Multinational Corporations Have Broken Their Social Contract with America

As children, we learn the game of declaring things so; “I called the front seat”. This seems a trait of humankind. Throughout history, men have declared land theirs and it was so. Their descendants declared themselves to be kings by divine right and it was so. They sent conquerors to declare ownership of lands inhabited by others with lesser technologies, and it was so.

European Kings sent tiny sailing vessels to North America to touch the edges of a great continent, and to declare ownership of entire swaths of land reaching from sea to sea by virtue of calling it so. They declared kinsmen as lords over America, granting them ownership of massive estates in return for tribute, and it was so.

American lords granted settlers tiny tracts of their lands in return for tribute. Settlers moved west, displacing Native Americans, declaring Manifest Destiny, and it was so. Settlers moved further west, taking Mexican land by declaration and war. To profitably till barren soil, southern capitalists declared a right to buy “unsaved souls” to force profit out of the land, and it was so. In Hawaii, missionaries came to bring salvation to islanders, but within two generations, their descendents declared ownership of all the lands once subjugated by Hawaiian kings and relegated generations of Hawaiians to servitude. A majority of the lands of Hawaii are still owned in trusts by missionary descendents.

These were the birthrights of globalization; war, conquest, declarations, slavery and servitude. By these early movements of people, the world divided into capitalists and workers, reconnected through social contracts. Workers leased capitalists’ land to improve their lives. In exchange, workers provided tribute for their use of capital. Throughout the centuries, capital has transferred to successive generations of capitalists with new capitalists added and others dying out as capital returns dictated opportunities for further ventures.

However, when in history the symbiosis between governors and governed has broken from excessive taking of capital, bourgeois has risen up in defiance of humankind’s declaring it so. Whether by revolutions, socialist and communist movements, unions, demonstrations or votes, those governed have redistributed capitalist wealth by declaring it so.

We now have a new generation of capitalists who have declared it so, including multinational corporations and their financiers. Unlike others before, this generation of capitalists has managed a “Landless Manifest Destiny”. MNCs are displacing jobs and wealth of a generation of Americans by declaring their right to do so. Instead of declaring Manifest Destiny to march Emerging countries across America, MNCs are instead drawing the fruits of the American continent to emerging and developing markets in exchange for tribute from those countries.

MNCs are ignoring the social contract that has been observed for centuries between a nation’s capitalists and workers. In fact, they have in many cases, simply exchanged their original socially contracted workers in favor of offshore social contracts. By so doing, they are now calculatingly taking excessive value that will ultimately cause a social disruption, as has all other excessive imbalances in history.

A full three quarters of all Americans have been losing economic ground during the past two score years. If America’s economic crisis deepens the divide much further, history will repeat as the symbiosis between MNCs and working Americans ruptures. Unfortunately for Middle America, in wars, those with superior technologies usually win. Just as the first Native Americans fought and lost against European warring technologies, this generation of Americans is losing its voice by raising mere bows and arrows against the far superior legal and financial weapons of MNCs. It seems that as MNCs continue to exacerbate America’s failing social contract, they are betting on it.

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Filed under American Governance, Multinational Corporations

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