, and concerned citizens.
The series will run each day this week, beginning today with: How the American Corporations Transformed From Producers to Predators. We hope you find the articles stimulating and informative, and share them with your friends and colleagues.

Here is the line-up for the week:

1. How the American Corporations Transformed From Producers to Predators, a long 4 pages article by  William Lazonick, published on AlterNet of April 1, 2012:

Through misguided policies, corporations have changed over the past several decades in ways that hurt the real economy and the 99%. From the obsessive focus on maximizing shareholder value at the expense of long-term goals that have social purpose to new ways of choosing corporate leaders, corporations have become part of the economic problem rather than the solution. This article explains what corporations are really supposed to do and how their goals and operations became misaligned with those of the broader society.

2. How High CEO Pay Hurts the 99% (William Lazonick):

Why are top executives making outrageous amounts of money by not doing their jobs? People think skyrocketing CEO and executive pay is unfair, but they may not realize the many ways in which this imbalance hurts the economy and reduces the standard of living for the 99%.  By taking resources away from research and development and fair compensation of employees, stratospheric CEO pay is one of the chief culprits in our growing income disparity and major obstacle for economic growth and prosperity.

3. Whose Corporation? Our Corporation! (Ken Jacobson):

It may come as a surprise, but law and precedent say that corporations have a strong duty to the 99%. Who exactly are the corporation’s constituents? Ken Jacobson explains who they are (shareholders, the public, the state, etc), discusses their various interests, and outlines how these different parties invest in and contribute to corporations.  Readers will come away understanding how private and public spheres overlap and why the 99% has a vested interest in the corporation.

4. The Corporation as Job Creator (Lynn Parramore):

Conservatives like to say that corporations are the job creators. Is this really true? Do they create enough jobs? Jobs that pay enough? Lynn Parramore discusses the perverse incentives corporations have for sending jobs oversees and investing resources in activities other than job creation and even ultimately destroying jobs. This article will generate ideas for what kinds of policies can help corporations better work to create decent paying, sustainable jobs for the 99%.

5. 3 Corporate Myths that Threaten the Wealth of the Nation – And How to Move Past Them (William Lazonick, Ken Jacobson, and Lynn Parramore):

This final article blasts through 3 key myths about corporations and provides arguments are essential to building a movement that can make the business corporation work for the 99%.

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