Critical Thinking as Purposeful Questions

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How could someone possibly understand the effects of large corporations on our lives in the absence of the training that occurs in a 2-3 week burst in beginning Economics?

Is there any ethical narrative for the positive civic effect of the key private sector decisions in our society being made through the interactions of immense corporations and busy consumers haunted by cognitive flaws?

I am not a fan of the title of this Alex Henderson article, but I am strongly supportive of its spirit. But how could the message in the article fall on eager ears? Our Supreme Court suggests that a person is a person is a person. Comcast and you are both persons---how ecumenical! How tolerant and pluralistic!

 You and Monsanto in the arena of public opinion together exercising your free speech to affect the rules and regulations that govern us. And when the 2 of you disagree, well in the spirit of the adversary model of truth determination, let the most reasonable voice prevail. 

But how could citizens be aware of the need for or promise of antitrust policy?  Where would they learn about such a thing? Even lawyers, should they happen to take an antitrust law course, will probably, if my survey of texts is at all representative, be taught a theoretical background that would have terrified even the courageous Theodore Roosevelt for he understood the ethical story of capitalism.

That ethical story depends on the existence of many firms in any single industry.  Why? Simple-- capitalistic theory draws its ethical legitimacy from being a creative system that benefits the mass of people, viz., CONSUMERS. I know of no capitalist theorist who ever taught that the purpose of capitalism is to create wealthy, comfortable business people.  The wealth and comfort of a business person would arise only temporarily as a result of his or her firm's having pleased a sub-set of consumers.  But the wealth and comfort would be lost soon because new firms would spot a profit opportunity would enter the industry, thereby benefiting consumers and ruining the luxurious day in the sun for the business person.

And where would the average citizen hear this story?  I hope I am wrong, but the only place I can imagine someone's hearing it with any degree of thoroughness is in an introductory economics class. Few students of economics will hear that story more than a few times themselves for they are busy learning an infatuation with market decisions, REGARDLESS OF THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY ACHIEVE THE SIZE AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS OF AN ETHICAL CAPITALISM.

If I am correct, there is simply no general knowledge base that would make this problem of (whatever you wish to call our current bastardization of capitalism) apparent. Complaining about large banks or the repeal of Glass-Steagall may create adrenalin rushes. But would not meaningful change require a theoretical understanding of why those developments occurred in the first place?

WHAT ARE HOPEFUL RESPONSES TO THE INTENSELY HOPELESS TONE OF THIS POST?

DOES ANYONE KNOW AN ETHICAL STORY THAT HAS MEGA-CORPORATIONS AS THE BASIS FOR A FAIR AND DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY?

 

Posted
AuthorM Neil Browne