all believe that a growing economy is a good thing. Corporate
successes make America strong, and international monetary policies
have been designed to promote economic growth around the world.
something is wrong. The income gap is growing faster in the United
States than in any other developed nation. Between 1990 and 2000
in the U.S. worker pay and inflation remained approximately equal,
while corporate profits rose 93 per cent and CEO pay rose 571
Meanwhile, the portion of federal revenue derived from corporate
income tax has decreased from 33 per cent in the 1950s to 11.9
per cent in 2005, reaching a low of 7.4 per cent in 2003. Hundreds
of companies have avoided taxes by relocating to tax havens such
as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Eighty-two of our largest corporations
paid no tax in at least one of the first three years of the Bush
the world, the income gap has increased between and within countries.
Workers' share of national income in developed countries is at
its lowest level in 30 years. Our agricultural subsidies enrich
a few people while making it impossible for farmers in the developing
world to sell their crops in their own countries.
the world, the income gap has
increased between and within countries.
to the United Nations Report on the World Social Situation 2005,
the OECD countries that have most vigorously implemented economic
policies have experienced the greatest increases in inequality
within their countries. The money doesn't reach the people most
in need. The New Economics Foundation reports that only 60 cents
out of every US$100 of world income goes to those in extreme poverty,
much less than in the 1980s before the growth of structural adjustment
policies. Globalized markets seem to reward those with the education,
financial wherewithal, and business skills to make them work.
letting domestic and multinational corporations, with their uncompromising
profit motive and strong connection to the military, determine
the future course of our country and the world. Terrorism has
replaced communism as the major threat to our lifestyle. But corporate
defense contractors - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop
Grumman, and General Dynamics - take millions of dollars from
the federal treasury every DAY to produce Cold-War-era weapons,
with their profits guaranteed by the American public.
We're the leading seller of arms to the world. We intervene in
more countries than ever before, even though studies show that
intervention is tied to terrorism. Our elected representatives
listen to businessmen and generals rather than to scientists,
doctors, humanitarians, teachers, mothers. And we've been conditioned
to believe that this is the way it must be.
elected representatives listen
to businessmen and generals rather than
to scientists, doctors, humanitarians,
teachers, mothers. And we've been
conditioned to believe that
this is the way it must be.
it doesn't have to be this way. While macroeconomic business models
have benefited the rich and the well educated, projects like the
Millennium Villages in Africa go in the other direction, empowering
poor communities by supporting agricultural improvements, clean
water facilities, schools, and health care centers. Microcredit
programs, as exemplified by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed
Yunus' program of small loans to Bangladesh women, have allowed
people to liberate themselves by working their way out of poverty.
The independence and self-respect achieved by millions of small
entrepreneurs is making a difference where IMF and multinational
corporate policies have failed. Initiatives like these make the
whole world safer, more productive, and more respectable. And
they suggest that our brand of capitalism may not be the best
way to help people.
Paul Buchheit is a Professor, Harold Washington College in Chicago.
He can be reached at: [email protected] The above article was
posted on www.counterpunch.org.